Anti-Israel demonstrators gathered on Friday in the heart of Vienna, protesting Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense and chanting slogans calling for the murder of Jews and bashing the Jewish state.
Israel’s eight-day military operation to stop Hamas rocket fire from entering the country prompted two fiercely anti-Israel protests in the Austrian capital.
Samuel Laster, an Israeli journalist who lives in Vienna, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that he heard a contingent of 15 to 20 Austrian Islamists chanting in Arabic, “Death to the Jews.”
Laster first reported on the call to eliminate Jews on his website die juedische (“the Jewish”).
Speaking from Vienna by phone, he told the Post that a “mix of Austrian leftist radical extremists and Islamists” appeared at the protest. He estimated that at least 400 anti-Israel protesters, including Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood members and Palestinians, took part in the demonstration.
The demonstrators marched to the federal chancellor’s office.
The anti-Israel activists yelled “Freedom for Palestine” and “Down with Israel,” and a group of Austrian Muslims blasted repeatedly in Arabic “Death to the Jews.” Laster said the Austrian authorities, including the domestic intelligence agency (Verfassungschutz), must increase their efforts to combat “Islamic extremism.” He criticized the lax approach of Austrian police officials who waved off the anti-Jewish rhetoric as merely a protest against Israel.
Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director for international relations, wrote the Post by email on Sunday, “the Verfassungschutz, whether in Germany or Austria, has to make the analytical leap in treating the Trotskyite/jihadist movements as they did regarding Nazi and Communist espionage or terrorism.
“These provide cover for a fifth column of sleepers and lone-wolf recruits that endanger the host societies as much as, if not more than, their Jewish citizens. Jews have somewhere to go. Germans and Austrians do not.”
He added that when the ragtag political activists scream “death to the Jews” in Vienna or Berlin they mean it.
“The Holocaust began with the word and brought the world to the abyss. The alarms in Israel under Hamas rockets should reverberate in Vienna and Berlin, for the indifferent and exposed Austrians and Germans who do not realize that they have no Iron Dome,” said Samuels.
At an earlier demonstration during the war, Austrian Islamists and Leftists screamed slogans calling for the destruction of the Jewish state. According to a report on November 16 on the Vienna news website Heute.at, protesters invoked slogans including “We are against the two-state solution” and “We are for a Palestine that is free from the West Bank and reaches to the Mediterranean and Israel will be wiped out.”
Heute.at reported that a large segment of the protesters were of Turkish and Arabic descent and yelled “Allahu akbar.”
The Palestinian and Syrian communities in Vienna helped organize the rally during the IDF’s operation against Hamas in Gaza.