Antisemitismus als das “neue Normal”? - Europäische Konferenz in Wien

An d9303 c r3


Mit der Frage nach der wirksamen Bekämpfung des zunehmenden Antisemitismus an Universitäten und in sozialen Medien begann am 6. Mai die dritte “European Conference on Antisemitism” zu der Verfassungsministerin Edtstadler in die Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften geladen hat.  

Präsident Deutsch legte in einer eindrucksvollen Rede dar, wie weitgreifend und akut das Problem in Wien ist – nicht nur online oder an Universitäten. Die gesamte Rede im Wortlaut finden Sie hier unten. 

Als Zeichen des Protests gegen die Festwochen-Organisatoren und die Stadträtin wurde ein Banner an der Fassade der Mizrachi aufgehängt. Weiterhin haben viele Gemeindemitglieder bei der „Rede an Europa“ ihren Unmut kundgetan.

2024 05 07 banner schmidl 2

Ein hochrangig besetztes Panel mit unter anderem der Antisemitismusbeauftragten des US-Außenministerium, Deborah Lipstadt, der Antisemitismusbeauftragten der Europäischen Kommission, Katharina von Schnurbein und Dr. Ariel Muzicant, dem Präsidenten des European Jewish Congress und IKG-Ehrenpräsident ging im Anschluss der Frage nach, wie man dem explodierenden Antisemitismus an US-amerikanischen und europäischen Universitäten begegnen kann.  

Rede von IRG-Präsident Oskar Deutsch

Minister Edtstadler, 

President Faßmann,  

President Muzicant,  

ladies and gentlemen,  

I was asked to keep it short  but I can't.  

I cannot keep it short when slogans such as "Death to Zionism" or "Victory to Palestine" have been spray-painted on buildings in the second district, our Jewish neighborhood here in Vienna, only last week, several of them publicly known for being Jewish businesses.  

I cannot keep it short when Jewish kids are being thrown stones at accompanied by shouts of “Free Palestine – as happened a few days ago.  

And I cannot keep it short when Jewish students all over the world are insulted and even physically attacked at universities, denied entry to classrooms, because they are Jewish. 

At our highest academic institutions – of all places!  

A place where you would expect particularly educated and reflective people, where you would expect dialogue and the highest values.  

And not only in the US – where the so called pro-Palestinian but in fact anti-Israel-protests at ivy league universities are getting out of hand – but also here in Vienna.  

In our capital Vienna:  

Where Yannis Varoufakis is to be represented at the "Wiener Festwochen”. Varoufakis, who has been banned from entering Germany because he spreads hate against Israel and the Jewish people, who refuses to condemn the horrific terrorist attack by Hamas, who supports calls for a boycott of the Jewish state, who calls Hamas mass murderers and rapists "guerillas". At one of the largest cultural events in our country, which – by the way – is heavily funded by the city of Vienna.  

And he's not the only one: Annie Ernaux – the prominent BDS supporter – is also in the program book of the festival as well as notorious Israel hater Jean Ziegler – just to name a few.  

But what about the city of Vienna’s very own anti BDS resolution you may rightfully ask? Apparently not worth the paper it was written on.  

These are not happy or easy times for Jews. Neither for all friends of human rights and humanity.  

Let me be brutally honest: Times are horrifying! 

Yesterday, I was in Mauthausen to commemorate the 79th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp.  

Every year, this anniversary is celebrated in a big way – politicians, civil society, everyone shows their concern and says "Never again“. 

Have we actually realized that "Never again" is now?  

And even there, the liberation ceremony – and with it the memory of all Shoah victims – was being abused by some for a so-called pro-Palestinian protest. In the concentration camp of Mauthausen – of all places – on the graves of our parents and grand parents.

What a disgrace!

Antisemitism is exploding, Jews are afraid to show their Jewishness publicly – again –

sitting on packed suitcases – again- ,

and the right wing extremist party is leading every poll to become strongest political group in the country. What a Déjà-vu!

We must wake up – we are in the middle of it! Never again is now!

And to make things worse – tomorrow will also be exactly seven months since the Hamas massacre in Israel. Since the brutal murder of more than 1,200 innocent people, since the kidnapping of over 200 hostages. Almost 130 are still being held by Hamas. We do not know how many of them are still alive.  

Will we stop fighting for them to come home?Never!  

And on this same day – tomorrow – Omri Boehm was invited by the city of Vienna to hold a speech to Europe in the framework of the Wiener Festwochen. 

He is not representing a Jewish view, he is not representing an Israeli view. In his books and interviews Mr. Boehm is calling for an end to the state of Israel as we know it. 

He advocates for a one state solution, a position that neither Israelis nor Palestinians actually want. And it is contradicting Austria's, the EU's, the American and even the main Arab position.  

By accusing Israel of Apartheid Mr. Boehm paves the way for antisemites all over the world.

And the Wiener Festwochen are complicit. 

More so, he advocates for an end to German and Austrian guilt for the Shoah in the context of the Middle East.  

Questioning the singularity of the Holocaust? Really?  

However, I would not call Mr. Boehm an antisemite.  

But to have him giving a keynote speech, in front of a holocaust memorial – is another sign of bad intention of the Wiener Festwochen and the responsible politicians.  

In Vienna we had mayor Dr. Karl Lueger. A founder of political antisemitism. Adolf Hitler adored him. A prominent quote of Lueger was: "Wer a Jud is, bestimm i.”  I am the one deciding who is a Jew! 

Maybe some here in Austria still think the same way: They are inviting a Jew that suits them and their narrative.  

On the Judenplatz of all places, in front of the Shoah Memorial, where the Gesera happened, exactly seven months after the worst pogrom against Jews since the Shoah, with the full and active support of the city of Vienna, despite the strong protest of the Jewish community and many other organizations, despite the Jewish museum and the Erste Bank Foundation withdrawing their participation for these exact reasons.  

Why now, why there of all places? Why ignore the pleas of the community to at least move the speech to a less sensitive location. Why invite Israel haters, BDS supporters, outspoken antisemites such as Varoufakis and Ernaux to the biggest cultural event of the year?  

This is not a lack of empathy, and this is especially not freedom of speech, and this is definitely not freedom of the arts!  

No, this is ignorance to the highest degree, this is with clear intent, this is on purpose. What a shame! 

Antisemitism is exploding, also here in Austria.  

In 2024, right in the middle of our society, despite all the important efforts of the government, of the academy and many sitting here today. 

But even worse than this explosion of incidents is the ignorance, are the many that stay silent, that don’t prosecute the hate, or event actively spread antisemitic and antizionist narratives and rhetoric, therefore corroding our very own democratic, – our cultural, – our human rights fabric.

By inviting and hosting, by giving the platform to those who fuel the hate, who instigate against Israel and the Jewish people: 

On university campuses, on our streets during demonstrations, even in concentration camps, and now at one of the biggest cultural events of the year in our capital, at the Wiener Festwochen. 

This cannot be accepted, cannot be tolerated. And I will never stay silent or restrain myself from calling it and them out.  

Thank you