Tag Archives: Austria

Special Report: Rise of far right in Europe being overlooked

Western mainstream media had been fully geared up to cover the expected victory of the far right presidential candidate, Norbert Hofer, in the recent Austrian election. The win of the Green party candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen, robbed them of the opportunity to cover what they had been predicting as the first European post-Second World War far right head of state election victory.

Norbert Hofer
Norbert Hofer

Yet, the rise of far right European parties and candidates into the established international realpolitik, rather than their traditional fringe position, is something that has been and is being fundamentally overlooked.

In France, the far-right National Front won 6.8 million votes in regional elections in 2015 – its largest ever popular endorsement.

The far-right Jobbik party who polled third in Hungaryorganises patrols by an unarmed but uniformed “Hungarian Guard” in Roma (Gypsy) neighbourhoods.

In Denmark, the government relies on the support of the nationalist Danish People’s Party and has the toughest immigration rules in Europe.

While, the leader of the nationalist Finns Party is the foreign minister of Finland, after it joined a coalition government last year.

Andrzej Duda
Andrzej Duda

Less than a year after Poland elected Andrzej Duda, a previously little-known right-wing politician as president, Warsaw’s nationalist government moved to strip a leading Jewish Holocaust scholar of a national honour for asserting simply what the previous Polish presidential incumbent, Bronislaw Komorowski, acknowledged. Namely, that Poland was in part responsible for Nazi war crimes against its Jewish population during World War II.

Perhaps one of most shocking situations currently exists in Croatia. During World War II, Croatia was ruled by the Ustashi, an axis-aligned regime that was every bit as bad as the Nazis. The Ustashi killed over 600,000 people, 500,000 of which were Serbs. The Ustashi-ruled Independent State of Croatia had a population of around 6.3 million, meaning the Ustashi killed around one in 10 of its own people. Eighty percent of the nation’s Jews were murdered.

Ustashi
Ustashi – axis-aligned regime during World War II, every bit as bad as the Nazis.

Now the Ustashi are making a comeback. It has now penetrated cabinet ministers and the mainstream media. Ognjen Kraus, the leader of Croatia’s Jewish communities, said that the government “is simply not doing anything” and that it “does not want to.”

The nation’s new right-wing coalition that came to power at the start of the year is responsible for much of this change. As part of that coalition, Zlatko Hasanbegović became Croatia’s culture minister in January. He was once a member of a small far-right, pro-Ustashi party.

Ustashi supporters in modern Croatia
Ustashi supporters in modern Croatia

Since taking office, Hasanbegović has cut funds for progressive groups and independent media and has endorsed a revisionist documentary film that denies the scale of the crimes committed by Croatia during its alliance with Nazi Germany in the 1940s.

Reporters Without Borders, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Serb and Jewish groups in the region have all condemned the new government.

The government’s tolerance of such a man as a minister in government is creating a climate of fear throughout the country.

Croatian soccer fans frequently chant Nazi-era slogans during games with only indirect criticism from the government. During one game with Israel, fans were heard to shout, “We Croats! Ustashi! Ustashi!”

Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s office in Israel and Eastern Europe, warned that Croatia is “a country where manifestations of fascism and anti-Semitism are very common, especially in the local soccer stadiums, but not easily identifiable by those ignorant of the country’s World War II and Holocaust history.”

In the UK much of the media coverage of anti-Semitic issues has focused attention to the political left following the storm that has engulfed the Labour Party. Equally, many in the western media, following mass immigration stories and terrorist outrages, have, unsurprisingly, concentrated on radical Islamist matters and any associated anti-Semitism. Yet, if world history, our history, tells us one thing, we cannot afford to ignore or overlook the rise of the far right. If the mainstream media will not do it we shall have to do it for ourselves.

Mimicking US case, German university printers hacked, churn out anti-Semitic flyers

In late March there was a disturbing series of occurrences across a number of US universities whereby their printers were deliberately hacked to spew put vile anti-Semitic flyers.

Mimicking that, printers at several universities across Germany have produced anti-Semitic leaflets on or about Hitler’s birthday this week, after hackers appeared to break into their computer systems.

2016-04-22-16-25-10--1830844955Universities in Hamburg, Lüneburg and Tübingen confirmed that printers connected to their computer networks had suddenly started churning out the leaflets, most of them on Wednesday, the anniversary of Hitler’s birth in Braunau, Austria, in 1889.

At least six other universities in Germany reported similar episodes, according to the German news agency DPA.

The leaflet produced at the University of Hamburg carried the slogan “Europe, awake!” and alluded to the mass migration that brought more than one million people, many from the Middle East, to the Continent last year. “Europe is being flooded by enemy strangers,” it read, in part.

Without naming Hitler, the leaflet referred to “the words of a former European führer” who blamed the Jews for bringing non-Europeans to the Rhineland.

Christian Matheis, a spokesman for the University of Hamburg, and Karl G. Rijkhoek, a spokesman for the University of Tübingen, said their institutions had filed formal complaints with the police and the judicial authorities after learning that their computer networks appeared to have been breached.

The leaflet printed out in Hamburg included the Twitter hashtag #dailystormer, a term also used on a website referred to in the leaflets in the United States, Mr. Matheis said. The term is an allusion to a far-right Nazi publication.

Follow this link to the original article here.

Vienna looks to boycott the boycotters

The Jerusalem Post has reported that Vienna is seeking to pull the plug on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) events planned for early March in a municipal-funded building.

“We would like a cancellation,” said a spokesman for the city’s mayor, Martin Ritzmaier, when asked about the BDS activities in the city-subsidized Amerlinghaus building.

Amerlinghaus building
Amerlinghaus building

He added that the city of Vienna has contacted the management of the Amerlinghaus cultural center to urge a cancellation of the BDS activities.

“The city of Vienna rejects boycott calls against the State of Israel and the association BDS-Austria receives no funding from the city of Vienna,” said Ritzmaier. Vienna’s mayor is the Social Democrat Michael Häupl.

Vienna’s Jewish community, which has over 7,000 members, has banded together with a coalition of civil society groups fighting anti-Semitism that are slated to hold a rally against BDS-Austria events in March. The rally is titled “Against the anti-Semitic masquerade of ‘Israeli Apartheid Week.”’ The group’s website is titled “Boycott anti-Semitism.”

Stefan Schaden, a board member of the Austrian-Israeli Society, wrote: “BDS has an appalling record of perpetuating old anti-Semitic stereotypes by projecting them onto the Jewish state. Our society therefore supports the broad coalition of civil society organizations that came together to stand up against any form of anti-Semitism.”

 

Lisa Grösel, a spokeswoman for the Amerlinghaus, told the Post that the “cultural center is anti-fascist and anti-racist, in which there is no place for anti-Semitism.”

She said “anti-Semitism is in no way an opinion, rather a deeply racist position.”

Pressed to answer if the Amerlinghaus views BDS as anti-Semitic, Grösel refused to respond.

Samuel Laster, an Israeli-born journalist who is editor-in-chief of the Vienna-based news website The Jewish, told the Post the BDS-Austria group will “attack Israel in the Armerlinghaus in an old anti-Semitic connotation: ‘Don’t buy from Jews!’ it was called in 1938. Today in 2016 it is called: Boycott Israel.”

 

Male gets 12 month prison for anti-Semitic postings

A 23 year-old Afghan man who posted anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments on his Facebook page has been sentenced by a court in Upper Austria to a year’s conditional sentence and ordered to pay a €720 fine.

He was also found guilty of possessing an illegal pepper spray.

The 23-year-old man, who speaks German well, said he hadn’t intended to incite hatred against Jews but had hoped to get attention and lots of ‘likes’ on his Facebook page.

He posted a picture of Adolf Hitler with the words “I could have killed all the Jews, but I left some alive so you would know why I was killing them,” and another image of a skull and crossbones and the words “Keep calm and f*** Israel”.

He told the prosecution that he had only uploaded the images to see how many ‘likes’ he could get.

His lawyer told the jury that his client came to Austria as an unaccompanied minor when he was 16 and was granted asylum. His mother has since fled from Afghanistan and the defence said that the man’s “education has been neglected”.

The jury found him guilty of breaking Austria’s Prohibition Act, which aims to suppress any potential revival of Nazism and bans the deliberate belittlement of Nazi atrocities.

Follow this link to the original article here.

Austrian Prosecutor: Posting Hitler’s picture and praising death of Jews is legitimate criticism of Israel!

In  country with an inglorious record of anti-Semitism, the prosecutor’s office in Austria’s third largest city has now declared that a Facebook post showing Adolf Hitler with a statement praising the death of Jews constitutes legitimate and legal criticism of Israel.

Ibrahim, a 29-year-old owner of a hair salon outside of Linz, posted an image of Hitler in December along with the caption “I could have annihilated all the Jews in the world, but I left some of them alive so you will know why I was killing them…”.

Would the Austrian prosecutor also consider this legitimate criticism of Israel?
Would the Austrian prosecutor also consider this legitimate criticism of Israel? 

He was investigated under an Austrian law that apparently forbids praising the Nazi regime, but successfully claimed that his anti-Semitic outburst was merely criticism of Israel’s actions during Operation Protective Edge, the war with Hamas that had ended a few months prior. The statements were not glorifying Hitler, but simply expressing “displeasure toward Israel,” prosecutor’s office spokesman Philip Christl told the newspaper Oberösterreichische Nachrichten.

“This position [of the prosecutor] is, unfortunately, becoming more popular,” Stefan Schaden, a board member of the Austria-Israel Society, told The Jerusalem Post. “Everything passes as so-called criticism of Israel. Anti-Semitism seems to have been officially abolished. In view of the climate in Europe, it is a dramatic development.”

The controversy over the lack of prosecution has reportedly spurred the prosecutor’s office to take another look at the case.

A German court ruled last year that the firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal was motivated by a desire to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict,” not anti-Semitism.

Read more here.

Boris Johnson signs up to Mayors campaign against anti-Semitism

London Mayor Boris Johnson has signed on to Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism, an AJC (American Jewish Committee) initiative calling on local leaders across Europe to publicly address and take concrete actions against rising anti-Semitism.

“However it manifests itself, anti-Semitism is totally unacceptable and can never be justified,” said Mayor Johnson. “In London we have a large and visible Jewish population, which makes a massive contribution to our city’s success, and as mayor I take this issue very seriously.

“We are working closely with the Jewish community and the police to tackle the problem and it is important for mayors to stand shoulder to shoulder to condemn and challenge anti-Semitism, which, like all forms of religious or racial discrimination, has no place in our cities.”

Boris-johnsonJohnson is the first mayor in the United Kingdom to join the campaign of AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization. Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism was launched in the United States in July, and expanded to Europe in the fall. To date, more than 30 European mayors and 309 mayors and municipal leaders from 47 states across the U.S. have signed the statement.

“Mayor Johnson’s leadership in unequivocally confronting the anti-Semitism scourge is admirable, and reinforces Britain’s democratic values,” said AJC Chief Executive Officer David Harris. “Anti-Semitism is a cancer that, left unchecked, will metastasize and threaten to destroy the democratic and pluralistic nature of Europe, a portent that Mayor Johnson so clearly recognizes.”

To date, mayors in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, and Romania have signed on to the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism statement.

The statement calls upon “mayors, municipal leaders and other officials in Europe to join us in affirming that anti-Semitism is not compatible with fundamental democratic values.” It emphasizes that “in a world of global communications where anti-Semitic ideas can and do spread quickly, the impact of the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe does not stop at Europe’s borders.”

The Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism statement affirms a core set of principles, including the condemnation of anti-Jewish hatred in all forms; rejection of the notion that anti-Semitic acts may ever be justified by one’s view on the actions or existence of the State of Israel; a declaration that anti-Semitism and any prejudices due to religious differences are inconsistent with core democratic values; and the belief that the promotion of mutual understanding and respect among all citizens is essential to good governance and democratic life.

The statement pledges a commitment to working within and across European and American communities to advance the values of respectful coexistence, and to affirm that anti-Semitism is incompatible with fundamental democratic values.

Follow the link to the original article here.