January 16, 2019

Report: Jewish Students Fined for Displaying An Israeli Flag at Vienna Palestinian Protest

A group of Jewish students in Vienna were fined on Monday for displaying an Israeli flag during a pro-Palestinian protest on December 8.

According to Antonia Yamin, a reporter for Kan, the fine amounted to 100 Euros for each of the three students because the Vienna police determined that they “behaved insensibly, violated public order and created a provocation” for waving Israeli flags at a rally that featured chants of “Death to the Jews.”

One of the students, Matthias F., told Vice that they unfurled the Israeli flags in response to anti-Semitic slogans being chanted, which included chants of another intifada, “Death to Israel” and accusing the Jewish state of being child murderers. In response to the flags, a few of the protesters attacked the students, yet the police reacted by taking in the students for questioning and confiscating the flag while allowing the attackers to remain at the protest.

“Our data was taken while the police overwhelmed us with snide and malicious comments: ‘We should have left you out there,’ ‘What do you think, what they do to you, if they catch you,’ ‘Are you really dumb?’ and so on,” said Matthias.

Matthias added that it was “incredible” that they faced a fine or two days in jail for simply displaying a flag.

“The injunction states that it has “caused considerable displeasure” among the protesters and does not even mention what this displeasure was – that we were attacked,” said Matthias. “Now we want to get legal help and object to the injunction. It can not be that anti-Semitic slogans can be shouted without punishment and the punishment of an Israeli flag should be punished.”

Matthias also said that he would not display an Israeli flag at an upcoming pro-Palestinian protest because it would be a “lose-lose situation.”

In 2014 and 2015, there were also pro-Palestinian protests in Vienna where anti-Semitic chants were spewed, including chants of “Kill the Jews!”