March 15, 2017 | The Jerusalem Post
Hotels Join the List of Venues Canceling BDS Events in Vienna
Hotel Kaiserwasser and Hotel Regina have pulled the plug on a pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions event featuring a British-Palestinian lawyer in Austria’s capital city.
The online news site Heute.at reported on Tuesday that Hotel Kaiserwasser canceled Wednesday’s anti-Israel talk, saying that BDS Austria claimed the hotel was accused of antisemitism and that a hotel employee was threatened by Vienna’s Jewish community.
“Nonsense,” said Raimund Fastenbauer, general-secretary of the 7,000-member Vienna Jewish community, adding that he informed the hotel about the “antisemitic character of BDS” movement targeting the Jewish state.
The Hotel said it canceled the event due to “operational unfeasability,” according to Heute.at. Fastenbauer told the news site, “Nazis demanded, ‘Don’t buy from Jews,’ BDS formulates the [Nazi] demand in a similar way today.”
Stefan Schaden, a board member of the Austrian- Israeli Society, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday: “BDS has an antisemitic agenda and leads a campaign of demonization, delegitimization and double standards against Israel. At first glance, BDS Austria may appear to be an independent NGO. However, there is no such organization in the Austria’s Interior Ministry’s central register of associations, and by their own account, they are coordinated by the Palestinian National Council (PNC).”
Schaden added: “[The] PNC includes the Islamic Resistance Movement, the radical Islamist terrorist organization Hamas, the Islamic Jihad in Palestine and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. These organizations perpetrate bloody antisemitic terror against Israelis and also terrorize Palestinians who do not want to submit to their violent ideologies but advocate peaceful coexistence instead. Our society therefore supports the broad coalition of civil society organizations that stand up against any form of antisemitism.”
Salma Karmi-Ayyoub, a British-Palestinian lawyer and consultant for the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq, had planned to deliver a talk titled: “Apartheid and its Applicability to Israel/Palestine.”
Al-Haq has been linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine organization, according to the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor.
The PFLP is classified as a terrorist entity in the United States and the European Union.
The Austrian financial giant Erste Group terminated BDS Austria’s bank account last year because the account may have violated anti-BDS laws in the US. Schaden also said that Hotel Regina refused to rent space to BDS Austria.
Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal.