Activists in Vienna protest EU support for Israeli apartheid

Protester in Vienna demanded end to “EU cooperation with Israeli racists.” (via Facebook)

 

Activists rallied outside the offices of the European Union in Vienna on Friday to protest the 28-nation bloc’s support for Israeli apartheid.

“International law, human rights, democracy: These are the basic principles of the European Union,” BDS Austria, a group that supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, said.

“As citizens of the EU and as BDS activists in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we demand that all institutions and representatives of the EU respect these principles – compromises are unacceptable.”

The action, which included participants from Women in Black and Boycott from Within, was streamed live on Facebook.

EU unapologetic for hiring genocide inciter

BDS Austria’s statement, and signs carried by protesters, referred explicitly to the hiring of an Israeli who advocates extreme violence and racism against Palestinians as the presenter of an official propaganda video for the EU embassy in Tel Aviv.

As The Electronic Intifada reported earlier this month, the EU embassy hired Israeli “comedian” Avishai Ivri despite his frequent advocacy of genocidal levels of violence against Palestinians.

In posts on Twitter, Ivri has called on Israel to kill “1,000 Arabs” for every Israeli who dies in conflict-related violence and has urged that Israel “wipe out Gaza.”

He denies the existence of Palestinians as a people and has urged Israel to expel them so it can become the “sovereign” in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Following The Electronic Intifada’s reporting, the EU embassy removed the video from its Facebook page but did not apologize or explicitly condemn Ivri’s violent incitement and racism.

BDS Austria notes that Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the EU’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, previously downplayed Israeli threats to BDS activists that spurred Amnesty International to express its fears for the “safety and liberty” of Palestinian and other human rights defenders.

The protesters called for “no EU cooperation with Israeli racists” and for an investigation of the decision to hire Ivri.

More BDS

The EU appears to be intensifying its unconditional support for Israel. A high-level official recently pledged EU support for Israel’s efforts to silence criticism of its policies, under the guise of fighting anti-Semitism.

EU officials also continue to smear the nonviolent BDS movement with claims that the EU cannot substantiate that BDS activities have led to a rise in anti-Semitic incidents.

BDS Austria, which has faced persistent censorship efforts by Israel’s surrogates, reiterated the need for “political pressure on Israel in form of boycott, divestment and sanctions until it complies with international law and human rights.”

“This includes the end of the occupation as well as the right of the refugees to return to their homes and the implementation of full equal basic rights for everyone in Israel and Palestine,” the group said.

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It's time to stop referring to Lars Faaborg-Andersen as the European Union's Ambassador to Israel. He's more akin to Israel's main representative to the E.U. While welcoming all settlement products to Europe, he firmly opposes any civil boycott directed at those imports, or against Israel, as a matter of (ahem) principle. His main goal is to expand trade and security cooperation between Israel and the E.U., and he's never evinced any disposition to act on behalf of Palestinians, even during the most intense periods of massacre and repression. He continues to call for "dialogue" and a two-state, superpower & bantustan solution to the conflict. Incidentally, he was appointed to his post by the U.K.'s Baroness Ashton of Upholland, whose own career advanced from an early involvement in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament to Blairite loyalist. As for Ivri, anyone who's seen clips from his racist comedy series Latma will be in no doubt why he was given the job of spokesman for a propaganda project on behalf of apartheid. Or why in an E.U. teeming with racist parties, media and anti-immigrant policies he seemed such a perfect fit.

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