Two Vienna hotels have pulled the plug on a pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) event featuring a British-Palestinian lawyer in Austria’s capital city.
The online news site Heute.at reported on Tuesday that Hotel Kaiserwasser cancelled 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 the BDS” movement targeting the Jewish state.
The Hotel said it cancelled 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 demonisation, delegitimisation and double standards against Israel. At first glance, BDS Austria may appear to be an independent NGO. However, there is no such organisation in the Austria’s Interior Ministry’s central register of associations.”
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 organisation, according to the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor.
The PFLP is classified as a terrorist entity in the United States and the European Union.