Last week, Austria’s National Union of Students (ÖH), the country’s leading student body, passed a sternly worded resolution condemning the anti-Israel boycott campaign — or the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” Movement — trying to get a foothold in the country. The student body raised concerns about the “growing presence of the antisemitic BDS campaign” on Austrian college campuses and vowed to combat the antisemitic agitators trying to infiltrate student politics.

Austria’s National Union of Students, the nationwide representative body, announced its decision to ‘boycott the boycotters,’ vowing to cut the funding for groups found colluding with the antisemitic BDS campaign that not only targets the State of Israel and but also the Jewish students on Austrian campuses. The resolution also raised concerns about Islamist terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad joining forces with the BDS Movement.

Below are the translated excerpts from the resolution circulated by the student body over the weekend on social media:

In academic debates, Antisemitism is often treated as a phenomena of the past. The Antisemitism we discuss is historic. It is [suppose] to be found in history books and memorials. Historical Antisemitism affects us, but it does not concern us.

The opposite, in fact, is true. Particularly in this [student] body its has been painfully proven in recent years that Antisemitism is certainly not a problem of the past.

Those who fight Israel and Jews with everything at their disposal are again on the rise. Be it the antisemitic smearing of posters, attacks on Jewish shops in Paris, rioting against Maccai Haifa soccer club in [Austrian city of] Salzburg, or the growing presence of the antisemitic BDS campaign on Western and Austrian campuses. We have to take these manifestations seriously.

Especially in case of the latter, we student representatives should not and cannot remain silent. “Boycott, Divestment and Sanction”, abbreviated as BDS, is an international campaign. As the name suggests, it seeks an international boycott, divestment and sanction against the State of Israel in the areas of economics, culture, and particularly academics. The constituents of the movements that come together [to form the BDS] are initially harmless looking NGOs and the “National Islamic Forces in Palestine”. [“National Islamic Forces in Palestine”] includes the Radical Islamic terrorist organization Hamas, the “Islamic Jihad in Palestine” and the “Popular Front for the Liberal of Palestine” (PFLP). (…)

It is our duty as Austria’s National Student Union to stand up for all those who study in the country. It is our duty to speak out against any form of discrimination, and not to remain quite when racism, sexism and Antisemitism spread on college [campuses]. It is also our duty as Austria’s representative [student] body to be aware of the special historic responsibility that we bear, and never to forget what we have already learned.

(…)

The national [student] body has therefore decided:

    • [The union] condemns every form of Antisemitism based on the definition of the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) and the OECD — regardless of who and how the antisemitic hatred is propagated. [The union] takes an official position against [Antisemitism] and will take public stance in case of antisemitic incidents, especially with regards to student- and college politics.
    • [The union] makes no distinction whether the antisemitic hatred comes from far-right groups or from the so-called Human Rights organizations that use modern antisemitic prejudices to propagate double standards [against], delegitimization and demonetization of the state of Israel.
    • [The union] condemns the antisemitic BDS campaign and its growing activities on Austrian colleges. There should be no place for antisemitic propaganda on college campuses.
    • [The union] will not allocate funding for organizations that have links to the BDS or support its antisemitic campaign.

[Translation by the author]

The complete resolution in German can be viewed below:

The story was first broken by Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post’s Europe correspondent and fellow for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

Austria’s National Union of Students is justified in raising alarm over the growing anti-Israel activism shown by the far-right and the Islamist organizations in the country. According to a study published earlier this year, the majority of Muslim students in Austria’s vocational colleges held antisemitic views. “Among youth with Muslim background antisemitic bias is widespread,” reported the Austrian newspaper Der Standard. Other youth studies in the country have come up with similar conclusions.

Austrian student body’s move comes after series of similar resolutions passed by German student organizations. Last month, the Green Party in the southern German state of Bavaria passed a resolution denouncing the anti-Israel boycott campaign. The Green Party’s state unit compared the calls to boycott Israel to the Nazi “Don’t Buy From Jews” slogan.

Raw footage: anti-Israel Al Quds demonstration in Austria’s capital, Vienna (June 2017):