Vienna Police have booked criminal charges against three pro-Israeli activists for waving an Israeli flag to a group of anti-Israel demonstrators. They have been accused of waving the Israeli flag “in an extremely provocative way” causing “considerable offense among the Palestinian protesters,” Austrian media reported, citing the police statement. If found guilty, they could face up to hundred euros in fine or two days in prison.

The incident took place in early December when Europe was hit by a wave of anti-Israel protests following President Trump’s decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. According to Jerusalem Post, the three pro-Israeli activists waved the Israeli flag in response to demonstrators chanting slogans in Arabic calling for ‘Death to Israel’  and ‘Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning,’ alluding to the annihilation of the Jewish population of Khaybar, an oasis in Saudi Arabia, at the hands of Muhammad and his army.

Media reports failed to mention if police took any action against the demonstrators calling for violence against the Jews and the destruction of Israel. Apparently in the eyes of Viennese Police, the mere presence of an Israeli flag causes a “considerable offense among the Palestinian protesters” that requires police action, but calling for genocide against Jews isn’t much of an offense.

Austrian newspaper Der Standard reported on Tuesday:

On December 8, several demonstrators gathered outside the US embassy in Vienna’s Alsergrund district under the slogan “Jerusalem: The capital of Palestine” — as Der Standard previously reported.

The incidents surrounding the demonstration are now leading to legal consequences. [Some] bystanders are being charged with criminal conduct by the Vienna State Police. They have been accused of “disturbing the public order in an particularity reckless way.”

The Background: They apparently “showed” an Israeli flag “in an extremely provocative way and manner” that caused considerable offense among the “Palestinian protesters”.

The possible punishment: Hundred euros in fines or two days in jail.

According to one of the individuals in question (name withheld by the editor) there were various flags at the demonstration, among others; the Turkish, Syrian and Palestinian flags.

When several of the demonstrators began chanting “Down with Israel”, he and one of his acquaintances, standing a few meters apart from him, rolled out an Israeli flag.

“According to my understanding of Austrian democracy, it should be permissible to hold the flag of a sovereign state,” said the student of religious pedagogy while in conversation with Der Standard. “I don’t understand how this could be a provocation.” He had been told to seek legal advice. “That’s what I am going to do,” said the 25 year-old.

Austria’s Jewish Student Union (JÖH) demanded action from the Vienna Police. “It is unacceptable that simply showing the Israeli flag on the streets of Austria is criminalized by the police as punishable provocation.”

Last month, Austria’s newly sworn-in right-wing government vowed to “fight anti-Semitism” after Israel refused to work directly with any ministers from the far-right FPÖ party.

“Anti-Semitism has no place in Austria or Europe,” the newly elected Chancellor Sebastian Kurz declared in a speech to the Austrian parliament. “We will fight all forms of anti-Semitism with full determination, both those that still exist and those that have been newly imported. That will be one of our government’s significant tasks.”

Apparently, the Vienna Police didn’t get the memo. If Chancellor Kurz sincerely wants to curb antisemitism in Austria, he has his work cut out for him.

Antisemitism is rampant in Austria’s growing Muslim population. “Among youth with Muslim background antisemitic bias is widespread,” reported the daily Der Standard last June, citing a study. The majority of young Muslims hold strong anti-Semitic views, revealed the study conducted at technical training schools across the country. Other comprehensive studies aimed at migrant youth in the country have come up with similar conclusions.

Video: Demonstrators in Berlin chanting ‘Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning’ on Saturday (December 2017)

[Cover image: screenshot via Bild]