Waving an Israeli Flag Leads to Possible Imprisonment


On December 8, 2017, two days after President Donald Trump announced the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, an anti-Israel rally was held in Vienna outside of the US embassy.  Protesters shouted many Antisemitic phrases such as “Death to the Jews” and “Death to Israel,” referred to Israel as “Child-Murderer Israel,” and waved Palestinian, Turkish, and Syrian flags.  

Three pro-Israel activists who attended this rally felt that they could not stand by without taking action.  They decided to wave Israeli flags to show their support and pride for Israel. One of the activists expressed that “they were shocked by these slogans and did not want to leave the slogans unchallenged. Antisemitism and hate of Israel should not be tolerated.”  A few nearby pro-Palestinian protesters saw the flags and attacked the three pro-Israel activists. When the Vienna police came to break up the fight, they sent the anti-Israel protesters back to the crowd, but arrested the three men supporting Israel and confiscated the Israeli flags.  

The activists’ criminal notice was given on January 3, stating that they “showed an Israeli flag at a rally in an extremely provocative way and manner that was visible for participants at the rally and thereby produced considerable offense and provocation among the Palestinian protesters.”  The pro-Israel activists now face either a 100 euro fine or two days in jail. One question still remains unanswered: how can a large Antisemitic rally go unpunished while a small act of defense faces major consequences? In what kind of world are we living?