Court rules that Austrian hair stylist’s anti-Semitic Facebook posts are a legitimate way to criticize Israel.
Berlin. Facebook postings from a Turkish man showing Adolf Hitler, with a statement praising the death of Jews, are a legitimate expression of criticizing the Jewish state, the spokesman for the prosecutor office in the city of Linz, Philip Christl, said on Tuesday.
“I could have annihilated all the Jews in the world, but I left some of them alive so you will know why I was killing them…,” Ibrahim B. wrote on his Facebook page in December.
Ibrahim, the 29-year-old owner of a hair salon in the city of Wels near Linz, attributed the quote to Hitler and posted a picture of the German dictator on his Facebook site. Ibrahim launched his pro-Nazi tirade in the context of criticizing Israel’s Operation Protective Edge war against Hamas last summer.
Christl described Ibrahim’s statements as merely expressing “displeasure toward Israel,” and not a glorification of Hitler, according to the Oberösterreichische Nachrichten paper.
Ibrahim, whose last name was not disclosed in the Austrian press, also called on Allah to annihilate the Jewish state, the newspaper wrote. The Austrian media said the quote attributed to Hitler was not an actual statement from the Nazi leader.
A Facebook user noticed Ibrahim’s postings and notified the police. The authorities opened an investigation into a violation of a law that outlaws the glorification of the National Socialists.
Stefan Schaden, a member of the advisory board of the Austria-Israel Society, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, “This position [of the prosecutor] is, unfortunately, becoming more popular. Everything passes as so-called criticism of Israel. Anti-Semitism seems to have been officially abolished. In view of the climate in Europe, it is a dramatic development.”
The Austrian-Israel Society protested the prosecutor’s decision on Wednesday, saying it “legitimizes anti-Semitic agitation through Austria’s judiciary.”
“It is troubling when the most disgusting agitation against Jews, as well as against the State of Israel, takes place without consequences,” the president of the Austria-Israel Society, Richard Schmitz, said. He called on Austrian politicians and authorities to do more to stop the playing down of anti-Semitism.
Samuel Laster, the editor-in-chief of the Vienna-based news website Die Juedische, told thePost the prosecutor’s decision is ”shocking,” adding that he has observed demonstrations against Israel using such slogans as “Zionists are fascists” and comparing the swastika with the Star of David. ”Police did not see any reason to intervene,” he said.
The uproar over the decision to dismiss the criminal complaint against Ibrahim appears to have prompted a senior prosecutor to re-evaluate the case, Der Standard reported on Wednesday.