Our Victories in Austria
After a complaint based on the IHRA definition causes her brutal disinvitation from an event, Dr Walaa Alqaisiya fights back and gets the event withdrawn from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Click to read more
In May 2022, Palestinian academic Dr Walaa Alqaisiya’s expected lecture at an event organised by Mumok Museum and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna was abruptly cancelled shortly before the planned date. The cancellation was triggered by a complaint from the Union of Jewish Students, which referred to the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and anti-BDS resolutions adopted in Austria and Germany. The Academy’s Rectorate then groundlessly accused her of making essentialist exaggerations on Zionism and stifling open debate. With the support of the ELSC, Dr Alqaisiya pushed back and succeeded in having the co-organisers of the event remove the whole programme from the Academy’s premises. Many organisations and programme contributors protested the cancellation and over 370 artists, writers and academics signed an open letter in support of Dr Alqaisiya. Read more
BDS Austria activist challenges anti-democratic SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation) waged by the City of Vienna. Click to read more
In November 2021, a BDS Austria activist was sued by the City of Vienna for sharing a photo on Facebook showing a poster with the slogan “Visit Apartheid – Free Palestine” and bearing the City’s logo. The ELSC has been supporting the activist in their lawsuit with lawyer Elisabetta Folliero, and with a public campaign. In May 2022, four UN Special Rapporteurs demanded accountability from the Austrian authorities and expressed their concern at the City’s obstruction of peaceful activities carried out by human rights defenders. In October 2022, the Viennese administrative authority dismissed the administrative proceedings requested by the City against the activist, including a fine up to 3.500 €. We are hopeful that this verdict will compel the civil court to dismiss the pending SLAPP and lead to a full vindication of the activist’s rights. Read more
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