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Statement and Contextualization on the Antisemitic and Anti-Israeli Graffiti at Campus Altes AKH

Several spaces on the campus of the University of Vienna were defaced with antisemitic graffiti and slogans. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident: antisemitic incidents are on the rise in Austria and around the world. We strongly condemn these acts and would like to provide information about the antisemitic backgrounds of the sprayed slogans.

Last Monday, the campus of the University of Vienna, including the facilities of the Institute for Jewish Studies and the Austrian Students' Union of the University of Vienna, were defaced with antisemitic graffiti and slogans. Since Jewish Studies represents a place of Jewish life and learning and the ÖH Uni Wien, along with the Jewish Student Union, have spoken out against antisemitism in recent weeks, we deeply recognize and condemn these cowardly and abhorrent acts.

Antisemitic Acts at Universities and in Austria

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Antisemitic incidents are increasing in Austria and around the world. A few days ago, a heinous arson attack occurred at night on the ceremonial hall in the Jewish section of the Vienna Central Cemetery. Swastikas were sprayed on the outer walls, while a part of the building completely burned down.

In the university context, hostility towards Jews disguised as "criticism of Israel" is spreading. A recent example is a dispatch by the ÖH of the "Central European University," which forwarded a statement by the "Free Palestine Collective" to all students of the university. In this statement, the terrible acts of Hamas are relativized and legitimized as valid "resistance" against the state of Israel.

In countries like France or Belgium, where houses in which Jewish people live were marked with Stars of David and antisemitic slogans, this increase in antisemitic attacks is also evident.

Contextualization of the Sprayed Slogans

Particularly noteworthy are the following slogans sprayed on the campus:

"free palestine from austrian/german guilt"

The demand "to free Palestine from Austrian/German guilt" – namely that associated with the historical burden of the Shoah – makes use of a relativization of the industrial mass extermination of Jews during World War II. This denial of guilt and memory resorts to an antisemitic perpetrator-victim reversal to criticize the state of Israel and delegitimize it simultaneously as a product of Austrian-German guilt feelings.

"from the river to the sea"

The slogan "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" refers to the geographical location of Israel, situated between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The phrase is a call for the destruction of the Jewish state and is openly demanded by anti-Israeli groups and the radical Islamist Hamas. This statement implies that only when the state of Israel disappears can Palestine be free. This phrase is based on the notion that the Jewish state is an artificial construct and that the land between the "river" and the "sea" is illegitimately occupied.


The call for an Intifada – a demand for terrorist and antisemitic acts of violence – refers to two past waves of Palestinian terrorism that occurred in 1987-1992 and 2000-2004, during which over 1,000 Israelis, mainly civilians, died. This anti-Israel slogan, often heard at pro-Palestinian demonstrations and translating to "shake off," is frequently downplayed as a Palestinian uprising and glosses over the fact that it is an explicit call for terror against Jewish people.

These expressions, using Israel-related antisemitism, are often perceived as legitimate criticism of the state of Israel and not as antisemitic. The demonizations of Israel should be classified as clearly antisemitic and must be condemned.

Left-Wing Antisemitism Under the Guise of Criticism of Israel

In addition to the antisemitic slogans, leftist symbols such as the hammer and sickle were also sprayed. Therefore, it must be clearly stated that even in leftist movements, under the guise of anti-imperialism and with terms like "criticism of Israel" or "anti-Zionism," antisemitic narratives are pursued.

Especially as an explicitly leftist and antifascist body, we must not turn a blind eye to left-wing antisemitism, especially when it manifests in actions that further impair the sense of security of Jewish students at the university. Leftist groups that trivialize or even promote antisemitic tendencies cannot be allies in the fight for a safe university for all.

We express our solidarity with all victims of the terror of Hamas and refer to our existing resolutions regarding our positions. We will not be intimidated and will continue to stand against any form of antisemitism, from whichever side it may come. Never again is now.