A Facebook post that showed Adolf Hitler with a statement praising the death of Jews constituted legitimate and legal criticism of Israel, the prosecutor’s office in Austria’s third-largest city said earlier this week.
Ibrahim, a 29-year-old owner of a hair salon outside of Linz, posted an image of Hitler in December along with the caption “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…”.
He was investigated under an Austrian law that forbids praising the Nazi regime, but successfully claimed that his anti-Semitic outburst was merely criticism of Israel’s actions during Operation Protective Edge, the war with Hamas that had ended a few months prior.
Will you offer us a hand? Every gift, regardless of size, fuels our future.
Your critical contribution enables us to maintain our independence from shareholders or wealthy owners, allowing us to keep up reporting without bias. It means we can continue to make Jewish Business News available to everyone.
You can support us for as little as $1 via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The statements were not glorifying Hitler, but simply expressing “displeasure toward Israel, ” prosecutor’s office spokesman Philip Christl told the newspaper Oberösterreichische Nachrichten.
“This position [of the prosecutor] is, unfortunately, becoming more popular, ” Stefan Schaden, a board member of the Austria-Israel Society, told The Jerusalem Post. “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 controversy over the lack of prosecution has reportedly spurred the prosecutor’s office to take another look at the case.
A German court ruled last year that the firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal was motivated by a desire to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict, ” not anti-Semitism.