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Austria: Cancellation of events in Vienna in connection with Israeli Apartheid Week 2016

Wednesday 9 March 2016, by siawi3

Source: WIB Austria, March 9, 2016

Cancellation of events in Vienna in connection with Israeli Apartheid Week 2016

Paula Abrams-Hourani
9 march 2016 07:30:54 CET

Dear all,

I should like to inform you that this week Women in Black (Vienna) planned and agreed to co-operate with BDS Austria in organizing a week of events in connection with Israeli Apartheid Week 2016. (We have held vigils for IAW for several years, perhaps since the beginning.)

In connection with this we were to show an award winning film by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz which many of you know, "The Law in These Parts" (2011) the history of Israel’s military legal system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. We are still planning to hold a vigil on Saturday (we have already held several) on "Open Shuhada Street" in Hebron (Al Khalil). This city is, for us, a symbol of apartheid, in fact, much, much worse (I believe Apartheid is not the correct word to use for what is happening now in the OPT.)(flyer attached)

The night before last we were informed that two of the events to be held in Amerlinghaus, a cultural house for all sorts of activities which are of use to foreigners, and other small groups, were cancelled, our film evening and a lecture by Ofer Neiman who is with Boycott from Within, Israel. Stopping funding for Amerlinghaus was the threat used and as Amerlinghaus is constantly fighting for survival we simply could not force anyone there to risk anything. All political parties here were involved but the Social Democratic Party was certainly a main factor although the Conservative Party and Right Wing Freedom Party were specifically named in the press release.

A solution for Ofer Neiman’s lecture on Thursday evening has been found. Our film was, of course, not shown because it was too late to find another solution which I felt was worthy of the film. I hope, however, to show it at a later date.

I must tell you that I have shown films on the occupation regularly for 14 years at Amerlinghaus and there was never a problem. (Almost all have never been screened here.) This is a campaign, of course, against BDS Austria and Israeli Apartheid Week. Benjamin Weinthal also wrote about Women in Black (Vienna) in the Jerusalem Post in the most negative of terms.

I am still hoping that we can hold the vigil. Our vigils are always very strong ones, with photographs and posters.

All of this is part of a pattern of silencing criticism of Israel and it is, that goes without saying, the Israeli Embassy, thepro-Israel lobby here, and weak and cowardly politicians who have the say. We have had previous experiences with rooms and lectures being cancelled, among them Edward Said, Norman Finkelstein, Jean Ziegler in Salzburg and Mikis Theodorakis’ music in Mauthausen.

This is a rather long note but inasmuch as this has happened on the heels of Hedy’s experience, I believe it is of utmost importance to tell you.

Finally, we are on Facebook and certainly if there are any more news, they will be posted. (

Needless to say, great admiration and thanks to all of you on the list who worked so hard on this effort.

Best regards to all,

Paula Abrams-Hourani
for Women in Black (Vienna)