Austrian Chancellor Visits Israel, Says ‘From the River…’ Will Be Considered Call to Murder

By Matis Glenn

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, left, meets Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Austria will investigate use of a popular pro-Palestinian slogan which calls for the destruction of Israel as a call to murder, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said Wednesday, during a solidarity visit to Israel, where he met the Prime Minister, President, Opposition leader and other officials.

Nehammer declared during a meeting with Opposition leader Yair Lapid that the refrain of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” will be considered a murder threat in Austria, as the slogan references the entire landscape of the state of Israel, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, and calls for it to be “free” of Israel. Nehammer said Austria would pursue criminal charges against anyone who uses the slogan.

On October 11, Reuters reported that Vienna police banned a pro-Palestinian protest, because the organizer’s invitations used the phrase. Police characterized it as a call to violence.

During the Wednesday trip, Nehammer, together with Czeck Republic Prime Minister Petr Fiala, met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Yitzchak Herzog, Lapid, and other Israeli officials during.

Nehammer emphatically expressed his support for Israel in both meetings, and his determination to fight terrorism and antisemitism.

“I thank you, Chancellor, for coming here,” Netanyahu told Nehammer. “You’ve expressed unqualified support for Israel. It’s our darkest hour, and your support is important. Because this is a battle of civilization against barbarism, and Israel is fighting the battle for civilization, which I know you support.”

“Absolutely,” Nehammer responded. “That’s the reason why I am here, also as my Prime Minister colleague from the Czech Republic, because we stand on the side of Israel. We have the same and share the same values. And the joint fight against terrorism is now more important than ever.”

“It’s the worst atrocities committed against the Jewish people since the Holocaust. It’s worse than ISIS,” Netanyahu said to Nehammer.

“Yes. It’s unbelievable,” Nehammer said. “So we have to fight.”

Herzog called Nehammer a “great friend of Israel” during their meeting.

“Welcome dear Chancellor Nehammer to Israel, you are a great friend of Israel in one of our worst moments as a nation since the establishment of the State of Israel,” Herzog said. “Hamas carried out atrocious crimes against humanity. I hear words, statements and comments by various leaders in a way trying to accommodate a reasoning for terror. There is no reason for terror, there is no justification for terror. There is no right for anybody to use terror against another person. With all due respect to all these experts – I just invite them to see what happened in the peaceful region around Gaza. Peace-loving people who worked every day and actually cared for their neighbours in Gaza – how they were slaughtered and beaten and attacked…So I think now is the time for solidarity and thank you for being here with us.”

Nehammer responded: “We condemn Hamas heinous terrorist attack on Israel on October 7th, and the barbaric murder of innocent civilians, and in the strongest possible terms. Hamas must release hostages immediately, and unconditionally. There is also an Austrian-Israeli dual citizen amongst the hostages whose father I will meet later today.

“Israel has every right to defend itself in accordance with international law. Because there is never – like you said – a justification for terror. We must fight terror here and now with all our power and thereby prevent terror from spreading in your region, and far beyond.”

“To put it clearly, we must erase terror and Austria stands by your side.

“As Austrian Chancellor, I will do everything I can in order to fight antisemitism and to promote Jewish life because Never Again is now Mr. President.”

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!