Extract from article by Salma Shaka, published on Institute for Palestine Studies on 16/04/2023 – accessible here.
Located in one of the most bustling districts in the Austrian capital, the Museumsquartier (MQ) Vienna is home to a variety of cultural institutions. It describes itself as an “art space, creative space, and living space,” where opportunities for dialogue between international guests and the Viennese public are encouraged.
This eagerness for dialogue, however, does not seem to apply when it comes to Palestinians. A recent event — Human Rights, International Law: Do they Apply to the Anti-Racist Civil Society in Europe? — was meant to be held at the MQ on November 19 of 2022. It was canceled by the space, following a pro-Israel social media campaign, which smeared the inclusion of BDS Austria as being “problematic.” A variety of tweets from proponents of the apartheid regime falsely accused the movement of antisemitism, referring to the adoption of an anti-BDS resolution by Vienna’s city council in 2018.
The discussion was meant to host speakers from the BDS Austria and the European Legal Support Center (ELSC) to talk about the increasing limitations of free speech in Europe, specifically in German-speaking nations. What ultimately resulted, ironically, was a clear case of censorship.