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Palestinian solidarity group in Austria protests EU ministers over cooperation with Israel

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“No EU Cooperation with the Israeli Apartheidstate!”

The European Union likes to present itself as the guardian of democracy and human rights.  Undoubtedly, many of the participating ministers believe that they personally and their countries are among the “good ones.”  But the facts are that EU member states apply different standards when on the one hand they consider security issues and on the other human rights.  Under the cover of “research” the EU actually participates very actively in the repression, surveillance, and exploitation of the Palestinian population, which continues to resist in spite of the most modern weapons and surveillance technologies.  The war against the Palestinian people is an engine for Israeli innovation.  Israeli firms, who employ formerly high-ranking police and military officers, play a leading role in the global market for “border security,” “counter-terrorism,” or in the “War on Terror.”  Although many countries sell arms, it seems that Israel’s war-on-people-proven technologies are particular “hits” on the arms markets.  Israeli defense and security firms advertise that their lethal goods are tested “live” – directly on people.

In part, this is made possible, by research cooperation programs with other countries, such as the EU Program for Research and Development (Horizon 2020) in which Israel participates due to its Association Agreement with the EU.  At this point, 288 Israeli firms participate in 881 projects.[1]  Altogether Israeli enterprises and universities received EU subsidies that amounted to more than 546 million Euros.  Although the guidelines of Horizon 2020 forbid military research, many Israeli defense and security companies participate in the program:

Elbit Systems – whose Hermes Drones[2] killed and maimed many civilians in the most recent war on Gaza[3] – received subsidies amounting to one million Euros.

Israel Aerospace Industries – another drone manufacturer, and also a leader in the construction and maintenance of the Apartheid wall that violates international law – received and will continue to receive subsidies of more than 2,5 million Euros.[4]

Israeli universities also have a long and questionable tradition of participating in military research and development:  Technion,  the Israeli “Institute of Technology” received an incredible sum – more than 57,3 million Euros[5] – and the trend is up.  Technion, for example, develops unmanned military vehicles, the preferred use of which is the destruction of Palestinian houses.[6]

In the same time span more than 1000 research projects of the Hebrew University were subsidized with a total of 18,8 million Euros.[7]   Hebrew University is not a purely civil university.  It engages in non-military research, but also operates a university-level school as well as exercise and training facilities for the Israeli military.  Through this involvement Hebrew University is complicit in various violations of human rights, as for example in Gaza during 2008-2009.

During the preceding cycle of subsidies, FP7, which was the precursor of Horizon 2020, Israeli firms received subsidies totaling 840 million Euros.[8]  In many cases, these subsidies were used to maintain the criminal system of occupation, the siege of Gaza, and Apartheid.  The European Union and its member states have become accomplices to these crimes, and, as citizens of the European Union, we consider it our duty to confront the representatives of our governments with these issues.

We demand that the representatives of the European Union act according to the principles they themselves established.  The Code of Ethics for Project Horizon 2020[9] explicitly states, that research projects within its framework must focus on civilian goals, and that only projects with goals that do not violate the principles of human rights should be subsidized.

In reality, recent developments indicate a totally different direction.  The 5 million Euro Law-Train project, led by Bar-Ilan University in Israel, is focused on the exchange of methods of interrogation; in addition to the Israeli police, participants include the Austrian Firm, Usecon.  The project is intended to develop software that will simulate the effectiveness of various methods of interrogation, and which, after its completion, will serve to train the personnel of police forces, secret services and private security firms.[10]  Such a project is unacceptable, on the basis of moral considerations as well as those of human rights and international law.  After all, among the recipients of this technology is the “Israeli Ministry of Public Security,” which controls the Israeli police and prison services.  And these institutions have been repeatedly criticized for using torture and imprisoning children by internationally recognized human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.[11]

We, as part of European civil society, not only have the moral duty to reject economic and scientific cooperation with Israel.  As citizens of Europe, it is also in our own interest to prevent these inhumane techniques and technologies of surveillance, social exclusion, killing and maiming from being passed on to our own security institutions.  This is already taking place when Israeli drones are used to provide so-called border protection against refugees in the Mediterranean, or in the more-than-questionable cooperation between Europol and Israel’s domestic secret service, Shin-Bet.[12]

No EU-Money to the Israeli Arms Industry

STOP EU-Research funding of the Israeli Apartheid Regime

No Import of Apartheid Know How

No Tax Money for human rights offenders

No cooperation with Israeli apartheid Institutions

Apartheid Science is not Science, its terror

Footnotes

[1] Open H2020, Stand 16.04. 2018: https://www.fabiodisconzi.com/open-h2020/per-country/il/index.html

[2] Wikipedia Eintrag zu Hermes 900: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elbit_Hermes_900

[3] Open H2020 über Elbit Systems, Stand 16.04.2018: https://www.fabiodisconzi.com/open-h2020/per-country/il/elbit+systems+ltd/index.html

[4] Open H2020, über Israel Aerospace Industries, Stand 16.04. 2018: https://www.fabiodisconzi.com/open-h2020/per-country/il/israel+aerospace+industries+ltd./index.html

[5] Open H2020, über Technion, Stand 16.04.2018: https://www.fabiodisconzi.com/open-h2020/per-country/il/technion+-+israel+institute+of+technology/index.html

[6] ECC Palestine: http://www.eccpalestine.org/israels-participation-in-horizon-2020-aiding-and-assisting-israeli-violations-of-international-law/

[7] Open H2020 über die Hebrew University, Stand 16.04.2018: https://www.fabiodisconzi.com/open-h2020/per-country/il/the+hebrew+university+of+jerusalem/index.html

[8] ECC Palestine http://www.eccpalestine.org/israels-participation-in-horizon-2020-aiding-and-assisting-israeli-violations-of-international-law/.

[9] ebd.

[10] Usecon über das Law-Train Projekt: https://www.usecon.com/referenzen/forschungsprojekt-law-train/

[11] ECC Palestine über das Lawtrain Projekt: http://www.eccpalestine.org/european-license-for-israeli-torture-the-eu-israel-law-train-joint-project/

[12] http://www.netzwerk-linke-opposition.org/44.0.html?&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=66422&tx_ttnews[backPid]=56&cHash=0e1606d145

About BDS Austria

BDS Austria is the local branch of the worldwide BDS campaign. It has been active since 2014.

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3 Responses

  1. Citizen
    Citizen
    August 31, 2018, 3:42 pm

    Austria officially feels a special duty to support Israel due to its past history with the Third Reich. The notion that 2 wrongs don’t make a right is ignored, same as Germany’s government ignores it. Netanyahu met with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz last June. Among the agreements that were signed were an MOU on scientific cooperation and an MOU on the financing of scientific research, between the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology and the Austrian Science Fund. I wonder what that MOU says that effects and affects all those “mutually beneficial” projects BSS Austria discusses in their article here.

  2. punterweger
    punterweger
    September 1, 2018, 6:32 am

    Thanks for your comment Citizen. Your diagnosis of the attitude of Austrian officials, i.e. their “special duty,” is on the mark and was not confined to conservatives such as Kurz’ party, but included the Social Democrats, which have been more important in Austrian governments since the 1960s. The extreme right (FPÖ) now minimizes their former anti-semitic tendencies. The current Vice-chancellor, Strache, has visited Israel with a whole delegation of Europe’s extreme right and has good connections on the right wing there. For the FPÖ Islam is the main (and more useful) enemy, and Israel is seen as a staunch ally in this respect. In addition, there is also a very active Israel lobby here, which due to the history you mention and the small size of the country is even more influential than in the USA.

    Now to the agreements, I did a quick search and could find only two mentions of agreements signed during Kurz’ visit to Israel. One was to open Austrian Archives to Israeli holocaust researches, and the second was to re-establish scientific cooperation between the two countries. Apparently, there was a previous agreement signed in 1994, which as abrogated by the former ÖVP-FPÖ coalition which took power in 2000. It was agreed to reinstate it in 2013, but never formally signed because Israel insisted that the signing should take place in East Jerusalem. If you have further sources on the agreements, I would be very interested in seeing them.

    Concerning the impact, I am no expert on this, but the EU-Israel Association Agreement is a multilateral matter whereas the MOU’s you refer to would be bilateral agreements. As such, I think there would be no direct relations between them. I’ll check into this further and let you know if I find more.

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