Trending Topics:

Rosa Luxemburg conference in Vienna bars BDS activists

Activism
on 7 Comments

On March 2nd, the second Rosa Luxemburg Conference was held in Vienna. A famous quote from the Polish-German philosopher — “If you don’t move, you won’t feel your chains!” — was the theme of the event.

BDS Austria (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) registered on time as a participant and co-sponsor of the conference. But without plausible explanation, the registration for an information table was refused and the fee refunded. As the following video shows, BDS activists intervened at the start of the final panel discussion to object to the participant selection policy of the organizers and their refusal to allow a public discuss of the BDS campaign. The speaker is Ruth Orli Moshkovitz.

She said in part:

It appears that the organizers of the Rosa Luxemburg Conference – like the majority of the Austrian “Left” – do not want to move when it comes to the systematic oppression of Palestinians. They prefer not to express their views – above all not in public – on the BDS movement, which is a non-violent, international human rights campaign launched by a broad alliance of Palestinian civil society in 2005…

We ask them: What are you afraid of?…

Are you afraid that the Community College (VHS) will banish you from their facilities if you allow BDS to be openly discussed? Are you afraid that you will be slandered as anti-Semites?

Numerous participants applauded the BDS statement, and the moderator, Michael Woegerer, asked the BDS activists to stay because it would make for a “fair” discussion. This belated invitation however was somewhat disingenuous. In discussions with the moderator, who was also the chief organizer, during the run-up to the conference, there had been many opportunities to discuss BDS participation. But as indicated earlier, the participation of BDS Austria was rejected.

Nevertheless, out of respect for the event, BDS had deliberately designed its intervention to avoid disruption and to allow the meeting to proceed unhindered.

Subsequently, BDS Austria stated again that it was always ready to participate, but on the same basis as all other sponsors or participants, and not in response to a belated invitation.

Here is the text of the intervention at the Rosa Luxemburg Conference (Vienna, 2019)

If you don’t move
…you won’t feel your chains;
…you won’t feel the shackles on what may be said and thought;
…you won’t feel the shackles on what may be said and thought in Austria;
…you won’t feel the shackles on what may be said and thought in Austria about Israel and Israeli Apartheid.

It appears that the organizers of the Rosa Luxemburg Conference – like the majority of the Austrian “Left” – do not want to move when it comes to the systematic oppression of Palestinians. They prefer not to express their views – above all not in public – on the BDS movement, which is a non-violent, international human rights campaign launched by a broad alliance of Palestinian civil society in 2005.

We ask ourselves: What are they afraid of?

We ask them: What are you afraid of?

Are you afraid of feeling your shackles – the chains that shackle all of us?

Are you afraid that the Community College (VHS) will banish you from their facilities if you allow BDS to be openly discussed? Are you afraid that you will be slandered as anti-Semites? Are you afraid to face the fact that Israel has violated international law for decades on a daily basis, and that this is only possible because of our silence, and our complicity?

By means of the BDS campaign, Palestinian civil society demands:

1. An end to the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands, and the demolition of the Wall.

2. Complete legal equality for the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel.

3. The recognition of the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland and their property as agreed in UN Resolution 194.

Is this really asking too much?

Take a stand!
Make a move!
Feel your shackles!

punterweger
About Peter Unterweger

Peter Unterweger is retired and living in Beacon, NY and Vienna, Austria. He previously was the Secretariat of the International Metalworkers Federation (Geneva, Switzerland) and worked as an economist for the UAW Research Department (Detroit). He was born in Vienna during WWII and attended university in the U.S.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

7 Responses

  1. Linda J
    Linda J
    March 11, 2019, 10:48 pm

    SHAME ON THE ROSA LUXEMBOURGERS! #BDS #BDS #BDS

  2. RoHa
    RoHa
    March 12, 2019, 9:53 pm

    Do the organizers of the Rosa Luxemburg Conference know who Rosa Luxemburg was, and what she stood for?

  3. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield
    March 13, 2019, 8:47 am

    Rosa Luxemburg was so far not only from Zionism but from any form of Jewish particularism that she refused to express any special concern for the plight of Jews in tsarist Russia, saying that she was more concerned about the genocide of the Hereros in southwest Africa by the German colonial army.

    • punterweger
      punterweger
      March 14, 2019, 12:32 pm

      Did she ever say that she wasn’t concerned about the plight of the Jews? She was a revolutionary socialist, defeating the capitalist system, was her priority as it was for many of the other revolutionary leaders. In the midst of WWI that was not such a terrible priority, but then I think your real purpose was to besmirch her memory. Nevertheless, thank you for reminding us about her concern for the Hereros, it was a genocide perpetrated by German colonialism, and clearly shows that her concerns for humanity extended beyond a particular ethnic group.

  4. Bennorius
    Bennorius
    March 13, 2019, 10:55 pm


    What an excellent and poetic intervention by Ruth Orli Moshkovitz to make the case for BDS. Rosa would have been proud of her.


Leave a Reply