The Austrian press body issued a decision on Friday declaring that labeling the BDS campaign targeting Israel as “antisemitic” is not a violation of the organization’s ethical code.
The Austrian Press Council wrote “numerous institutions and state institutions classify the BDS movement as antisemitic. In view of this, the Senate seems to have justified the antisemitism allegation made by the news outlet” against the BDS group.
The Press group also said freedom of the media protects the paper’s right to term BDS an antisemitic movement.
A chapter of the BDS campaign in the Austrian state of Styria filed a complaint last year with the Austrian Press Council against the daily Kleine Zeitung, in which the anti-Israel group claimed the BDS movement is not antisemitic.
According to the Press Council, the BDS entity said the international campaign to sanction Israel opposes “Israeli policies” via the “mass expulsion” of Palestinians but does not reject Jews.
“It is irrelevant whether the BDS movement considers itself antisemitic or if other people contradict this classification. The Senate [of the Press Council] also disagreed with the Styrian association on the other complaints regarding the article,” the Council ruled.
Critics of the BDS campaign say that its demand that all Palestinian “refugees” return to Israel would mean the abolition of the Jewish democratic State, and that meets the definition of contemporary antisemitism. Last May, the German Bundestag classified BDS as antisemitic.