Austrian student, 19, is attacked on a train and called a ‘Jewish slut’ only for Vienna cops to accuse her of acting provocatively by reading a book about Jews

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From the Daily Mail and The Times

An Austrian student who was attacked on a train and called a ‘Jewish slut’ was accused by police of acting provocatively by reading a book about Jewish people.

The student, 19, was attacked by three men on the Vienna underground while she was reading the historical book The Jew in the Modern World for a Jewish studies course.

The woman, who has not been named, was cruelly called a ‘child murderer’ and a ‘Jewish slut’ by her attackers, who also pulled her hair, according to The Times.

“I was able to free myself and ran out at Stephansplatz,” she told the Austrian radio station Ö1. When she reached the street she said she approached two police officers, whose first reaction was to ask: “Why do you have to read such a book now in this conflict situation?” The student said the officers suggested that reading the book was provocative and that the attack could not be antisemitic because she was not Jewish. When she asked them what else she could do, they told her to “forget about it” and not bother going to a police station,

Critics said the case was unacceptable, particularly given Austria’s Nazi history. Daniel Landau, an education expert commissioned by the government to devise antisemitism awareness training for Austrian police officers, called the incident “pretty horrendous. . . It’s like telling a woman who has been raped ‘why did you dress so provocatively’,” he told Austrian television. “It must be made unmistakably clear that reading a book in this country does not constitute complicity.

“I demand that it gets through to even the remotest police station at the back of the Bregenz Forest that there are taboos in this country and that antisemitism must be one of these taboos. I want a basic consensus in this country that anyone who behaves antisemitically must get a problem.”

A few days after the attack, the student reportedly asked the Vienna transport authority for footage of the incident but claimed she was told it had been deleted. She claimed she was told that footage is deleted after 72 hours unless police ask for it – which could make finding the three men who attacked the student challenging.  

A police spokesperson said: ‘The 19-year-old concerned reported to a police station, the facts were recorded and a complaint was made against unknown perpetrators after suspicion of coercion.

‘The State Office for the Protection of the Constitution took over the further investigations due to the possible anti-Semitist background. ‘The person concerned also reported to the Citizen Information Unit and described her perception in writing. The descriptions of those affected will now be checked and the internal surveys will be continued.’ 

Oskar Deutsch, president of the Jewish Community of Vienna (IKG), said the case showed that antisemitism was not a Jewish problem but one of society as a whole.  . . The IKG reported a 6.4 per cent increase in antisemitic incidents in the Austrian capital last year, to a record 585.

This reminds me of the incident over 12 years ago when Wes Streeting, then a student and active in the NUS was abused  while reading Alan Dershowitz’s The Case for Israel while travelling on the London Underground. He said ““Someone made the instinctive assumption that I was Jewish and that it was therefore appropriate to give abuse. I think people look at antisemitism as something which only tends to be discussed in the context of Nazism, as something that came to a climax in the Holocaust and is not a problem any more. I will make people aware that sadly antisemitism is still there, it’s on the increase. It’s the responsibility of all communities to work together to stop it.” It is, of course far worse now. Wes Streeting became a Labour MP in an east London constituency which had a large Jewish community, and now has a much larger Muslim one. He is currently on sick leave having treatment for kidney cancer That isn’t really relevant, other than he isn’t in any position to comment or campaign at the moment. I wonder how long he will stay in the Labour party once he is recovered and back at work. 

One Response

  1. The question must be asked: would this unfortunate young lady reader have been assaulted had she been reading “Mein Kampf” on the Austrian train rather than a book about Jewish history?
    Here is the answer: no.

    Ours is a sick, disgusting world full of ignorant, hateful fake human failures.

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