Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Austria: Bishop resigns from NGO Pax Christi over antisemitism at Palestinian event

Via The Jerusalem Post (Benjamin Weinthal):
Bishop Manfred Scheuer
Bishop Manfred Scheuer resigned on Monday as president of the Catholic peace organization Pax Christi in Austria because of outbreaks of antisemitism within the NGO and at a Pax Christi event with the Palestinian ambassador.  
Scheuer, Bishop of Linz -- Austria's third largest city -- said that the reason for his resignation is Pax Christi's "criticism of Israel's politics" and over the assessment of the "criticism as antisemitic," wrote the Catholic wire agency Kathpress. 
Scheuer said, "I am convinced that because of the Shoah in Germany and Austria a special responsibility and sensitivity is necessary toward the state of Israel." 
Pax Christi International supports the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign targeting the Jewish state. 
In addition to anti-Israel antisemitism, Scheuer cited an additional reason for his break with Pax Christi: verbal attacks on members of the Jewish community in Linz during a late May lecture by Salah Abdel Shafi who serves as the Palestinian ambassador to Austria and the UN in Vienna. 
According to Kathpress, during the joint Pax Christi event with Abdel Shafi, insults were leveled at a writer and Anna Mitgutch, a representative of the Jewish community in Linz, as well as two members of the community. 
Mitgutch told the Linz Kirchenzeitung (Church Paper) that the language used was a "new flare up of antisemitism." (...) 
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the head of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, "This resignation therefore marks an important turning point -- for the first time, a member of the Catholic hierarchy in Europe has openly criticized the organization for this activity. By highlighting the antisemitism, Bishop Scheuer's resignation might also lead the Vatican to issue long overdue guidelines for Pax Christi and other Catholic NGOs such as Misoerer in Germany, that promote BDS." 
The bishop said he shared the concerns of the Jewish community over growing antisemitism in Europe. "Every form of antisemitism is disgraceful and should be sharply criticized, " said Scheuer.

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