Photo Credit: Twitter screenshot
Austrian Jewish woman with torn poster arguing with local Fort Kochi Muslims, April 16, 2024.

Two Austrian Jewish women were detained Tuesday night by Fort Kochi (Cochin) police after one of them tore down a pro-Hamas poster and her friend filmed her on her phone, The Week reported.

The poster was put up in December 2023, after the Hamas atrocities of October 7, by the Students Islamic Organization of India (SIO), the student wing of the Pakistani political party Jamaat-e-Islami. It features an Arab child throwing a rock at a tank, under the slogan “Silence is Violence, Stand up for Humanity…”

The offensive pro-Hamas poster that was torn down by two Austrian Jewish women, April 16, 2024. / Twitter screenshot

SIO activists lodged a complaint with the Fort Kochi police, urging them to file against the women a First Information Report (FIR), a common preliminary document filed by police in Southeast Asian countries, including Myanmar, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan in response to a complaint.

In the video, which went viral in countries where one watches these things while consuming juicy slices of mango, the Austrian Jewish woman is arguing with the SIO activists, telling them, “You are promoting propaganda and lies.”

She stressed that she was tearing down the poster for the Jewish people.

Although I have no doubt that Jewish people everywhere heaved a sigh of relief knowing the offensive poster was no longer up there in Kochi, spreading lies and whatnot, I’m also certain most of us Jews would prefer it if our sisters in Southeast Asia did not provoke Indian crowds, especially since many of us have watched the mob chase scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

If you’re curious about Indian law, the FIR was registered under Indian Penal Code Section 153, deliberately provoking with intent to cause a riot. The two women were interrogated at the local station and released on bail. They were planning to stay in Kochi through Saturday, and the local cops promised to do their darndest to conclude their investigation by then.

On Shabbat, the two Austrian ladies may choose to visit the local Paradesi Synagogue, which is gorgeous but has a very small community.

Cochin Jews are the oldest group of Jews in India, with roots that date back to the time of King Solomon. The first post-biblical Jews arrived in Cochin as early as the 12th century.


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