Switzerland’s Council of States, the upper chamber of its parliament, voted 23 to 16, with three abstentions, on Wednesday to prohibit the public display of racist symbols, including those associated with the Nazis.
Élisabeth Baume-Schneider, a member of the Federal Council and head of Switzerland’s Justice and Police Department, emphasized the need to eliminate symbols that endorse violence in society.
The bill must now pass through the National Council, the lower house of parliament, to become law.
In a separate development, the Austrian parliament recently strengthened penalties under a 1947 law criminalizing the display of Nazi symbols. Those displaying pro-Hamas symbols could now face fines of up to $22,000, even abroad. The updated law also extends beyond “gross” Holocaust denial, now prohibiting partial trivialization.
Austria’s Minister for the European Union and the Constitution, Karoline Edtstadler, expressed the importance of the new regulation in preventing acts like tearing down the Israel flag from synagogues. Israeli Ambassador to Austria, David Roet, thanked Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Minister Karoline Edtstadler for their commitment to combating antisemitism and hatred of Israel, making it an offense to degrade flags and national emblems in Austria.