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November 12, 2014 11:57 am

Anti-Semitism Up 35 Percent in Australia Over Past Year

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The Great Synagogue, Elizabeth Street, Sydney, Australia. Australian Jews have launched an action plan to combat anti-Semitism in the country. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – Anti-Semitism has increased by 35 percent over the past year in Australia, according to a new report by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ). There were 312 incidents of anti-Semitism recorded in the country during that time.

The report cited the anti-Israel protests and rhetoric related to last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza as part of the reason for the spike in Australian anti-Semitism.

“The Israel-Gaza war produced mass protests in Australia, and the world, condemning Israel. There is a correlation between the intensity of conflict involving Israel and the level of anti-Semitism recorded in the western world, of which Australia is part,” said ECAJ.

Among the incidents documented in the report was the attack on five Jewish people in Bondi as they were walking home from a Shabbat dinner, a rabbi who was threatened by a gang in Perth, and students who were threatened on a bus in Sydney by a gang of drunken teenagers.

The report also cited an “escalating use of anti-Semitism motifs” in the Australian media as part of the increase in anti-Semitism incidents. It specifically mentioned claims by former Australian foreign minister Bob Carr, who said that Australian politics suffered from a “very unhealthy influence” by the pro-Israel lobby, as well as a cartoon in the Sydney Morning Herald last July that “unambiguously portrayed an ugly stereotype of a Jew.”

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  • Julian Clovelley

    Inter-racial incidents are not uncommon in Australia but they are generally of a low level – little more than occasional insult or a piece of over the top humour. Mostly they are seen as a bit silly. More serious incidents do occur but are very much frowned on. Entrenched racism is fading.

    Intermarriage is very common in Australia, starting with the most common one of an English person marrying, or having a relationship with, an Australian. But asian origin to non asian is increasingly common and often two different migrant community members intermarry. Most kids are brought up as Australians

    The same has been happening for generations, which is why there are so many people who are part aboriginal. In my family there are a number of assimilated Jews in the family tree. In fact Jewish people who know us have often thought my partner’s family might be more Jewish than Gentile – Who knows? – it is always a compliment to be accepted.

    There are Jewish people who join the IDF just as there are Islamic people who have joined ISIS – As an Australian I would actually prefer people joined neither. I believe that despite having a rather difficult government at the moment, in my opinion – Australian has long taken the path of multiculturalism and enjoys it. We don’t need imported troubles. Life can be hard enough as it is. Australia, after all, is mainly desert.

    Often the link is over the food table or at a BBQ or in one of the pubs and clubs. We are developing one of the best mixed cuisines in the world. The link can also be through child care facilities and schools.

    Our stability is assisted by the social dominace of secular attitudes. Most Australians these days couldn’t care less if your background is Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish or Muslim and increasing people regard religion as rubbish but how you treat each other as being above such nonsense.

    Being Jewish is pretty meaningless to most people. Insulting a group of kids on a bus, attacking an old man or being rude to a Chinese girl on a train or bus that is what upsets most of us. It is very annoying.

    Strange costumes such as the burkah do sometimes cause a reaction. Often it turns out to be a native Australian underneath the cover and I guess even those opposed to such clobber mostly just think “get over it”

    In Australia we look after our mates – there are often more dangers in close communities than in open ones. Nice country which can be like visiting the whole world in just one day. We have a word for it that we all share

    “Home”. Come and see us all sometime – We can be a bit rough, but when you are trouble we are there for you, whoever you are.

    Just remember at the BBQ you bring your own grog and share it. if you can suspend kosher for a while its a good idea – we almost all eat anything so long as it tastes good

  • Ronald Koenig

    After many years of discovery involving the murder of over 70 members of my family in Poland, I erected a memorial to them in the Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw. Later, a Jewish newspaper published a story following the dedication of the stone. A family member, who as an 11-year old child, survived two years in the Warsaw Ghetto and WWII, eventually emigrated to Australia. Through subsequent events, we reunited in Australia. When visiting many times II was asked to tell my story to survivors and others in Melbourne and worked with someone instrumental in establishing the Holocaust Museum there. I am shocked and very disappointed that Anti-Semitism has reared it’s ugly head in a place so dear to me.

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