Premier of Australian State of Victoria Blasts COVID-19 Antisemitism Online: ‘Unacceptable and Evil’
The premier of the Australian state of Victoria expressed outrage on Tuesday after a hospital worker posted a vicious antisemitic statement on Facebook in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Australian news site news.com.au reported that the worker at the Royal Melbourne Hospital made the statement in relation to an engagement party held in violation of coronavirus regulations and attended by members of the Jewish community.
Several coronavirus infections have already been traced back to the event.
The party was held last week, but video of it emerged online over the weekend, prompting a deluge of antisemitism online.
However, the hospital worker’s statement was considered especially egregious, as she said the Jews who attended the party should be “put in a gas chamber.”
Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria, where the Melbourne hospital is located, denounced the worker’s comments as “appalling.”
“Antisemitism is unacceptable and evil and we have a zero-tolerance approach to that in our state,” he said.
He added that those attending the party were going to face legal sanctions, but the event “was not a function of being Jewish.”
Dvir Abramovich of the Australian Jewish organization the Anti-Defamation Commission flagged the post online, calling the statement “ugly and dangerous rhetoric.”
Victoria’s top health official Brett Sutton also blasted the remarks, saying, “I want to flag that it is incredibly destructive to the public health response. Hate directed at any community, geographically, by age cohort, by country of origin, ethnic background, language, whatever — it is destructive.”
The hospital worker has been fired, according to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, which said, “We do not tolerate racial or religious hatred, contempt, or ridicule.”
“We apologize for the hurt and anger this has caused,” the hospital said. “We stand with and support our Jewish staff members, patients, and community.”