‘You Have to Stand Up to Hate,’ Says Australian Jewish Man Who Stood Up to Antisemitic Assailant on Walk to Synagogue
An Australian Jewish man who was brutally assaulted by a man yelling “Heil Hitler” as he walked with his 11-year-old son to a Bar Mitzvah at a synagogue in the city of Brisbane last Saturday has spoken out about his experience.
The 48-year-old victim, identified only as “Paul,” was approached by a man who noticed him wearing a kippah and began shouting “Heil Hitler” and making Nazi salutes.
As the man walked away, Paul followed behind him, tracking him with his cell phone video and asking him why he had uttered the Nazi slogan.
The man turned suddenly and began punching Paul, bruising him on his left cheek. As the assailant fled the scene, Paul shouted that he was calling the police.
“At first, I didn’t realize what he was shouting, but when I looked into his eyes they were filled with hate towards me,” Paul told the Australian Jewish news outlet j-wire on Wednesday.
“I could feel his hatred directed at me right down into my bones. He punched me in the face and then just walked away,” he continued.
In a separate interview with Queensland broadcaster 9News, Paul’s 11-year-old son spoke about the assault on his father.
“It’s sad to see how this stuff happens in this modern society,” Paul’s son, who was not identified, said.
Asked by the interviewer why he chased after the offender, Paul responded that it was “important to stand up for what you believe in. The importance of standing up to hate against yourself and at other people.”
The Vice President of the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies (QJBD) said that the attack was sickening and evidence that laws needed to be strengthened.
“For this brave father and his son to be subjected to abuse like this on the streets of Brisbane is shocking and deplorable,” Jason Steinberg told j-wire.
“When Jews in Queensland are being targeted, abused and punched then something must be done as a matter of urgency,” Steinberg added. “The existing laws are clearly not strong enough to deter racist behavior — the likes of which we are hearing about on a weekly basis in Queensland.”