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December 10, 2021 11:11 am

No Let-Up to ‘Epidemic’ of Antisemitism in Australian City of Melbourne

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An excerpt from an antisemitic leaflet circulated to homes in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: ADC

Dozens of handwritten antisemitic leaflets have been delivered to homes in a suburb of the Australian city of Melbourne promoting the classic conspiracy theory of Jewish control over world events.

Photocopies of the leaflet, neatly written out in upper case letters, were placed in residents’ mailboxes in the Melbourne suburb of Pakenham, the Australian Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) — a Jewish civil rights organization — reported on Friday.

The leaflet exhorted readers not to trust the Australian government because “Jews hang in the background using their freemason puppets to push their agendas.”

It went on to claim that “all celebrity suicides are induced by Jews” who will “even attack selected people within society that spread truth about their tactics and agendas.”

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The leaflet used the pejorative “Jew flu” to describe the COVID-19 pandemic, “which is all about spreading fear whilst obtaining more power and control over the population.”

Dvid Abramovich, the ADC’s CEO, said that the appearance of the leaflet demonstrated that the “genie of antisemitism has been unleashed in Australian suburbs.”

Continued Abramovich: “It’s clear that the agents of evil are redoubling their efforts like never before to spread their venomous ideology. Times of turmoil have always offered fertile ground for racism, and I am very alarmed by the scale and depth of the wave of hatred engulfing the Jewish community in our nation.”

He added that it was “no wonder that Jews around the country are finding the online and real-world environment toxic and unsafe. We call on all leaders to vigorously denounce such ugly rhetoric and hope that those who are promoting this bigoted campaign are exposed for spreading the virus of prejudice.”

The appearance of the leaflets at homes in Pakenham came just days after a Melbourne rabbi was showered with antisemitic abuse elsewhere in the city.

The unnamed rabbi, who wears a kippah in public, told the Australian Jewish News that he had visited the Crown Casino and Entertainment complex on Nov. 30 to meet with a member of staff about holding a communal event there. While he waited in the lobby area checking his phone, a man approached him and accused the rabbi of “filming my family.” When the rabbi responded that he had no idea what the man was talking about, he was showered with what he termed “disgusting abuse.” As a parting shot, the man told him, “You’re one of those that Hitler didn’t finish.”

The rabbi reflected that the incident “did leave me shaken but at the same time I’m a big believer that the answer to antisemitism — while we can’t just push it under the carpet — is to fight it with what I call pro-semitism, to be proud of who you are and proud to display who you are.” He said that he had decided “to organize another event for Hanukkah which I wasn’t planning to organize; I said, this is my silent response to this antisemitic remark.”

In September, the ADC’s Abramovich warned that Melbourne was facing “an epidemic of antisemitism,” much of it connected to COVID-19 conspiracy theories. The city has witnessed several antisemitic incidents during 2021, among them the ordeal of a Jewish woman who was spat at and verbally abused while returning home from synagogue services in March, and a Jewish school that was vandalized with the slogan “Free Palestine” in June.

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