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Anti-Semitism on the Rise Down Under

Some worrying news from down under:

Jews in Australia were the victims of 50 per cent more attacks in the 12 months to September than the average figure for the past 14 years, a new report has found.

 

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s (ECAJ) annual report on anti-Semitism in Australia, released today, said the figure included physical assault, property damage and direct face to face harassment.

 

“The worst of these incidents included the smashing of windows at synagogues, eggs thrown at Jewish people on their way to or from religious ceremonies and a firecracker thrown at the door of the home of an Orthodox Jew after a person called out – Let’s get the Rabbi,” the report said.

 

In the 12 months from October 2003 to September 2004 the ECAJ received 455 reports of violence and harassment against Jews – the third consecutive year in which the number of reports had been above 450.

 

Giving details of different types of harassment, the report said harassment not involving violence was up 81 per cent above the average for all years since 1989, when the ECAJ began compiling figures.

 

It was predominantly from passing motorists and about the Middle East conflict.

 

The report also said anti-Semitic graffiti was up 30 per cent.

 

This included the words “kill the Jews” burnt into the lawn of Tasmania’s parliament house.

 

On another occasion “six million more, plus fries” was daubed near a synagogue, it said.

 

Abusive emails made up 53 per cent of all incidents and the ECAJ said it received its first report of a threat sent by SMS.

 

The report also found that, for the sixth time in seven years, more than half the reports of abuse came from New South Wales while incidents were down in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

 

It criticised the media for the publication of anti-Jewish letters to the editor.

 

The report praised “considerable” political leadership against anti-Semitism and found the overall relationship between Jews and Christians to be “extremely positive”.

I have to admit that when I lived in Australia, I felt pretty secure as an observant Jewish person. I did not leave Australia due to fears about my safety, but rather out of ideological conviction. However, I am not surprised by these figures, since many Aussies are not well informed about Judaism, nor the Middle East conflict, and automatically side with the ostensible underdog (although the ‘real’ underdog is the tiny Jewish country surrounded by the large, belligerent Arab states).

 

But thankfully, Australia has one of the most understanding and sensible governments in the world, and will undoubtedly crack down on anti-Semitism there. I am also heartened by the common sense displayed by a large number of Aussie bloggers, who cut through the B-S and know right from left wrong.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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