Surge in Anti-Semitism Incidents in Australia

Reports of serious incidents of anti-Semitism across Australia since the Hamas terror attack on Israel of October 7 have surged a staggering 738 per cent, a figure that Jewish leaders warn is “only the tip of the iceberg”. The most comprehensive report yet on the backlash against Jews from October 7 and the Israel-Hamas war, contains numerous shocking examples of how the scourge of anti-Semitism has taken hold in mainstream Australia. In one instance a prominent Jewish figure in Sydney last month received a letter saying: “I will find you. Hunt you down. Gas you. Kill you … Teach you a lesson. I will come after you. I know where you live.” In another recent example, a bomb threat to blow up a synagogue stated: “There are multiple bombs in the Jewish Centre and they will explode in a few hours. You will all die. I will also slash your family’s throats; I will slash their veins with a knife.” The report released by the country’s peak Jewish body, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), found that anti-Semitic incidents continued to grow, with 316 incidents reported in October, rising to 346 in ­November. The total of 662 compares with just 79 in the same period last year, a 738 per cent rise.

The report also shows that severe examples of anti-Semitism are not confined to Sydney and Melbourne, but are being recorded across the country, from the Sunshine Coast to Perth. The incidents range from bomb and death threats and verbal or physical abuse to racist signs, placards and graffiti. In other cases, stickers saying “Boycott’ with a large Star of David have been placed on Jewish-owned shops including Glicks Bakery, a kosher restaurant called Tavlin and other shops in the Jewish suburb of Balaclava in Melbourne. Many of the incidents of anti-Semitism, including slogans advocating the genocide of Jews, have been made at pro-Palestinian protests around the country. One Jewish organisation in Sydney received an email entitled “Filth”, which stated “History shows how hated you are, I would crush a filthy Jew like a cockroach under foot. If you show your ugly head to me in my country, I will cut it off and roll it down the street. Bring back the Fuhrer.” ECAJ co-executive officer Alex Ryvchin said he feared the figures on anti-Semitic incidents were “only the tip of the iceberg” because Jews were often ashamed or embarrassed to report such incidents.

“I think it’s just a sample of what’s actually going on out there,” Mr Ryvchin said. “It very much reflects my conversations with families and members of the community. There is a great deal of anxiety, concern for physical safety, particularly for school children in uniform.” He said the fact that the calls for death to Jews were heard at the Opera House protest a few days after the October 7 massacre of 1200 Israeli, even before Israel launched its retaliatory attacks in Gaza, showed how the issue was always lurking beneath the surface. “I think it reveals something very disturbing about anti-Semitism in this country,” Mr Ryvchin said. “I think it has always been there and it just needed a trigger to really come to the surface in a massive way. So, it’s deeply troubling about what’s going to happen in the future as well.” The ECAJ said the number of reported incidents of anti-Semitism in October and November was likely to rise further because it could take months for all the data to be received from Jewish organisations around the country. The organisation said it was not only anti-Semitic incidents that were undermining the sense of security of Australia’s 100,000-strong Jewish community.

“In addition to incidents, there were many other expressions of animosity towards Israel and Jews that are not necessarily categorised as incidents but were just as damaging to, and undermining of, the sense of security of members of the Jewish community and their sense of belonging as part of the broader Australian community,” the report said. These included “thousands of posters of the names and photos of those kidnapped by Hamas which had been put up around multiple suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne and elsewhere, that were ripped down and/graffitied”.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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