Anti-Semitism in Australia up 35% – report

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A recent report by the Australian Jewish Umbrella Group found that anti-Semitism will rise by 35 per cent in 2021. During the 12-month period from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021, volunteer community safety groups documented 447 incidents of anti-Semitism (CSG) in Australia, official Jewish state rooftop agencies and the American Jewish Executive Council ( ECAJ). The report was first published on the Forum for Anti-Semitism Coordination (CFCA) website Monitoring Anti-Semitism.

The total included 272 attacks (personal assault, verbal abuse, harassment, vandalism, graffiti) and 175 threats (via email, phone, post, posters, stickers).

During the first 12 months ended September 30, 2020, these agencies recorded 331 incidents. As a result, the total number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in Australia has increased by 35% compared to the previous year.

Overall, from 2020 to 2021, there was a significant increase in the number of reported incidents in four categories: abuse and harassment (up 14% from 128 in 2020 to 147 in 2021), graffiti (up 152% from 42 to 106) and stickers/posters (from 28 to 72, an increase of 157%) and a small increase in vandalism (from 10 to 11, a 10% increase).

Physical attack remains the same. The number of postal and telephone threat incidents declined slightly, while the number of email threats declined even more.

Nazi memorabilia for sale in New South Wales, Australia. (Credit: Anti-Defamation Commission)

From 2013 to 2020, the average number of anti-Semitic incidents reported each year was 280. As a result, the number of reported incidents in 2021 is 167 higher than the average.

Over the past 12 months, two major events appear to have led to an increase in anti-Semitism: the Israel-Hamas conflict and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For example, 88 incidents were recorded in May alone, when hostilities between Israel and Hamas broke out, while between 22 and 46 incidents were recorded in each of the other 11 months of the year.

Operation Wall Keeper in May 2021 triggered events of various forms. There have been deliberate attacks on Jewish community facilities, especially synagogues, Jewish schools and Jewish businesses, but also on Jewish private homes. Most of the targets took the form of anti-Israel graffiti on the front fences of synagogues, schools and Jewish homes. Other graffiti not on Jewish neighborhoods or residential properties are strategically placed so that local Jews may see it; placed next to or across from Jewish schools, Jewish shops, etc. In addition, images on placards and banners at anti-Israel protests compared the Jewish Star of David to the Nazi swastika and other forms of Holocaust distortions.

    The Nazi swastika on the Australian football pitch (Source: ANTI-DEFAMATION COMMISSION) The Nazi swastika on the Australian football pitch (Source: ANTI-DEFAMATION COMMISSION)

The extremist Muslim group Hizb ut’Tahrir organised an anti-Israel protest in Sydney’s Leckenba in May 2021, with several speakers chanting slurs and calling for violence against Jews. These include: “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews! Muhammad’s army will return!”, “Destroy the Jews!”, “O Allah, give us the necks of the Jews!”, “O Allah, give us the necks of those who do evil!” neck!”

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