Federal MP Josh Burns has thanked the more than 600 business, government and community leaders who joined a national campaign to “Say no to antisemitism”.
An open letter appeared in newspapers on Tuesday condemning the rise in antisemitism, accompanied by a social media campaign.
“We have been alarmed at the offensive language, vandalism and harassment occurring on our streets, university campuses and outside public Australian landmarks,” it said.
“We are unequivocal in our resolve that racism in all its forms is deplorable and abhorrent … we will not tolerate such conduct in our workplaces and firmly reject it in our communities,” the letter says.
The letter has been signed by former premiers including Gladys Berejiklian, Daniel Andrews, Mike Baird, Ted Baillieu, Nick Greiner and Jeff Kennett, alongside former senior federal politicians including Josh Frydenberg, Alexander Downer, Kim Beazley and John Anderson.
News Corp head Lachlan Murdoch and wife Sarah are signatories, as are former AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and his predecessor Andrew Demetriou. Business leaders including Lindsay Fox, David Gonski, Joseph Gersh and Jayne Hrdlicka have also signed in addition to Jewish communal figures.
Businessman Tim Rossanis, who helped create the campaign, said he felt the business community hadn’t been doing enough to publicly condemn the rise in antisemitism.
“This idea came up and between a few friends, who introduced their friends, we collaborated intensely for two and a half weeks to pull together the signatories, the website, the social strategy and the media plan,” he said.
“My hope is that the community realises that we actually have a significant number of allies who have been willing to vocally and visibly take the pledge.”
Burns tabled the letter in the House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon.
“If you are targeting Jewish businesses in Australia, that is antisemitism. If you are targeting Jewish university students in Australia, that is antisemitism. If you are targeting Jewish school students in Australia, that is antisemitism. If you are targeting Jewish artists and creatives here in Australia, that is antisemitism. If you are targeting Jewish community organisations here in Australia, that is antisemitism.”
Burns said standing against all forms of racism and bigotry is not just the right thing to do, “It’s the Australian thing to do.
“We here in this country celebrate our multiculturalism, we celebrate our minorities, we celebrate our diversity,” he said.
“Today, leaders around the country took a stand and I thank them for this.”
Sign the pledge: saynotoantisemitism.org