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'OBLIGATION FOR AUSTRALIANS'

Christians rally in support of Jewish friends

“I DON’T believe that antisemitism is just a Jewish problem,” Freya Leach told The AJN this week.

Freya Leach speaking at a Bring Them Home rally.
Freya Leach speaking at a Bring Them Home rally.

“I DON’T believe that antisemitism is just a Jewish problem,” Freya Leach told The AJN this week.

“I believe it’s an Australian problem and it threatens the Australian values of tolerance, peace and cohesion when antisemitism is allowed to occur without any resistance.”

Leach has been a vocal supporter of the Jewish community, and along with her father, Mark, she has helped organise Christian rallies for Australians who wish to stand in solidarity with their Jewish friends.

“We thought it’s actually an obligation for all Australians to stand up and go, no, that’s not right, that’s not what Australia is about,” she said. “All Australians need to stand up and stand against antisemitism.”

Leach said there has been a desire from the Christian community to express their solidarity and these rallies – taking place on February 18 in Sydney, March 3 Adelaide and later dates in Melbourne and Brisbane – provide a platform for them to do that.

“We’re very connected in a lot of the Christian communities, obviously my dad being an Anglican minister, and we’ve got a lot of Christians involved,” Leach said.

“And in the broader public as well, we’ve had a lot of support. Ordinary people want to stand against antisemitism, they want to stand for tolerance and respect, but they often don’t know how or what is the best way to do that. This is the way for them to do that and lots of people are really keen to come out in support.”

The idea came about when Mark Leach and Wayne Zwar approached the Together with Israel group expressing their commitment to supporting the Jewish community by organising rallies led by Christians. The inspiration draws from similar rallies that took place in the UK and US where the subject is: Antisemitism – Never Again is Now!

“Never Again is Now” is a growing global movement of Christians standing against antisemitism.

For Leach, her determination to stand up against antisemitism stems from the fact that her grandmother was a Holocaust survivor.

“I grew up with a very deep understanding of what can go wrong when governments go bad, when people turn a blind eye to evil and when people just stand around and wait for someone else to fix it, or to say something,” she said.

“When we see injustice we have to stand up for what’s right. With my family background I love Jewish people, I love Israel and I despise antisemitism, so it’s really emotional for me.”

Hagit Ashual from Together with Israel said the goal is to engage diverse communities, including Iranians, “recognising the strength that unity brings to our cause”.

“The primary objective of these rallies is to bring awareness to the struggles our community is experiencing these days and to bring together diverse communities for a moment of unity, reflection and celebration,” she said.

“We are excited about the potential impact of this initiative and welcome your support.”

To register for the rallies visit: events.humanitix.com/host/never-again-is-now

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