"we're here right now"

Deputy PM condemns attack on Jewish school

The phrase “Jew Die” was spray painted on the outside wall of the Burwood campus at the weekend.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Some pupils at Melbourne’s Mount Scopus Memorial College have been kept at home today by their parents in the wake of the weekend graffiti attack on the Jewish school.

The phrase “Jew Die” was spray painted on the outside wall of the Burwood campus at the weekend.

Principal Dan Sztrajt believed those parents will eventually send their children back though.

“Look, I understand people feeling worried about this and I don’t think they’re just worried about what happened today, they’re worried about the wider context of what’s going on, for Jews everywhere. But I think we need to be proud of who we are” he told the AJN.

Sztrajt said right now there are year 12 pupils who are choosing universities based not on the best fit for their interests or learning style, but on which one are safe for Jews.

Deputy prime minister Richard Marles, accompanied by Macnamara MP Josh Burns and the local MP for Chisholm, Dr Carina Garland, spoke to pupils at an assembly today, and then held a press conference.

He told reporters there is no place in Australia for antisemitism and there is legislation on hate speech being prepared which is out for consultation.

“And it is important that we get this right – there are nuances in all of this, which really do matter. And communities I can tell you are going to want to be consulted about this” he said.

Photo: Supplied

When asked by the AJN about political leaders taking action to go with their words, he said “Well, we’re here right now. We are supporting the community in terms of measures around security … But I think what is really important is that in this moment, people across the political spectrum are standing up in opposition to antisemitism”.

Macnamara MP Josh Burns said there is an important differentiation between a mature discussion on difficult foreign policy matters and the targeting of Jewish institutions, Jewish people and a Jewish school in Australia.

“And it is absolutely okay to have a conversation about foreign policy about the Middle East … not firing tweets or firing off some abuse on social media or graffiti in a school” he said.

Jewish Community Council of Victoria President Philip Zajac has reacted to the death threat at the college b saying it has left the Jewish community devastated and in shock.

“I cannot comprehend the depravity of the person who decided to scrawl that slogan on the school fence. We cannot let this behaviour continue” he said.

Zajac said the JCCV has been warning government, police, and other leaders for months that we are heading towards a dangerous place where anti-Jewish hate is becoming normalised.

“That message has not been heeded and look where we are today” he said.

Progressive Judaism Victoria (PJV) says they are shocked at the incident, which can only be seen as a death threat against Jewish Victorian children.

“We add our voices for strong action against those promoting not only hate but racial violence” PJV said in a statement.

read more: