Stronger leadership against antisemitism by the Prime Minister and all state premiers, plus increased deterrence via law enforcement for those who commit it, are urgently needed, federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton claimed at Bondi Mizrachi Synagogue on December 4.
There to meet members of the Rabbinical Council of NSW (RCNSW), Dutton urged Anthony Albanese to put the issue of addressing antisemitism on the agenda for the scheduled national cabinet meeting on December 6, “because of its national significance, and because of the threat, and the fear, that Jewish people are living under at the moment”.
“The antisemitism we’re seeing on our shores is on a different scale than anything we’ve known, in its raw and rampant hostility,” Dutton said.
“Key leaders have been found wanting, in providing strong support for Israel, and in making clear-cut condemnations of antisemitism, and that’s why we’ve seen instances of moral cowardice, equivalence, ambiguity and qualification.
“A necessary pushback against antisemitism requires moral courage and clarity.
“The Prime Minister needs to show some strength and leadership, and stand up for our country’s interests, instead of being weak and woke.”
Dutton stressed, “We have an obligation to not only call out acts of antisemitism, but to demand there be severe consequences for those committing antisemitic acts, like those [pro-Palestine protesters] last week who stormed the Crowne Plaza Hotel [in Melbourne].
“Their aim wasn’t only to intimidate [a delegation of] Israelis whose loved ones had been killed or taken hostage by Hamas – the protesters wanted their actions to be broadcast, to strike fear into Australians of Jewish faith.
“Those people should have been arrested.
“We must keep pressure on governments, and on police, at all levels, to enforce accountability, and the rule of law [because] there should be a message of deterrence.”
During a press conference afterwards, Dutton condemned actors who chose to take pro-Palestine stances during curtain calls of recent performances of Sydney Theatre Company plays The Seagull and The Visitors.
“These people are paid to act, not to be propaganda chiefs,” Dutton said.
“Our society has no place for antisemitism whatsoever, and it doesn’t matter how it’s masked, or dressed up.
“I think Arts Minister [Tony] Burke has been so mealy-mouthed in relation to his response.
“These actions need to be condemned.”
Thanking Dutton for his visit, RCNSW president Rabbi Shua Solomon said, “His unwavering stance against antisemitism resonates profoundly with all of us.”