Fighting hate
Our say

Fighting hate

Much of this week’s AJN makes for sobering reading.

In Adelaide, Jewish university students are scared to attend their campus after being taunted and laughed at when they expressed concern over an article calling for “death to Israel”.

Meanwhile, not far away, neo-Nazis had the gall to give Nazi salutes outside the city’s Holocaust museum.

In Sydney, a portal for school students to record antisemitic incidents – created in the wake of reports of antisemitic bullying at a number of schools – was inundated with harrowing reports in just a matter of days.

Last week, The AJN‘s Melbourne edition covered a Victorian government report that found far-right activity has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Jews among the targets.

And it all comes in the wake of a vile anti-Israel and antisemitic motion passed by the University of Melbourne Student Union in August.

It is indeed fortuitous that one of the world’s foremost experts on antisemitism, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, is in Australia this week to speak at JNF Australia events.

The problem of antisemitism in Australia in 2022 is very real.

In the 12 months to September 30 last year, fuelled by the pandemic and the Israel-Hamas conflict of May 2021, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry reported 447 antisemitic incidents, including 272 attacks and 175 threats.

And yet, Australia remains one of the safest countries in the world in which to be openly Jewish. We are a multicultural success story. The vast majority of Australians have no tolerance for discrimination of any kind.

Our leaders lead by example. In response to the stunt outside the Adelaide Holocaust Museum, the South Australian government will look at banning Nazi symbols, following NSW and Victoria who have already done so.

In federal Parliament on Tuesday, a motion condemning Jew hatred in all its forms according to the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism and calling on all states to introduce mandatory Holocaust education was supported across party lines.

There is much work to be done in countering antisemitism. Complacency is not an option.

The AJN thanks our political leaders for their support, as well as our communal organisations that tirelessly advocate and educate to counter the scourge.

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