THE most worrying part of the Community Security Group (CSG)’s 2021 antisemitic incidents report is not that there were 38 per cent more reported incidents than the previous year.
It’s not even shule-goers being chased with knives, or death threats against Jewish preschoolers.
It’s the fact that CSG says it’s “highly likely” there remains significant under-reporting and the true number of incidents “is likely to be much higher”.
Sadly too, we don’t need a report to tell us antisemitism is alive and well in Australia.
In Melbourne, two incidences of antisemitic graffiti have been discovered on posters of Jewish MP Josh Burns over the past two weeks.
In Sydney, meanwhile, a mural celebrating the late, much-loved communal member and local identity Hersz Friedman was found defaced with a Hitler moustache.
And yet Australia remains one of the most tolerant countries in the world, and one of the safest to be openly Jewish.
But we can’t take that for granted.
The CSG certainly do not – their volunteers spend countless hours patrolling outside our schools, synagogues and other community infrastructure to ensure our safety.
They are to be applauded for this often thankless task.
While security is essential for dealing with the symptoms of this scourge, we also need to address its causes.
The role of education is key in this regard.
We welcome the recent string of announcements from the federal government pledging to fund Holocaust museums and education centres around Australia, in addition to the Safer Communities funding that fortifies our institutions.
The importance of Holocaust education goes even further than countering antisemitism, as we also learned this week with the resurfacing of a video in which Greens candidate Mandy Nolan said “Hitler had fun”.
While Nolan may not have intended to cause offence with her self-identified “clumsy metaphor”, knowing how to talk about the Holocaust is just as important as talking about it.
We hope she takes up the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ invitation to visit the Sydney Jewish Museum.
She can yet be an important ally in combating antisemitism.
And we know that allies are an integral part of the fight.