Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) president Daniel Aghion said he is “alarmed” by the presence of neo-Nazis at a Melbourne rally in support of a ‘No’ vote.
It comes after a string of antisemitic incidents over Yom Kippur, including vile graffiti that was sprawled across concrete pillars below the Millers Rd underpass in Altona on Sunday morning.
According to a report in The Herald Sun, Hobsons Bay City Council mayor Tony Briffa said she would contact the Westgate Tunnel Project team to have the graffiti removed.
“Hobsons Bay City Council doesn’t tolerate any kind of hate speech graffiti, whether it’s about Jews, the LGBTIQA+ community, or anyone else,” Briffa said.
“Our policy is to remove graffiti like this within 24 hours.”
Aghion said he appreciates the effort of authorities to remove the graffiti as quickly as practical.
“This graffiti represents an attempt to intimidate, harass and vilify Jewish Victorians and there is no place for messages like this in our community,” Aghion said.
“Antisemitic conspiracy theorists are again becoming active in Melbourne.”
Opportunistic extremists then turned up at the ‘No’ rally, where it’s understood about two dozen masked neo-Nazis unfurled a banner that said “Voice = Anti-White” and performed a Nazi salute. A flyer with the heading “Every aspect of the aboriginal Voice to parliament is Jewish” was also handed out.
“The presence of neo-Nazis at the Melbourne rally in favour of a ‘No’ vote is alarming,” Aghion said.
“They are using this referendum to divide Australians and recruit for their extremist and dangerous cause. Regardless of how people vote in the referendum, event organisers need to make it clear that neo-Nazis are not welcome at otherwise peaceful political rallies.”
Chair of the Anti-Defamation Commission Dvir Abramovich added, “The ugliness of antisemitism and neo-Nazism has now infected the rallies of the ‘No’ campaign, as these agents of evil exploit this issue to scapegoat the Jewish community and to spread their venomous conspiracy theories.
“We condemn this contemptible flyer that singles and foments violence against Jews, trafficking in dangerous blood libels and fear.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said the incidents were “deeply disturbing”.
“The time has come for a national antisemitism education program across Australian schools to provide resources and support to teachers and parents to understand and defeat this form of hatred, particularly before it spreads to universities, the workplace and broader society,” he said.