Since October 7, 2023, more than one antisemitic-related crime per day has been reported in Victoria, totalling 102 incidents in just under three months.
Naomi Levin, CEO of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) said this is unprecedented and unimaginable,
“This cannot go on” she said.
“Our community needs elected representatives, multicultural and faith leaders, educators, and giants of business to stand up and say ‘enough is enough’. Generic calls against racism are not satisfactory; the challenge needs to be identified clearly: it is persecution and hatred of Jews” Levin said.
In response to the surge in incidents since October 7, Victoria Police launched Operation Park to combat hate crimes.
Between October 7, 2023, and January 2 this year, Victoria Police received a total of 349 reports, with 145 prioritized as alleged prejudice-motivated crimes.
Of these, 102 were identified as antisemitic-related crimes, while 12 were Islamophobia-related.
The police have made 42 arrests related to alleged antisemitic crimes, which include assaults, criminal damage, thefts, and using telecommunication services to menace.
Over the same period, the Community Security Group Victoria has recorded a more than 1500% increase in reporting via the Jewish Emergency App (JEAP) and its 24/7 emergency hotline.
From 7 October 2023 to 9 January 2024 inclusive, CSG Victoria said it had debriefed more than 740 incidents of antisemitism and suspicious behaviour from community, not including online rhetoric, which is too numerous to count.
Of the incidents debriefed, over 230 were classified as antisemitic, pursuant to national reporting conventions.
This represents a more than 680% increase from the previous corresponding period.
Regional Operations Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson said “Arrests over past weeks demonstrate our commitment to ensuring alleged offenders are held to account. We … have already conducted more than 100 investigations with further charges likely to arise.”
Paterson also highlighted the importance of peaceful protest and community engagement, saying, “Everyone has the right to protest peacefully unless they are putting others in harm’s way”.
Southern Metro Region Assistant Commissioner, Chris Gilbert, told the AJN that the incident at the end of last year where families and friends of some of the hostages in Gaza were confronted at their Docklands hotel by protestors was handled correctly.
“It was a trespass offence, meaning they had to be given a move on direction and then be allowed a reasonable amount of time to leave. Initially there were more protestors than Police, so it made sense to wait until more Police arrived” he said.
CSG Victoria said they continue to work for the safety and security of our community, including their highly trained 24/7 response team which is active to attend to incidents and suspicious activity.