A BRISBANE man was punched and abused by a man shouting “Heil Hitler” while on his way to synagogue with his 11-year-old son for a bar mitzvah on Saturday.
The attacker, who has not been identified, started shouting the offensive phrase and giving Nazi salutes after seeing the 48-year-old Jewish man wearing his kippah in the city’s CBD.
The community member, who reported the incident to Queensland Police, said he was shocked to see the man’s hate-fuelled rage.
“At first, I didn’t realise what he was shouting, but when I looked into his eyes they were filled with hate towards me,” he said.
“I could feel his hatred directed at me right down into my bones. He punched me in the face and then just walked away.”
The attack comes as reports of hatred against Jews in Queensland is increasing and a Parliamentary Inquiry is reviewing hate crime and vilification laws.
Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies vice-president Jason Steinberg said the attack was sickening and evidence the laws needed to be strengthened.
“For this brave father and his son to be subjected to abuse like this on the streets of Brisbane is shocking and deplorable,” he said.
“When Jews in Queensland are being targeted, abused and punched then something must be done as a matter of urgency. The existing laws are clearly not strong enough to deter racist behaviour – the likes of which we are hearing about on a weekly basis in Queensland.”
A spokesperson for Queensland Police said the matter is under investigation and officers have been provided with a description of the alleged attacker.
Anyone with more information has been encouraged to come forward.
The assault comes in the wake of a recent survey which found six out of 10 Jewish Queenslanders reported that they had experienced antisemitism.
“Half were either abused, harassed, intimidated or bullied simply because they are Jewish and, distressingly, many of these incidents occur in the workplace,” Steinberg said.
“Fifteen per cent of Queensland Jews also reported hate-fuelled incidents that related to Israel and/or Zionism,” he added, noting 90 per cent of those who experienced antisemitism stayed silent for reasons such as fearing more racism, believing the police would be unable to take action or “the general feeling that hatred against Jews and Israel is an acceptable sentiment”.