Martin Place was packed with people last Sunday morning for United with Israel’s latest #BringThemHomeNow rally, which for the first time included a “March Against Antisemitism” component.
Among the most impactful speakers on that theme was the University of Sydney Conservative Club’s president Freya Leach – a passionate advocate for Israel among young non-Jewish Australians.
Noting the “disturbing and unprecedented rise in antisemitism in our country”, Leach said it was important to expose “the groups of people that are fundamentally behind a lot of the [pro-Palestine] protests that we are seeing”, mentioning the Socialist Alternative in particular.
“I asked these people – the socialists, the Greens, the radical left – why do you claim to stand for peace, but then celebrate the actions of a terrorist organisation, as justified resistance?
“To the Jewish community, I want to say, my heart is breaking for what you are having to go through.
“There are so many ordinary Australians standing with you.”
Senator Andrew Bragg said he is shocked at the antisemitic wave witnessed in Sydney and Melbourne in recent months, adding, “I cannot believe that the laws of our state, in relation to incitement, have not been properly enforced.
“That has been hugely disappointing to so many people who don’t feel safe.”
Former NSW treasurer Eric Roozendaal called out “the deceitful practice of hiding antisemitism under the cloak of anti-Zionism”.
“Antisemitism strengthens in every moment of silence,” Roozendaal said.
“I say to our non-Jewish friends who have come out in support today, thank you for your solidarity, and to our Jewish community, be loud and be proud.”
Wentworth MP Allegra Spender said, “This antisemitism, and the extremists promoting it, is not just a problem for the Jewish community, but for the whole of Australia.
“We need to reach out to each other, and stand up against antisemitism and racism.”
The rally was attended by people of many faiths, including a spokesperson from the Australian branch of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem – who recited a prayer – and Indigenous leader Warren Mundine.