Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus
I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Jeremy Jones. Jeremy devoted his life to the Australian Jewish community, and to fighting antisemitism and racism, most notably in the landmark Racial Discrimination Act case against a notorious Holocaust denier.
Jeremy was dedicated to inter-communal harmony and in 2007 he was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal. My deepest condolence to his wife wife Naomi and children Gidon and Galit.
Federal Parliamentary Friends of Israel chair Senator Deborah O’Neill (speech made in the Senate chamber)
Jeremy Jones [was] righteous man who was a faithful servant to his Jewish community here in Australia for more than four decades and a lifelong friend of Israel. Sadly, he passed away on Wednesday night this week, after a battle with cancer. Jones was the director of international and community affairs at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, AIJAC, and a former president and life member of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. He dedicated much of his work to promoting interfaith dialogue and was a renowned expert on antisemitism. In 2002 he won a landmark case against Fredrick Toben, proving that holocaust denial is a form of antisemitism, which resulted in a world-first order from the High Court that the content on Tobin’s website must be taken down. Toben was later imprisoned for contempt.
Jones was a firm believer in establishing dialogue and affairs between individuals and groups of different faiths. He was the first Australian to serve on the board of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, an organisation that represents world Jewry in dialogue with the Vatican, the World Council of Churches and the Muslim World League.
Jeremy also brought to all his affairs a deep sense of humility, virtue and the inalienable rights of people. He was known to make a habit of wearing kippot and ties decorated with Indigenous artwork, demonstrating his solidarity with the First Nations people of Australia while also pointing to how his Judaism enlightened his compassion towards humanity. This advocacy did not go unnoticed, with Jeremy being awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal in 2007 and the prestigious Stepan Kerkyasharian AO Medal for Community Harmony in 2016.
In my role as chair of the parliamentary friends of Israel group, I personally interacted with Jeremy in my visits to Israel. I found him to be a kind, incredibly thoughtful, and gentle man who was a proud member of his community.
To the Jones family, I say, in the Jewish tradition: I wish you a long life. We have lost a titan of the community. Jeremy Jones will be sorely missed. May his memory be a blessing.
NSW Premier Chris Minns
On behalf of the NSW Government, and with great sadness, I extend my deepest condolences to not only the Jewish community, but to all Australians on the passing of Jeremy Jones AM, the Australia Israel & Jewish Affairs Council’s Director of International and Community Affairs.
His was a lifetime of extraordinary commitment to interfaith relations, community harmony, and service. Jeremy’s infectious enthusiasm and optimism, and his principled determination, were an inspiration to so many. His efforts have had a tangible and lasting impact on community cohesion in NSW, Australia, and globally. Jeremy leaves behind a loving family and a tremendous legacy, and he will be missed by us all.
Member for Macnamara Josh Burns
Jeremy Jones was a true mensch. He was always courteous, knowledgeable and acted only with the Jewish Community’s best interest at heart. As a community leader he was always a source of wise advice that I frequently benefited from.
Jeremy led our community with distinction and we owe him much gratitude for his decades of service. Jeremy was respected and admired by people from all different backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. He will be sadly missed.
Member for Berowra Julian Leeser
Jeremy Jones was a lion of our community. He held every imaginable community office except president of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.
Throughout his life he stood up for our community, stood up for the State of Israel and stood against anti-Semitism and racism in all its forms.
Jeremy’s courage in being the plaintiff in the Jones v Tobin case, where he took on a Holocaust denier and won was a signature moment. He was widely respected across the political spectrum and his loss will be keenly felt.
May his memory be a blessing.
Susan Carter MLC (NSW)
Jeremy Jones was the rarest, and best, of leaders. He lead not just by position, but by example. He was a committed Jew, a committed Australian, and a genuinely good man. He showed us by his professional life, and also by his personal life, how we can all live best together – with understanding and respect. He was a leader in interfaith dialogue, because he understood the importance and the power of faith, and he lived his faith daily.
Jeremy had a tremendous intellect, read widely, and was a pleasure to spend time with because of his sparkling conversation. He was a serious man, who thought deeply about serious issues, but was not simply an intellectual. He truly valued all those people he was with, was able to connect with them personally, and rare among intellectuals, could communicate his ideas widely and well to a range of different audiences. He had a huge impact on all of his audiences because of his erudition, and his ability to explain so clearly all of his thoughts.
I had the privilege to meet Jeremy Jones at University, where we were both involved in student politics – usually on different sides, but occasionally on a unity ticket. I have valued his friendship ever since. I will miss you my friend – I will miss your intellectual challenge, and your smile.
May his faith be a consolation to Naomi, Gidon and Galit, and to all who will mourn him.
Member for Cook Scott Morrison
Very sorry to hear of Jeremy’s passing. He was a faithful and dedicated advocate for the Jewish community. My sincere condolences to his family and friends and the broader community.
Mike Kelly, former federal MP
This is utterly devastating news. I feel like I have lost a member of my own family. Jeremy has been such a close friend over so many years and a truly valuable and committed warrior in the key battles for Israel and enhancing the health of our own society. He will be greatly missed and leaves a legacy of inspiration and obligation for us to fill the void he leaves.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC)
American Jewish Committee mourns the death of our AIJAC partner, Jeremy Jones, and extends condolences to his family and Australian Jewry. Jeremy was a giant on behalf of the Jewish people in combating antisemitism, supporting the State of Israel, and expanding our circle of friends through inter-religious and intergroup relations. Above all, Jeremy was a mensch.
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council national chairman Mark Leibler and executive director Colin Rubenstein
Everyone at AIJAC is utterly devastated by the passing today of our beloved, and widely admired and respected, colleague Jeremy Jones, after an extended illness which he fought with great courage.
Jeremy has been an essential and irreplaceable part of AIJAC for some three decades, ever since he was the founding head of our Sydney office in 1993 – an office he has steered with such distinction and determination ever since. AIJAC is proud to have also helped facilitate Jeremy’s ability over those years to assume numerous other public service roles across the wider Jewish community, multi-faith and multicultural Australia, in our national public life, and even the international arena – to the benefit of everyone who had the pleasure of working with him, including of course AIJAC.
Jeremy always brought an extraordinary level of knowledge and insight about Judaism, public life in Australia, philosophy and morality, and human nature into his work for AIJAC, for which we will always be grateful. He also had a personal warmth, a kindness for those in need, an eagerness to teach and debate, and a wicked wit, all of which will be profoundly missed by everyone that worked with or knew him.
He was a one-man rolodex and intelligence agency, who knew almost every person of importance in Australian politics, religious communities, the media and other areas of public life – and was almost universally liked and respected. His interfaith work, and personal warmth, also won him hundreds of friends, admirers and colleagues overseas – including in the most unlikely places.
We take some comfort from the immense legacy of service to the Australian Jewish community, to interfaith dialogue and to Australian society, that Jeremy leaves behind. It is a legacy built up through decades of hard work, dedication, integrity and inspirational leadership, and will continue to have a positive impact for decades to come.
We extend our deepest and most sincere condolences to Jeremy’s family members on their terrible loss.
Deeply saddened by the passing of our colleague, friend and, often, mentor, we can only fall back on Jewish tradition and say: May His Memory be a Blessing.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim
For more than four decades, Jeremy was a faithful servant of the Australian Jewish community and a consummate professional. There is hardly any area of Jewish communal life that did not benefit in some way from his expertise and dedication, and he worked in a range of key communal organisations. He was a former President and Honorary Life Member of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).
He had a special passion for building relationships with other faith and ethnic communities and won over many friends, both personally and communally. He was the first Australian to serve on the Board of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (the Jewish worlds interlocutor with the Vatican, World Council of Churches and World Muslim League) and was the Chair of Interfaith Dialogues representing the ECAJ nationally.
Jeremy was also a fearless opponent of antisemitism and indeed all forms of racism. He was a long-standing advocate of recognition and rights for First Nations Australians, and made a point of wearing kippot and ties decorated with indigenous artwork.
Jeremy’s work in promoting inter-communal harmony was officially acknowledged in 2007 when he was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal, and again in 2016 when he was awarded New South Wales’ most prestigious honour, The Stepan Kerkyasharian AO Medal for Community Harmony. He was also made a Member of the Order of Australia.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Stephen Rothman and I had the honour to represent Jeremy in a legal capacity in some long-running litigation which he pursued in the Federal Court on behalf of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry against two well-known antisemites. Both cases were won, and both defendants were effectively put out of business, but the strain took its toll on Jeremy work-wise and emotionally.
Jeremy’s untimely passing is sad news for all of us. He leaves a legacy that will serve as an example to the next generation of Jewish communal activists.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife Naomi, the whole Jones family and all those whose lives Jeremy touched. May his memory be a blessing.
Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler
The Zionist Federation of Australia leadership and staff joins the entire Australian Jewish community in mourning the untimely death of Jeremy Jones, a committed and passionate Australian Jewish leader.
For decades, he served as a lay leader and professional in an incredible number of Jewish and interfaith organisations. His interfaith work went hand-in-hand with his unstinting fight against antisemitism, including his famous—and victorious—Federal Court battles.
His promotion of reconciliation with Australia’s Indigenous community predated most of the community and signalled his principled commitment to human rights and equality.
His warmth, his desire to connect, and his passion for his country, his community and for Israel will long be remembered.
I recall the first time I met Jeremy, at an AUJS seminar in Canberra. From that time on, I was always so impressed at the way he could engage and inspire, and was always able to place himself above politics to pursue what was in the best interests of the Jewish community.
Australia has lost a giant, and the Australian Jewish community is poorer for his passing. The ZFA extends its heartfelt condolences to his wife Naomi and their children.
The Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS)
Our hearts are broken to hear of the passing of Jeremy Jones AM this past week. During his time as a student, Jeremy was an active AUJS member and throughout his life as a community leader he remained a mentor for AUJS students. First and foremost for many current and former AUJS members, he was a friend.
At our Annual General Meeting today we passed a motion recognising Jeremy as a honorary life member for his contributions to AUJS and our community for decades. This assembly of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students:
- Is deeply saddened by the passing of former AUJS leader and community giant Jeremy Jones AM
- Recognises Jeremy’s leadership in the community links back to his time in AUJS where he was an active executive member at the University of Sydney, and served as National Political Affairs officer. He was incredibly involved in student politics, serving on the Australian Union of Students (the predecessor to the National Union of Students) where he advocated for the Jewish community and broader student issues.
- Is inspired by his lifelong commitment to our community, interfaith relations, indigenous reconciliation and combating racism, antisemitism and discrimination in Australia and around the world. For over three decades he dedicated his life to the Jewish community including as Director of International and Community Affairs for AIJAC – Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council , President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry – ECAJ and in numerous roles representing the Australian Jewish Community in interfaith dialogues, conferences on antisemitism and political meetings nationally and internationally.
- Acknowledges that Jeremy was a mentor and inspiration to AUJS leaders for decades; speaking at numerous conferences, assisting with issues on campus, offering a hand of support whenever we needed it and ensuring that Jewish students have a seat at the table.
- Moves that in recognition of his lifelong commitment to AUJS, the Jewish community nationally and internationally and Australian society, Jeremy be honoured as Honorary Life Member of AUJS.
- Commits to continuing and expanding our interfaith work and dialogue on campus in Jeremy’s memory.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president David Ossip
I am deeply saddened by Jeremy’s passing. For close to four decades, Jeremy was a distinguished leader of our community who occupied many formal leadership roles, including as a JBD Deputy for close to three decades and as a long-serving member of the JBD executive. But, beyond any mere titles, Jeremy distinguished himself as a leader of unique standing through his tireless efforts to build bridges with other faith and multicultural communities and his unceasing efforts to confront all forms of racism and discrimination.
Through his service and dedication, Jeremy was instrumental in shaping our community. He was also a generous mentor to younger members of our community and was always available to share his wise counsel and experience. Most importantly, Jeremy was a mentsch par excellence, who treated everyone with respect and decency.
Jeremy’s passing leaves a big void and we will miss him terribly. We wish his family and friends a long life and trust that his name will be a blessing.
Sydney Jewish Museum president Greg Shand
Jeremy worked tirelessly to advance the interests of our community. He regularly brought groups of visitors to the Museum from a range of faiths. He was a very talented member of our community who clearly could have excelled at whatever he chose to do. He chose to represent and advocate for us often under challenging circumstances. His loss will be felt by all of us and our thoughts and wishes are with Naomi and Jeremy’s family.
Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies president Jason Steinberg
Jeremy was a true advocate for our small Jewish community. He was always available to us for advice, ideas, support, and to be a keynote speaker at events. My personal friendship started with Jeremy in the late 1980s and since then he remained a cherished mentor – always there to help, laugh and encourage. Jeremy’s presence, impact and legacy will never be forgotten.
Zionism Victoria president Yossi Goldfarb
Zionism Victoria mourns the passing of a true giant of Australian Jewry – former ECAJ president, AIJAC stalwart, antisemitism activist and interfaith pioneer Jeremy Jones.
Jeremy’s passing is a great loss to our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jeremy’s family. We wish them long life.
Union for Progressive Judaism co-president David Knoll
Mates since uni days, we were the only two dads dropping off our sons at Hillel kindy. And we were mates and colleagues standing up for our Jewish people over four decades ever since.
Shalom wishes to acknowledge the untimely passing of respected community leader, Jeremy Jones.
Jones’ contribution to the Sydney, Australian and global Jewish communities was immeasurable, and his impact spanned many facets. Well-regarded for being a world-leading expert on antisemitism, a proponent of interfaith dialogue, and an advocate for indigenous rights, he was also a deeply respected mentor and friend to many younger leaders of the Jewish community.
Jones had a long-standing association with Shalom, having presented at the very first Limmud Oz in 1999, and speaking at almost every Limmud since. Most recently he attended Shalom’s 50th anniversary celebrations in March and enjoyed catching up with many old friends and colleagues.
Shalom mourns the loss of this community stalwart, dedicated colleague and sought-after commentator, thinker and speaker on matters spanning Judaism, politics and reconciliation. It was a privilege to have him represent our community and to uphold so many causes with the aim of improving society for all its members.
As Jeremy wrote – “Indifference to the problems that confront society is, in Jewish teaching, an unforgivable sin.”
We wish his wife Naomi, children Gidon and Galit, and the extended Jones family long life. May his memory be a blessing.
Australian Friends of the Hebrew University CEO Rob Schneider
We have all been moved by the many tributes to community stalwart, Jeremy Jones z”l but for me, I have lost a special friend who shared my love of nature especially of the sun and the sand – his amazing sunrise photos bear testimony to this. Of course I knew Jeremy through our communal involvements but I only really got to know him through our daily pre-dawn beach walks which sadly came to an end when his illness prevented him from walking on the uneven sand. I used to speak to Jeremy regularly but our Friday mornings were always special when we wished each other Shabbat shalom. Who would have imagined that Friday, September 1 would be our last Shabbat call. Prior to that and indeed following my return from Brisbane a few days before his passing, when I walked the beach, all I could see were images of Jeremy walking down from the car park to join me – I generally got to the beach before him. I looked towards the rocks at the southern end where he loved to position himself to capture the sunrise and I remembered how on the eve of a Rabbitohs game he would come down to the beach with his Rabbitohs scarf, cap and T-shirt – he really loved them!
And then there were the birds! He loved capturing a sea vista but with a bird or more in view. And the sunrises! Wow, did he capture the best photos and then there was the moon! Full moon and new moon, Jeremy had to get the best shots in various positions – above a pine tree, above the pavilion and a classic shot above the clock of Hotel Bondi so you could see the exact time the shot was taken! And when I was away, despite posting his best shots on his Facebook page, he would still send them to me! These photos feature on my digital photo frame – a record of nature’s beauty captured by Jeremy and shared and loved by the two of us – a constant reminder of good times spent together and of a dear friend taken too soon.
Jeremy was a friend in a million – knowledgeable in virtually every area, kind, caring, considerate and witty. We talked about anything and everything and I always left him having gained newfound pearls of knowledge and wisdom. My beach walks haven’t been the same since Jeremy took ill and I always hoped he would be back and so did he. He had an indomitable spirit and was courageous and optimistic right to the end.
The community has lost a great treasure and Australia a precious son, but I have lost a special and very dear friend whose likes we shall not see again. RIP my dear friend and my heartfelt condolences to your family, work colleagues and to all who knew you and loved you. You are sorely missed but your memory and life will always inspire me.
Former NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff
I had the honour of working with Jeremy for three decades, from my AJN career to the JBD. He was a towering intellect who possessed an extraordinary knowledge of Jewish issues, both globally and domestically. And that’s before talking about his peerless work in the interfaith space. My deepest condolences to the Jones family.
Nur Munir, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Indonesia
About thirteen years between 2011 and 2023 I have a lot of personal experience on living encounters directly and long distance with my good friend, Jeremy Jones, both cultural and psychological ties. Too much and immeasurable knowledge he had imparted on me. Laughing, cross cultural encounters, noble teachings, and many more.
I must record with heartfelt salute and respects of Jeremy’s tireless efforts to make any endeavours hand in hand with other peoples who, for the world be better place to live peacefully side by side among humanity with variety of cultural backgrounds.
The world of interfaith living peacefully is deeply indebted by Jeremy’s noble works, as he devoted most of his life on it.
Along his life, Jeremy does not stop giving to others. Sharing notes telling on his whereabouts. Sending words of congratulatory and pray for friends including me on many occasions.
I cannot believe that Jeremy has gone. He is not merely a friend, but also living teacher and educator. I hold a lot from him. I am expressing my heartfelt thanks to Jeremy Jones for everything he imparted on me, a good life example.