Australians United Against Antisemitism

"But there will be no peace in the Middle East while the Palestinian cause is championed by terrorists – by Hamas and Hezbollah," says Scott Morrison.

The Australians United Against Antisemitism rally. Photo: SB Creatives Photography
The Australians United Against Antisemitism rally. Photo: SB Creatives Photography

Leading up to last Sunday’s 12,000-strong Christian-led ‘Australians United Against Antisemitism’ rally in Sydney’s Domain, Freya Leach – the daughter of emcee and co-organiser, Anglican senior minister Mark Leach – described its aim as an opportunity “to hug the Jewish community”.

And what a powerful mass embrace it turned out to be, moving many to tears, as 11 guest speakers – including Scott Morrison, Jacqui Lambie and Nyunggai Warren Mundine – expressed heartfelt solidarity with Jewish Australians, while taking aim at contributors to the unprecedented rise of antisemitism experienced on our shores since October 7, describing their actions as “un-Australian”.

Beginning by repeatedly reciting the words ‘October 7’, Morrison reflected on his visit to Kfar Aza in November with former British prime minister Boris Johnston, “to bear witness to the atrocities [committed by Hamas] there”, and stressed, “I’m saying this because there are many who want to forget October 7.

“But there will be no peace in the Middle East while the Palestinian cause is championed by terrorists – by Hamas and Hezbollah – and by those who, in support of this cause, are prepared to make excuses for terrorists and to engage in acts of antisemitism.”

Morrison lamented how since October 7, “in your greatest need, as Jewish Australians, sadly instead of finding consolation, on too many occasions you found isolation, and even abandonment and persecution”.

“I cannot begin to understand your sorrow, so let me simply offer you, with fellow Christians who are here today, to embrace you with love, with respect, with appreciation, and in fellowship and friendship.”

Echoing the rally’s catchcry of ‘Push back the hate, mate!’, Mundine expressed his horror that just two days after October 7, “people had gathered at the Sydney Opera House steps, shouting ‘F**k the Jews’, how witnesses had heard chants of ‘gas the Jews’, and ‘from the river to the sea’, which implies the same stuff.”

“I’m a massive supporter of the police, but watching [on television] the police stand there, and do nothing, nearly broke me,” he said.

“Anyone who has looked at history for a mere second, knows that when a society tolerates an angry mob chanting against Jews, it will take that society down an ugly and destructive path.

“To my Jewish brothers and sisters gathering here today, I will be there for you, through thick and thin.”

Lambie, in her trademark direct style, generated rousing applause when she said, “Every Australian has the right to protest, but yelling out hate speech, sending anonymous hate mail, intimidating Australian children, and publishing the names and personal details of Australians online, without their permission, isn’t peaceful or brave – it’s an act of cowardice, it is hateful and it does not belong in this country!”

Former deputy PM John Anderson said, “All of you people in academia who say that the greatest problem in the world today is racism, and then ignore the oldest and ugliest racism of all [antisemitism] . . . walk a mile in people’s shoes, and understand why the Jews feel as they do, and why they are resolved and determined to preserve their homeland”.

He also called for “some effective political leadership in this country, because there hasn’t been enough, and from the top.”

Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) CEO Michelle Pearse revealed that 11,000 have so far signed an ACL petition to stand against hate in Australia, while dean of St Andrews Cathedral, Reverend Sandy Grant, recited a statement penned by Archbishop of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel, in which he urged “all people, whether they adhere to a faith or not, to reject antisemitism in all its forms”.

Other guest speakers calling out antisemitism, and expressing solidarity with the Jewish community, included Senator Hollie Hughes, exiled Iranian Australian community leader Daniel Taghaddos, Labor Friends of Israel and former NSW treasurer Eric Roozendaal, and Berowra MP Julian Leeser.

Leeser said that whether it is antisemitism in which “Greens parliamentarians think Jews have tentacles” or doxxing attacks against Jewish people, or hostility to Jewish people on university campuses that “is so bad that people aren’t showing up to class”, he concluded “this is not the Australia that I know and love, but today gives me hope.”

Mark Leach said the rally was borne out of a need “to get out and mobilise the Christians to stand with the Jewish community, and to stand against hate – so thank you all for being here”.

“This event is just the beginning – we’re going to go in all the state capital cities.”

Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said of the rally – organised by Never Again Is Now – that “the solidarity of our fellow Australians means so much to us”.

For more information about upcoming Australians United Against Antisemitism rallies, visit neveragainisnow.com.au

read more: