Report: Rise in Anti-Semitism Troubling Australia’s Jews

In this photo taken on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, Jose Oulman Bensaude Carp, President of the Jewish community in Lisbon, waits to be interviewed by The Associated Press at the main Jewish synagogue in Lisbon. Portugal is following Spain and granting citizenship rights to the descendants of Jews it persecuted …
AP/Francisco Seco

Australia has seen an increase of almost 10 percent in incidents against Jews over the past year, and almost 20 percent over the past two years, according to a report released Sunday.

The annual Report on Antisemitism in Australia is published annually by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), the peak representative body for Australian Jews. The latest edition shows Jewish community groups logged a total of 210 antisemitic incidents during the period, including physical assaults, abuse and harassment, vandalism, graffiti, hate and threats communicated directly by email, letters, telephone calls, and leaflets.

This compares to a total of 190 such incidents logged by the same sources over the preceding 12 month period.

“There was a marked increase in the form of assault known as ‘egging’ – targeting and assaulting Jews by throwing eggs at them. Eggings occurred predominantly as Jews walked to and from synagogue on Friday evenings and Saturdays in Melbourne,” said the report’s author, ECAJ Research Officer, Julie Nathan.

Nathan added that anti-Semitic attitudes are entrenched “in western and Muslim culture” requiring Jewish communities to act to protect themselves and their places of worship.

The Jewish community is the only community within Australia whose places of worship, schools, communal organisations and community centres need, for security reasons, to operate under the protection of high fences, armed guards, metal detectors, CCTV cameras and the like.

The necessity is recognised by Australia’s law enforcement agencies and arises from the entrenched and protean nature of antisemitism in western and Muslim culture, resulting in a high incidence of physical attacks against Jews and Jewish communal buildings over the last three decades, and continuing threats.

As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, as recently as last August Jewish leaders in Australia’s biggest city reacted with dismay after a court rejected their application to build a new synagogue on the grounds that it could become a terrorist target.

The temple was destined for a piece of land just a short walk from Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach but nearby residents complained that its presence might draw a terror attack. Inspectors from Waverly Council, which was tasked with the initial approval process, agreed.

They pointed to the synagogue’s own design, which included setback buildings and blast walls, as evidence that an attack could be anticipated.

In the same month, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that a selection of high schools in the Victoria state capital of Melbourne were targeted by neo-Nazi groups and had anti-Semitic flyers distributed across their campuses.

Three schools were hit by at least 60 posters (pictured). Some fliers exhorted anti-immigration messages while others called to legalize the killing of Jews. They also encouraged supporters to “join your local Nazi group.”

The rise in anti-Semitic incidents reported in Australia mirrors that being found in Western Europe where individuals of Muslim background stand out among perpetrators of violence, according to a report by the University of Oslo Center for Research on Extremism.

The next highest offending group was found to be left-wing extremists.

That survey, released in June,  is titled Antisemitic Violence in Europe, 2005-2015, Exposure and Perpetrators in France, UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Russia. It looked at the rate of anti-Semitic attacks in a range of countries, finding  Jews’ exposure to anti-Semitic violence appears to have been highest in France in the period surveyed, lower in Sweden and Germany, and lowest in the United Kingdom.

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