‘Pure evil’: Police seize Nazi flag flown near synagogue on Shabbat

Brisbane incident follows weeks of antisemitic incidents across Australia.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Brisbane Jews were shocked to see a Nazi flag flying from an apartment window in the downtown area near their synagogue on Saturday.

“That flag and that symbol, the Nazi swastika symbol, represents one of the most evil moments in human history,” said Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies vice president Jason Steinberg on Saturday. “For that to appear in 2021 in Brisbane over a synagogue is just atrocious.”

Police entered the apartment, seized the flag and issued its owner, a 45-year-old man, a notice to appear for a public nuisance.

The flag renewed Jewish calls for the state of Queensland to ban Nazi symbols.

“The state parliament is reviewing the hate crime legislation as we speak,” Steinberg said. “We called on the banning of the swastika to be displayed and Nazi flags like this because at the moment … it doesn’t breach the serious hate or vilification law.”

The state of Victoria is already in the process of passing legislation to ban the public display of Nazi symbols. That legislation is expected to be completed and passed next year.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner tweeted that the flag was “pure evil” and echoed the call for its ban.

“Under the current inadequate laws, this is likely to be classified as nothing more than a low-level ‘public nuisance’. Not good enough!” he tweeted.

In recent weeks, Australians have seen an uptick in antisemitic vandalism.

Parks in Melbourne and New South Wales were vandalized with swastikas epithets against Jews. A kosher restaurant in Bondi was vandalized with the words, “Free Palestine.” And a video surfaced in mid-October of an Islamist rally in Sydney with the crowd chanting, “Destroy the Jews.” In September, also in Brisbane, a Jewish man was assaulted while walking with his son to synagogue by a man shouting “Heil Hitler.”

COVID-related antisemitism has also made unfortunate headlines in Melbourne.

In August, a hospital worker was fired for posting on Facebook that Jews violating COVID lockdown laws “should be put in a gas chamber.” More recently, vaccine protesters in Melbourne painted the words “Vaxx macht frei” along with swastikas on a traffic barrier.