Sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Australia over past year

Australian Jewry has recorded a 10 percent increase of anti-Semitic incidents in 2016, saying the government must act against this worrying trend. 

Recorded incidents of anti-Semitism in Australia rose by 10 percent over the past year, according to the annual Report on Antisemitism in Australia published by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) last week.

The annual Report on Anti-Semitism in Australia, which covers the period of October 2015 to September 2016, lists a total of 210 incidents, of which 84 involved abuse, harassment and intimidation. In the preceding 12 months, 190 incidents were recorded.

Physical assaults and abuse of Jews comprised 45 percent of the incidents. These included incidents where Jews were punched and kicked.

The report has detailed comments published in both mainstream and social media, especially on Facebook, demonstrating a rising problem.

“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.

The report also noted an increase in vandalism, graffiti, hate emails and anti-Semitic leaflets. There was a decrease in face-to-face verbal abuse or harassment of Jews, although “the frequency of this type of incident tends to fluctuate from year to year,” said Nathan.

Although Australia remains a stable, vibrant and tolerant democracy, where Jews face no official discrimination and are free to observe their faith and traditions, anti-Semitism persists, the report said. There are segments of Australian society which are not only hostile towards Jews, but actively and publicly express that hatred with words and with threatened or actual violent acts. As a result, and by necessity, physical security remains a prime concern for the Jewish community.

“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,” Nathan said.

“For a diverse society such as Australia’s to be socially cohesive, it is imperative that those in positions of influence within Australia publicly condemn antisemitism and other forms of racism, and support legal and other measures to counter all forms of racism,” the ECAJ stated.

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By: World Israel News Staff