FLYERS claiming the motives behind the St Ives eruv are the establishment of a “modern version of the ghetto under rabbinical control” and the “eventual expulsion of secular people” have been condemned as “one of the worst examples of anti-Semitic literature we’ve seen in Sydney in a very long time”.
The leaflet, produced and distributed by the St Ives Progress Association (SIPA), argues that the motivation to build an eruv “has very little to do with the stated purpose of enabling ‘carrying’ on the Sabbath, or mothers pushing a pram, as is so often stated.
“It has much more to do with establishing a modern version of the ghetto under rabbinical control.”
It goes on to say, “The downstream long-term consequence of an eruv establishment is the division of the community and eventual expulsion of secular people who live within the eruv and who want nothing to do with it.”
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff condemned the flyer as “textbook anti-Semitism and one of the worst examples of anti-Semitic literature we’ve seen in Sydney in a very long time”.
“It makes baseless statements which can have no purpose other than to stir up animosity towards residents who have been living there for decades,” Alhadeff said.
“The issue is simple. An eruv has been functioning in St Ives for 18 months without disrupting anyone’s lives. It’s about Australians doing what Australians do best – live and let live, a fair go for all. It’s time to move on.”
Speaking to The AJN this week, Member for Ku-ring-gai Alister Henskens said he regrets that the community discussion with regard to the eruv is “losing its civility”.
“A scare campaign suggesting a long-term Jewish agenda to take over St Ives is entirely irrational,” Henskens said.
“The eruv has a community impact which is less than Christian church bells or the Islamic call to prayer both of which are widely tolerated.”
Member for Davidson Jonathan O’Dea said the material in the leaflet is “disturbing to read” and “highly inaccurate”.
“While I respect the right of others to appropriately express a range of views as part of Council’s proper assessment process, I have previously indicated a personal view that the eruv is harmless and innocuous, with minimal impact,” O’Dea said.
“Assessment of the eruv should not be based on the ethnicity, religion or race of those supporting it – only legitimate planning and environmental considerations.
“I hope the community will see through any inappropriate tactics.”
Ku-ring-gai Deputy Mayor David Ossip described the leaflet as “hateful, intellectually dishonest and grossly offensive”.
Noting that “feelings are running high on this issue”, Ku-ring-gai Mayor Cheryl Szatow said, “I would ask that all members of the community with an interest in the eruv understand each other’s point of view and that there is an approval process to go through which the Council is following.”
She added: “I deplore intolerance of any kind.”
The AJN asked St Ives Ward Councillor Christiane Berlioz, former president of SIPA, if she would condemn the leaflet, but she refused.
SIPA chairman Kevin Callinan did not return calls to The AJN.
An application for plastic conduits on power poles in St Ives to create an eruv was submitted last month. Council is expected to make a decision by late October.