A GROUP of Jewish school students threatened with a knife by a man stating, “I will remember your faces”; a synagogue staff member receiving an email warning, “Someone asked me to kill you”; and Jews attacked with eggs, cans and bottles as they walked on the street.
These are some of the 451 instances of antisemitic behaviour in Australia reported to the Community Security Group (CSG) last year, revealed in a new report released last week which saw a 24 per cent increase in reported incidents from 2018.
The report, authored by CSG NSW in consultation with other CSGs across Australia, found the worst state for antisemitic abuse in the country was NSW, with a staggering 286 incidents (63 per cent).
This was followed by 127 incidents in Victoria, 18 in Queensland, 16 in Western Australia and four in the ACT.
While there were no incidents reported to CSG in South Australia, Tasmania or the Northern Territory, the group warned it is “highly likely that there is significant under-reporting of antisemitic incidents to CSG and law enforcement in Australia”.
“As a result, the number of antisemitic incidents is likely to be higher than recorded in this report,” the study said.
In addition to the 451 antisemitic incidents, a further 617 incidents of suspicious activity were reported.
The report found 49 per cent of incidents took place during a Jewish festival period or Shabbat.
Notably, 21 per cent of incidents took place during the High Holy Days. The average number of antisemitic incidents every month in 2019 was 38.
Extreme right discourse was reported in 170 antisemitic incidents, constituting 40 per cent of the total incidents reported, and signalling a 42 per cent increase compared to the 71 incidents containing far-right discourse in 2018. This includes neo-Nazi discourse or symbology such as Sieg Heil gestures and swastika graffiti.
Among the most severe cases was a 12-year-old Jewish student physically and verbally abused at a Victorian public school, where he was punched in the face, had skin gouged out of his shoulder, and was bruised on the whole left side of his back, requiring hospital treatment for his injuries.
During the attack, the offender shouted that the boy was a “cooked up Jewish c**t”. The same boy was forced to kiss the feet of a Muslim student, as reported by The AJN last October.
Other major incidents included a threat to conduct a shooting at Sydney’s Central Synagogue last April; a bottle of alcohol thrown at an identifiably Jewish family walking home from synagogue in Melbourne last February; threats to bomb and burn down synagogues; and a Jewish organisation in Sydney receiving an email last March stating, “Me and my friends already purchased 6 automatic rifles, we plan to kill hundreds of Jewish students on the eve of Purim.”
CSG NSW head of security Matthew Meyerson said, “As the threat environment continues to evolve, CSG’s role in the provision of security protection to the Australian Jewish community remains essential.”
He added, “We would like to remind you of the importance of reporting. If you experience or see an antisemitic incident, or see something suspicious or that seems out of place or concerning, report it to us. Don’t assume that someone else has reported it.”
CSG: 1300 000 274