Australian Study Finds Spike in anti-Semitic Incidents Down Under

'I don’t feel safe in Australia,' rabbi tells NYT, as study by local Jewish community details uptick in anti-Semitic incidents

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Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.
Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Credit: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

A report by Australia's Jewish community detailed rising anti-Semitism in the country, with an uptick of up to twenty percent reported in the past two years, according to the New York Times.  

 “For the first time in my life, I don’t feel safe in Australia,” Rabbi Shmueli Feldman of Canberra, told the New York Times.

Feldman, who according to the report is a fourth-generation Australian, told the paper that he is no stranger to anti-Semitic incidents: He has been egged; rocks, chairs, and a security camera have been thrown through the window of the local Jewish center; and, in October, a car with four teenagers inside swerved in front of him and cursed Jews before speeding off.

“I have little children who don’t feel safe playing outside. They’ve already seen too much,” he said, adding that last May, he reported to police that swastikas were drawn in a park near his synagogue, but the swastikas weren't removed until August.

Rabbi Feldman's increasingly frequent encounters with anti-Semitism in Australia are not uncommon ones, as an Executive Council of Australian Jewry report released Sunday found that anti-Semitic, racially motivated attacks against Jews this year are up almost 20 percent from the past two years.

The Australian Jewish council, which represents about 200 Jewish groups, logged 230 instances of anti-Semitism from October 2017 to September of this year. The incidents ranged from street violence to the distribution of anti-Semitic pamphlets preaching extremism.

The council is particularly worried about far-right activists, whose rhetoric is beginning to single out Jews. It cited an Australian far-right group formed last year and called Antipodean Resistance. The group, the report said, put up posters calling for Australis to make executing Jews legal.

"It was like an avalanche," Julie Nathan told the paper, remembering the day the posters were plastered over Australia. “That day, the reports of sightings came in early in the morning, and kept coming."

A second study cited by the New York Times done by the Western Sydney University found that, in 2015 and 2016, 80 percent of Australians thought multiculturalism was a good thing- and the same amount said racism existed in Australia.

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