Australia sees 30 percent increase in antisemitic incidents

In one incident, a 12-year-old student in Melbourne was forced by other schoolchildren to kiss the feet of a Muslim fellow student.

Aiia Maasarwe's father Saeed Maasarwe is seen at the vigil for his daughter on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne, Australia, January 18, 2019 (photo credit: AAP IMAGE/STEFAN POSTLES/VIA REUTERS)
Aiia Maasarwe's father Saeed Maasarwe is seen at the vigil for his daughter on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne, Australia, January 18, 2019
(photo credit: AAP IMAGE/STEFAN POSTLES/VIA REUTERS)
There has been a 30 percent increase over the last year in serious antisemitic incidents in Australia involving verbal abuse, harassment, and intimidation, according to the annual Report on Antisemitism in Australia.
There were 368 recorded antisemitic incidents in Australia during the year ending on Sept. 30, 2019, according to the annual report, published by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, or ECAJ.
The incidents were logged by the ECAJ, Jewish community umbrella organizations in each Australian state, and other Jewish community groups, and included physical assaults, abuse and harassment, vandalism, graffiti, hate, and threats communicated directly by email, letters, telephone calls, posters, stickers and leaflets. The total figure is comprised of 225 attacks and 143 threats.
“The overall number of antisemitic incidents continued at, and slightly exceeded, the unusually high number logged during 2018, which saw a 59 percent increase over the previous year,” said Julie Nathan, the ECAJ’s Research Director on Antisemitism.
“Most disturbing were the reported incidents of antisemitic bullying of Jewish schoolchildren at two Victorian public schools, and the manifestly inadequate way in which the schools handled those incidents,” Nathan said.
In one incident, a 12-year-old student in Melbourne was forced by other schoolchildren to kiss the feet of a Muslim fellow student.
“More subtle, but just as concerning, was the spread of calumnies about Jews beneath the cloak of political discourse about Israel,” Nathan also said. “Examples include a university lecturer and the utterly false claim made by a professional teaching body in July that Israel persecutes Arabs because ‘they don’t follow the Jewish religion.’”