Pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrate against the visit to Australia by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Sydney on February 23, 2017.
(photo credit: WILLIAM WEST/AFP)
According to a report released by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry on Sunday, antisemitic acts have increased by nearly 10% in the last year, largely at the hands of one newly-formed pro-Nazi group.
Antipodean Resistance, a white supremacist group formed in October 2016, has called for executions of Jews and homosexuals, and their increasing presence - growing from a Melbourne-based organization to national representation - has been a cause for concern for Australian Jews. Right-wing extremist groups like Antipodean Resistance - and not religious groups - were named as the chief offenders in antisemitic assaults between September 2016 and September 2017.
The report includes three instances of physical confrontations, including one in which a Jewish student riding on a public bus was spat on and beaten after being asked, "Where are your striped pajamas?'' The bulk of the incidents that were recorded were assaults, many of which were verbal, with individuals favoring phrases like ''F****ing Jews," ''F*** you Jews," and, quite often, simply "Jew.''
Some Australian antisemites preferred to write down their racist epithets, often doing so in the form of swastikas, or, on occasion, in threatening emails. One offender wrote to a Jewish media organization that ''the Jew is the demon behind the corruption of mankind,'' while another termed Jews ''pit vipers.''
Some incidents, though by no means a majority, specifically mentioned Israel or Israeli individuals, or related to the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians.
Posters displaying antisemitic or pro-Nazi themes popped up across the nation, especially on college campuses. Messages of blood libel, caricatures of Jews with oversized noses and leering expressions, Holocaust denial, and phrases like ''Reject Jewish poison" and ''Legalise the Execution of Jews'' were common.
The report, which has been produced annually since 1990, also includes sections on antisemitism in the media, politics and on social media channels. While it encompasses scores of attacks and assaults, the ECJA does note that a trend in underreporting of such incidents means that not every instance may be included in the report.