By Emily Contador-Kelsall
The Jewish Community in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs have faced a rise in anti-Semitism, according to local politicians and community members.
Last week, a white supremacist group distributed flyers into mailboxes around Bondi and Double Bay, attacking Jewish people and urging “White Australia” to “Wake up”.
This rise in anti-Semitism gained widespread attention last month when intoxicated teenagers boarded a school bus and verbally abused students from Jewish schools.
Independent Waverley Councillor Miriam Guttman-Jones, a member of the Jewish Community said she was very disturbed by the increase of anti-Semitism.
“We [the Jewish community] are feeling unsafe here. For many of us, we are seeing the similarities with pre-war Nazi Germany.”
“The recent Gaza conflict with the most blatant biased reporting has caused the negative feelings towards Jews to erupt and now the gloves are off and it is almost acceptable to be openly anti-Semitic in many circles.”
Alex Ryvchin, Public Affairs Director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry said this incident was not isolated but the product of a time of increasing vilification of Jewish Australians, a cause of considerable concern to the community.
“These flyers had nothing to do with engaging in debate. They were an attack on people’s humanity and dignity. These leaflets were not intended to persuade. They were intended to be hurtful and threatening. They attacked their targets because of the targets’ national origin. You can change your opinions and ideas but you cannot change your national origin. “
The anti-Semitic flyers have been condemned by federal politicians as well. Malcolm Turnbull said the anti-Semitic leaflets distributed in Bondi were a crude and vicious attempt to intimidate and insult the Jewish community.
“The leaflets and those responsible for them should be condemned for this hateful and un-Australian behaviour. “
Cr Guttman-Jones said these incidents were very damaging to the Jewish Community and that Waverley Council was concerned about these anti-Semitic incidences.
Security has increased across Jewish schools and Synagogues in the light of recent incidents.
“We are also having to increase security for our schools and Synagogues. Many are too afraid to admit that they are Jewish in a non-Jewish setting,” said Cr Guttman-Jones.
Mr Ryvchin said: “We have seen attacks on schoolchildren, a violent assault on a Jew in Melbourne and racist graffiti painted on Synagogues, schools and university campuses throughout the country. We have seen an increase in anti-Jewish content on social media and at an anti-Israel rallies. “