SYDNEY, Australia (Aug. 20)
A Sydney magistrate has found a supporter of David Palmer, the self-appointed “fuhrer of Australia,” guilty of assaulting a Jewish student who had objected to a pro-Nazi meeting taking place here.
The assault took place after the 21-year-old student, whose name was suppressed by the court, interrupted a speech by Palmer by saying: “Australians died so that the Nazi flag would not be raised in this country. How dare you raise it now!”
Simon Lain, a 43-year-old invalid pensioner with a long involvement with neo-Nazi organizations, called the student a “dirty Jew boy” and tried to grab the student’s camera. During the assault, the student was kicked in the upper groin.
Lain was fined the equivalent of $365 for the criminal assault.
The incident took place in Sydney’s Domain, a public park between the New South Wales Art Gallery and the State Parliament House. The park is modeled on London’s Hyde Park Corner, which on Sunday afternoons houses an open forum for any member of the public who wishes to speak on any subject.
Palmer included denials of the Holocaust in his speech.
He and Robert Leys, a former taxi driver who was stripped of his license for refusing to accept Australian Aborigines as passengers, testified on behalf of Lain in court. They alleged that it was “a typical tactic” of people of “Jewish extraction” to attack people who were defending Hitler publicly.
Lain and his supporters claimed that the student, of slight build and standing 5 feet 6 inches, had attacked the burly Lain. But the magistrate noted that Lain had run quickly from the scene of the assault, adding to the belief that he had been conscious of his guilt.
Robert Klarnet, public affairs director for the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “My community is gratified that Lain was found guilty of what was in fact a blatant, racially based physical assault.
“The incident highlighted the highly provocative and offensive nature of this particular cell of Nazis, who parade in full Nazi uniform and harangue audiences from a platform flanked by swastika flags. The community is examining all means available to it to have this type of grossly offensive behavior stopped.”