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Anti-semitism in Australia Recorded at Highest Levels Ever

Anti-Semitic incidents against Australian Jews have reached record highs, according to a new report.

For the year ended Sept. 30, the Australian Jewish community recorded more than 30 reports per month of such incidents directed at Jewish community members and communal institutions.

The report, prepared by the incoming president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Jeremy Jones, noted that incidents of assault, arson and vandalism took place at a rate of more than 60 percent above the average in past years, and more than 10 percent above the previous record year.

The incidents included:

a series of firebomb attacks at a synagogue and community center, including one firebombing while people were on the premises;

assaults on young Jewish men, one of which resulted in the victim’s requiring serious surgery;

gasoline bombs thrown into the homes of Jewish religious leaders;

the smashing of windows at synagogues and other communal institutions;

vandalism at Jewish homes and communal offices; and

repeated occasions on which people on their way to or from synagogue services were assailed by eggs, rocks, bottles or firecrackers, or were subjected to verbal harassment.

The report also found:

threats made over the telephone, or through mail, leaflets, posters and e-mail, were recorded at a rate of more than 65 percent above average;

telephone threats were recorded at the highest rate ever, and were almost five times those of the previous year;

abusive e-mails were recorded at a rate close to three times the previous average, exceeding the previous tally by 25 percent. E-mail was also a common vehicle for the dissemination of anti-Jewish propaganda;

anti-Semitic graffiti on Jewish institutions stood at the highest level in five years;

events in the Middle East repeatedly prompted statements in the mainstream media that were insulting, offensive or disparaging to Jews; and

anti-Semitic organizations operating in Australia spread hate via the Internet, newsgroups, online clubs and a variety of publications.

The report applauded two states, Victoria and Queensland, for the introduction of comprehensive anti-racism legislation.

It also commended a number of political and religious leaders for speaking up against racism and anti- Semitism.

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