Australian man charged over YouTube video

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — An Australian man who denigrated Judaism on a YouTube video was ordered to stay away from Jewish buildings and report to police daily.

Brendon O’Connell, 38, appeared in the Perth Magistrates’ Court Tuesday, where he was released on bail and ordered to stay away from Jewish institutions in the city and at least 100 yards from the Jewish student whom he allegedly harassed outside a shopping mall where a pro-Palestinian rally was being held May 2, The West Australian newspaper reported.

He must also report to police every day until he reappears in court on June 9.

O’Connell was arrested May 13 by police in Perth and charged with conduct likely to entice animosity or racist harassment for his 10-minute video. In the video, he allegedly described Judaism as “a religion of racism, hate, homicide and ethnic cleansing.”

The video has since been taken down from the popular video-sharing Web site.

O’Connell, who says in the video that he is representing Christians, could become the first person to be convicted under Western Australia’s racial vilification laws since they were enacted in 2005. The maximum penalty for the offense is 14 years in jail or fines of up to $18,000.

Tal Dror, the Jewish Agency’s emissary to Perth, told Ynet that “The reactions in the community were terrible. People literally cried when they saw the video on the Internet. They said they didn’t know such things still existed, certainly not in Australia.”
 

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