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Anti-Semitic incidents up in Australia

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SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia have risen more than 30 percent in the past year, according to a new report, with more than half the incidents hate e-mails.

A total of 517 anti-Semitic incidents were logged between Oct. 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2011, according to the annual “Report on Anti-Semitism in Australia” unveiled Sunday at the Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s annual meeting.

Jeremy Jones, president of the council, said this year’s tally was 31 percent higher than the previous 12-month period, and 38 percent above the average. It was also 80 percent below the highest tally, recorded in 2008-09.

The 144-page report cites 17 physical assaults or incidents of property damage, and 128 incidents of direct harassment and intimidation of Australian Jews.

Jones has been logging the data annually since 1989.

“Put bluntly," he said, "in Australia this year, 10 times a week, every week, Jewish Australians were attacked or threatened. Also, he said,  “There are many more daily examples of anti-Jewish propaganda and discourse than of physical attacks.”

Jones said that “Anti-Semitic comments find comfortable hosts on the online sites of mainstream, including government-owned, media outlets.

“There are Christian and Muslim groups which will promote goodwill to Jews with one hand and publish supremacist and other anti-Jewish bigotry on the other hand. There are self-described progressive groups and organizations which tolerate or even promote anti-Jewish material when it suits their broader agendas.”

But Professor Andrew Markus and Jessica Taft argued in their report on anti-Semitism, published this month as part of the Gen08 Survey at Monash University in Melbourne, that "A close examination of the Jones data indicates that contrary to media reporting, there has not been a substantial increase in anti-Semitic activity in recent years, for the spike in the recorded number of anti-Semitic incidents is explained in large part by the proliferation of hate e-mail."

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