Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Serious Anti-semitic Incidents Are Up by 15 Percent in Australia

February 16, 1993
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The number of incidents of anti-Semitic violence, serious vandalism and harassment in Australia rose 15 percent last year, although the number of less serious incidents fell to the lowest in three years.

The report, issued by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, pointed out that there were over 10 incidents a month.

Isi Leibler, the president of the council, said that “the levels of violence and damage caused” in 1992 did not match “the horrific heights of the arson attacks on synagogues” during 1991.

However, he noted that the sheer number of incidents was a reason for community concern.

Leibler stressed that incidents reported represented only a “bare minimum” of incidents actually occurring.

“Associated individuals and associations spread malicious lies about the Nazi genocide of the Jews of Europe, the Jewish religion and the role of Jewish Australians in public affairs. Anti-Jewish invective from a variety of other sources is also reported” to the Executive Council “irregularly, but far from infrequently,” he added.

Holocaust survivors are a particular target of the racists, Leibler noted, with pro-Nazi harassment coupled with the racism of the Holocaust deniers.

The rise in incidents categorized as “violence, serious vandalism and harassment” and also in the category of “hate mail” was balanced by a decrease in reports of anti-Semitic telephone calls, and a significant drop in the number of reported anti-Jewish graffiti, posters and leaflets.

The total of all incidents showed a slight decrease over the two previous years, confirming the Jewish community’s belief that fallout from the Persian Gulf War was responsible for the dramatic upsurge in the number and violence of incidents in late 1990 and early 1991.

Regarding the anti-Semitic incidents, Leibler argued that anti-racist legislation and effective political leadership to combat racism could minimize the number of attacks on Jewish targets.

Recommended from JTA