Students at the University of Sydney are outraged at the publication of a fraudulent letter in the student newspaper that makes a mockery of the Talmud and portrays Jews in a dangerously inaccurate light bordering on blood libel.
The letter, signed with the name of a nonexistent person, contains a series of mythical extracts from the Talmud in an attempt to discredit Jewish sources in debates on issues of morality.
Published last week, the letter charges that a Jew is permitted to “violate” 3-year-old non-Jewish children; treat “a non-Jewess” as “a piece of meat”; and “rape, cheat and perjure himself.”
In all, there are nine such libelous quotations in the letter, harking back to Medieval times when virulently false theological charges were regularly raised against Jews and which Jews in those times were forced to answer.
Shosh Simons, the president of the university’s section of the Australian Union of Jewish Students, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency she was “shocked and surprised at the newspaper” for publishing the letter.
“The publication of the letter violates every policy of the Student’s Representative Council and breaches New South Wales’ state anti-racist legislation,” she said.
She said she was expecting a full apology for the publication of the letter to be printed in the next issue of the newspaper. Failing this, she said, the matter would be pursued further.
Anna Davis, president of the Students’ Representative Council at the university, said she was aware of the anti-Semitism in the letter as soon as she read the paper.
She told JTA that the paper could not publish anything which is racist, sexist or in any other way offensive, but this policy does not apply to the letters page, where anything received is generally published.
She said she firmly believes this letter should not have been published and that the editors had failed to even check whether the signator existed.
The national president of the Australian Union of Jewish Students, Melanie Landau, said she was “sickened by the maliciousness of the author of the letter and the irresponsibility of the newspaper in publishing it.
“There is a disturbing resurgence of anti-Jewish activity in Australia today. This sort of letter emphasizes the need for vigilance by opponents of racism,” she said.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.