Anti-Semitic attack in Melbourne


An Orthodox Jewish man was attacked in an apparent anti-Semitic incident in Melbourne.


The B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission issued a statement saying that the man, who was visibly Jewish, was verbally assaulted Monday by three people who called him a “f***ing Jew” before physically assaulting him in East St. Kilda, a popular Jewish neighborhood.


The victim sustained light injuries but was not hospitalized, according to the Anti-Defamation Commission.


Michael Lipshutz, the commission’s chairman, said he was “gravely concerned” at the increase in anti-Semitic violence against the Jewish community.


“Violent attacks by opportunistic individuals are becoming all too common in this generally peaceful community,” he said. “We do not want to get to a situation, as in some parts of the world, where Jews fear wearing traditional Jewish items such as a skullcap because it may lead to them becoming targets.”


Monday’s attack comes just two weeks after the U.S. special envoy against anti-Semitism, Dr. Gregg Rickman, visited Australia to monitor the situation.


Between 2006 and 2007, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry logged 638 anti-Semitic incidents in Australia. The number represented twice the previous annual average and was 8 percent higher than the previous record set five years ago.


“These statistics are extremely worrying and highlight the importance of a holistic approach when dealing with anti-Semitism, including education and punitive measures,” said Anti-Defamation Commission executive officer Manny Waks.


Monday’s attack took place in the same area where an Orthodox man was physically assaulted in 2006 and where Jewish teens were attacked with baseball bats last year. Two of the assailants involved in the ’06 attack were convicted.

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