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Antisemitism reduced in Victoria last year but community organisations are still lamenting an increase

Deborah Stone
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Antisemitism reduced in Victoria last year, but community organisations are still lamenting an increase

Published: 30 June 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

A report produced by the JCCV and CSG shows no growth in the number of antisemitic incidents over the past four years, but the summary describes "a steady increase".

Good news: antisemitic incidents in Victoria reduced slightly in 2022, compared with the previous year, and have not increased over the past four years.

But you wouldn’t know it from the Executive Summary of a new report produced by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and the Community Security Group (CSG) which laments “antisemitism is on the rise across Victoria and Australia".

“Seventy-eight years after the Holocaust ended, antisemitism is on the rise across Victoria and Australia, spearheaded by racial and political ideologies on the right and left. There has been a steady increase in the total number of antisemitic incidents from 2019-2022, and this is expected to continue,” the report begins.

In fact, the data shows an erratic pattern over the past four years but an average of 119 incidents a year, the exact number of incidents in 2022.

The Jewish Independent

The Victorian Antisemitism Report is the first of its kind. It extracts Victorian data from the Executive Council of Australia Jewry (ECAJ) annual report on antisemitism and contextualises it to provide a local picture for use by law enforcement, policymakers and community security.

The report distributed earlier this week, and quoted on social media, included a graph showing a dramatic drop in all categories of antisemitic incident in 2022. However raw data provided to The Jewish Independent shows both this graph and the claim of increased antisemitism in Victoria were incorrect. The Jewish Independent brought the problem to the attention of JCCV and CSG yesterday and the report will be reissued.

The Victorian report comes in the context of a couple of high profile cases of neo-Nazi activity in the state, including a group of anti-trans demonstrators performing a Hitler salute on the steps of Victoria’s parliament in March. The case prompted the Victorian Parliament to consider banning the gesture, after it had already become the first jurisdiction in Australia to ban displays of the swastika as a Nazi symbol.

It also comes in the face of a high-profile case of alleged antisemitism at Brighton Secondary College, in which four students are seeking damages from the school and the State. The case is still before the courts.

Despite these public events, the broader picture is of no measurable increase in antisemitism over the past four years.

The data shows very low numbers of serious incidents. In 2022, there were four cases of assault. Details of these incidents were not provided.

There were two cases of property damage. In one case a public Jewish art installation titled Sukkah had part of its structure torn down, and graffiti of “Is this where they practised blood libel on kidnapped children?” In the other case, a Jewish home was marked with a cross.

The most common problems were graffiti and verbal abuse. The sharpest increase was in antisemitic gestures (such as Hitler salutes), increasing from four cases in each of the preceding three years to nine cases last year.

The Jewish Independent

The report outlines state-specific issues such as antisemitic online comments in response to breaches of Victoria's strict Covid lockdowns by a small group of religious Orthodox Jews in 2021. It also contextualises antisemitism in terms of far-right and far-left ideological issues and global trends.

The ECAJ's national figures show a long-term growth in antisemitic incidents including a seven percent increase from 2021 to 2022 and a 35% increase from 2020 to 2021. The Jewish Independent has previously raised concerns over inflated concerns about antisemitism in the ECAJ report and the publicity surrounding it.

The Jewish Independent


Antisemitism is a problem. We don’t need to cry wolf (The Jewish Independent)


Group tracking antisemitism in Germany documented seven incidents per day on average in 2022 (Haaretz)

While the group registered a slight decrease in antisemitic incidents in 2022 compared to 2021, there were nine incidents of extreme violence, defined as “potentially fatal or serious acts” – the highest number of such cases since nationwide record keeping began in 2017.

Racist neo-Nazis? In Greece, they call themselves 'Patriots' (Haaretz)  
From his jail cell, a leader of the banned neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party masterminded a shocking electoral success for Greece's radical right. For the “Spartans,” now the fifth-largest party in parliament, it's all about the branding

Illustration: Avi Katz

About the author

Deborah Stone

Deborah Stone is Editor-in-Chief of TJI. She has more than 30 years experience as a journalist and editor, including as a reporter and feature writer on The Age and The Sunday Age, as Editor of the Australian Jewish News and as Editor of ArtsHub.

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

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