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‘Jew lives here’: Antisemitic graffiti targets Jewish home in Melbourne

TJI Wrap
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‘Jew lives here’: Antisemitic graffiti targets Jewish home in Melbourne

Published: 21 November 2023

Last updated: 19 March 2024

‘I hope you die’: ABC children’s news program prompts complaints, bullying.

Graffiti reading “Kill Jews” and “Jew lives here” was painted on the front wall of a residential unit block in the south-eastern Melbourne suburb of Clayton South last week.

The case is perhaps the most extreme in a growing rash of graffiti and poster antisemitism since the Hamas attack of October 7 and the start of the Gaza war.

Several cases this week were notable for their direct targeting of Jewish Australians with no reference to Israel or claimed political justification.

A ‘“Jew-free zone” was posted in a window in the inner-north suburb of Brunswick.

The Jewish Independent

A street art project will be removed after complaints it evoked antisemitic stereotypes. The City of Port Phillip is removing a mural of grotesque faces by artist Mic Porter, after receiving many complaints about the images, which feature long hooked noses and staring eyes.

The mural was painted across the upper facades of shops along Carlisle Street in Balaclava, the heartland of Jewish shopping in Melbourne, supposedly depicting the characters of the area.

Councillor Marcus Pearl said the council had received many complaints from local traders and residents.

“It’s a very sensitive time at the moment. This is the heart of the Melbourne Jewish community, and I was pretty shocked when I saw these murals,” he told radio station 3AW. 

But the series' project manager, another artist called Bailer, defended the work, and said accusing Porter of antisemitism was "ridiculous".

"It's a blatant lie. He has lived in the area for over 40 years and his artwork has been featured heavily on a large scale throughout the area for over 20 years,” Bailer told Yahoo News.

The Jewish Independent

Children’s news program accused of bias

The ABC Ombudsman is refusing to review episodes of the children’s news program Behind The News (BTN), despite receiving close to 100 complaints over its coverage of the conflict in Gaza.

In one case, an entire class signed a letter calling for the ABC to “show all sides” after a segment focused on the effect of the war on Gazan civilians.

In another school, a father reported that his nine-year-old daughter in a Sydney public school was bullied after coverage he described as “Palestinian propaganda made PG”.

 “A boy came up to me. I didn’t know who he was. He asked: Are you for Israel or for this other place … I didn’t quite get it. I told him Israel, and he said to me, ‘I hope you die’,” the girl said.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-chief executive Peter Wertheim has sent a formal request to the ABC to review the segment, which focused on civilian casualties without mentioning the use of civilians as human shields.

“The episode was calculated to trigger emotional responses among impressionable schoolchildren through a selective presentation of the facts, instead of following the weight of the available evidence. It was like feeding children intellectual poison,” he said.

Ombudsman Fiona Cameron on Thursday rejected the request. “The ABC’s editorial standards for impartiality do not require that every facet of every argument is presented within a single discussion or piece of content. Rather, the ABC aims to present, over time, content that addresses a broad range of subjects from a diversity of perspectives reflecting a diversity of experiences, presented in a diversity of ways from a diversity of sources,” Ms Cameron wrote.

Complaints were also made to the NSW Department of Education, which defended the program. “BTN is one of a wide range of resources and stimulus materials that teachers may choose to incorporate into their teaching and learning programs. Teachers do not use resources in isolation, but as part of a balanced program of learning that provides students with opportunities to engage with a range of perspectives on issues being studied,” a spokesperson wrote.    

Countering antisemitism

With both antisemitism and Islamophobia increasing, the Victorian government has announced additional funding for school security and community support.

On Saturday morning, the government announced an $8 million investment to ensure communities feel “safe, welcome and celebrated” with Jewish and Islamic schools to share in $2 million to improve security.

The government’s funding package will give the state’s 27 independent Jewish and Islamic schools $20,000 each to install measures such as improved fencing, alarms and CCTV. They will also be able to claim costs for additional security.

The New South Wales government has rejected calls to ban vehicle convoys intimidating Jewish residents of Sydney.

Over the past week, two motorcades with vehicles displaying Palestinian flags have travelled through Sydney, with a third convoy planned for Saturday evening.

Federal MP Julian Leeser wrote a letter to the NSW Premier on Friday saying the convoys were causing the Jewish community to become "unsettled and scared", calling for them to be outlawed.

"These convoys are antisemitic and totally out of keeping with the state's multicultural character. It is beholden on the government to ban such conveys.

Road Minister John Graham said the government would not intervene in people’s rights to drive across the city.

"Having said that, I am concerned about these convoys …  this is simply adding to the tension," he said.

The federal government has also imposed counter-terrorism financing sanctions on eight persons and one entity in response to the acts of terrorism perpetrated by Hamas on October 7.

Aussie council to take down mural accused of being antisemitic (Yahoo)

Victoria’s Jewish, Islamic schools get cash to bolster security (SMH)

NSW government rejects federal MP Julian Leeser's call for ban on 'antisemitic' car convoys

Sanctions in response to Hamas terror attacks (DFAT)

Apple, Disney and IBM to pause ads on X after antisemitic Elon Musk tweet (Guardian)
Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, attempted to do damage control as Paramount and Warner Bros, among others, also pulled ads.

Diaspora Jews are hostages to Israel's behaviour (Haaretz)  
Diaspora Jews have learnt the hard way that, whatever their affiliation or politics, they become a punching bag for harsh critics of Israel’s actions, with incitement that slides into antisemitism. It’s time that Israel at least acknowledges this reality.

Bomb squad called to synagogue in Lakewood, New Jersey, after grenade found nearby (Times of Israel)
US law enforcement says device placed near Hasidic house of worship “was found to be inert and nonexplosive”; ADL: Incident “stokes fear”.

As antisemitism spikes in France, some Jews adopt new measures to hide their religion (Haaretz)  
As French Jews try to keep a low profile by, for instance, removing mezuzahs from door frames, community leaders advise against “making antisemites feel like they have achieved some success,” and a Holocaust survivor tells young Jews in Paris: “You should not be afraid”.

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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