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‘Push back the hate, mate’: Australia fights antisemitism

New anti-doxing laws planned; Sydney rally against antisemitism; property development altered due to fears of synagogue attack.
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Crowd with Australian and Israeli flags

Sydneysiders rally against antisemitism on Sunday (supplied)

Published: 19 February 2024

Last updated: 21 March 2024

New anti-doxing laws planned; Sydney rally against antisemitism; property development altered due to fears of synagogue attack.

Doxers could face jail times under proposed new federal laws prompted by the doxing of 600 Jewish creatives in a WhatsApp group.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told radio 2GB last week that Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus is developing amendments to privacy laws and also looking at how to strengthen laws against hate speech.

“I’ve asked the attorney general to bring forward legislation in response to the Privacy Act review, including laws that deal with so-called doxing, which is basically the malicious publication of private information online,” Albanese said.

He said the doxing was clearly a case of people being targeted because of their religion.

“Let’s be very clear, these are 600 people in the creative industries… who had a WhatsApp group, not heavily political, to provide support for each other because of the antisemitism we’ve seen.

“These people have a range of views about the Middle East. What they have in common is they are members of the Jewish community. The idea that in Australia someone should be targeted because of their religion, because of their faith, whether they be Jewish, or Muslim, or Hindu or Catholic – it’s just completely unacceptable,” he said.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Dreyfus said the offence would be drafted “to capture any publication for malicious purposes of someone’s private or personal information without their consent”. He acknowledged that the legal system was "racing" to catch up with the bad conduct made possible by digital technology.

“We think these are serious offences, and should potentially carry a jail sentence,” he said. “If the perpetrator has intended to interfere with someone’s life and has achieved that purpose, such as the person going into hiding, then that’s something that the court would be likely to take into account in determining penalty.”

The doxing of Jewish creatives led directly to boycotts which have affected livelihoods and, in at least two cases, death threats.

An antisemitic sticker found on a car in Melbourne last week (ADC)
An antisemitic sticker found on a car in Melbourne last week (ADC)

Antisemitism fears across society

Concern about antisemitism is running high. In Brisbane, a planned inner-city laneway has been scrapped amid fears of antisemitic attacks on Brisbane’s oldest synagogue and its congregation. The original plans for the 254-metre tower included a cross-block link which would have run between Mary and Margaret Streets, alongside the synagogue.

“In light of recent significant global [and local] events, the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation has expressed concerns in respect of the location of the cross-block link on the site,” town planners Urbis wrote in an assessment report, submitted to the council on KS Property’s behalf. "Concerns around the safety and security of the congregation and its members, and for the synagogue building itself have been expressed and accordingly the cross-block link has been removed from the proposal.”

Cabinet Minister Bill Shorten told the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas that community and racial cohesion in Australia was at a "very low point" since the Israel-Gaza war and he had not seen this level of intolerance during his time in parliament.

"There's no doubt that we've seen a rise in antisemitism, or we've seen a rise in this sort of ugly intolerance which, to be honest, I haven't seen in my time in parliament,” said Shorten, who has been an MP for 17 years.

"For those people who would seek to vandalise, so somehow the events elsewhere justify law-breaking here, they're wrong."

'Push back the hate, mate'

Organisers estimated 10,000 people demonstrated concern about rising antisemitism in Sydney on Sunday. The event was organised by a Christian movement called “Never Again Is Now”. Speakers included former Prime Minister Scott Morrison, MP Julian Leeser and Senator Jacqui Lambie.

In his address Morrison accused the United Nations of antisemitism.

“Applying double standards by requiring of... Israel, a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation – that is antisemitism, and we have seen that in the United Nations,” he said.

Senator repudiates Nazi photo

Victorian senator Ralph Babet has distanced himself from a neo-Nazi who published a photo of himself appearing to give a Nazi salute while posing with the politician.

Senator Ralph Babet (left) with Nathan Bull (CREDIT:X)
Senator Ralph Babet (left) with Nathan Bull (CREDIT:X)

On Saturday night, Nathan Bull, a member of the National Socialist Network, posted a photo of himself and Babet on social media site X with the caption “Heil Ralph Babet, Heil our people”, followed by two keyboard characters that look like a stick figure image of a person giving the gesture.

Babet told The Age on Sunday that he had no knowledge of the photo, had not seen it, and did not support Nazi ideology or the far right.

“I don’t know the guy,” he said. “Hundreds of people per month ask for a photo with me everywhere I go.”


Doxxers on notice they will face jail time under new laws (SMH)

Morrison accuses UN of antisemitism, decries ‘persecution’ of Australian Jews (SMH)

Albanese is trying to unite Australians amid the war in Gaza — but as tensions increase, where will it all end? (ABC)

Antisemitism fears prompt rethink in Brisbane tower development (SMH)

Senator distances himself from neo-Nazi’s social media post (ABC)


The government wants to criminalise doxing. It may not work to stamp out bad behaviour online (The Conversation)
New laws around doxing came into effect in The Netherlands at the start of the year. This makes it illegal for Dutch citizens to obtain and share other people’s personal information without their permission and then use it to harass or target them.

Doxing or in the public interest? Free speech, ‘cancelling’ and the ethics of the Jewish creatives’ WhatsApp group leak (The Conversation)
The leak gives rise to a complex tangle of contemporary ethical issues, including concerns with privacy, doxing, free speech and “cancelling”.


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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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