By Amy Zewe
It’s a sad wonder Down Under.
Australia is a beautiful country full of mystique and intrigue and the subject of popular movies that highlight the independent and fearless nature of its English founders –and is home to a diverse population. Once a penal colony, and with its own disturbed history of dealing with the aboriginal population, we in the Northern Hemisphere often think of Australians as friendly, open minded, and sympathetic to the plight of oppressed people while full of hope and resilience. And this is mostly true!
But sad news was recently revealed within the region of Queensland, a part of the British Commonwealth with a large percentage of the Australian population.
Antisemitism is not just alive and well, it is growing exponentially.
Some 60 percent of Jews in Australia’s Queensland have experienced anti-Semitism (jns.org)
Of those Jews in Queensland who experienced anti-Semitism, half were either abused, harassed, intimidated or bullied simply because they are Jewish and, distressingly, many of these incidents occur in the workplace,” said Jason Steinberg, vice president of the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies. “Fifteen percent of Queensland Jews also reported hate-fueled incidents that related to Israel and/or Zionism. We have also seen an increase in activity by white-supremacist, neo-Nazi and other far-right extremist groups whose members seem to act with impunity, as well as anti-Israel activists targeting local Jews.
Antisemitism is not a right or left issue; it is a global issue and manifests in any ideology that is extremist and void of morality and ethics and true justice.
Recent publications examining the topic of antisemitism, which for the last century has been mostly identified with extreme and far right groups in Europe and America, but the far left is completely participatory. Keep in mind that while Russia may have been a US Ally in WWII, it already was deeply engaged in pogroms, creating ghettos, and scapegoating Jews and Jewish communities. They were just less systematic about it and had bigger problems to deal with in terms of an advancing Nazi army.
According to a Washington Post article,
The problem of anti-Semitism is rising across the world.
A recent CNN poll found that more than a quarter of Europeans say Jews have too much influence in business and finance, while 1 in 5 said Jews have too much influence in the media and politics. Anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise as well. Here is the United States, we saw neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us!” and horrific shootings at synagogues near San Diego and in Pittsburgh. In 2018, France reported a 74 percent increase in anti-Semitic attacks, while in Germany they grew by 60 percent.
While the rise of far-right antisemitism has played a role, many victims say those on the right account for only a fraction of these antisemitic incidents. In December, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights asked European Jews who was responsible for the most serious incident of antisemitic harassment they had experienced:
Only 13 percent said it was someone with a far-right political view, while 30 percent said it was an “extremist Muslim” and 21 percent said it was someone with left-wing views.
The fact is anti-Semitism is a growing problem on the left. In Britain this year, three members of the Labour Party resigned after accusing the party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, of being — as a former Labour general secretary put it — “institutionally antisemitic.” In Washington, congressional Democrats have struggled to confront anti-Semitism within their own ranks. Experts say the rise of left-wing antisemitism is not surprising.
Do not forget that the Nazi Party in Germany was a party of workers,” he said. “We are many times thinking about the Nazis as far-right. They were also very deeply speaking … to the left, using some leftist language.
–Piotr Cywinski, Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
In the so-called civilized and advanced first world nations of the “West,” antisemitism is on the rise in all corners…and I argue that the flood elevating it from the left is far more dangerous because it creeps in and is accepted by academia, the media, social media, and even political leaders. Arguably, everyone will distance themselves from an antisemitic neo-Nazi or even an antisemitic republican. The same doesn’t go for leftists (regardless of how far or not so far left they are labeled). Antisemitism in the form of disguised activism for some other cause or people is dangerous—it has led to a NYC globalize the intifada event with full support of many academics and social media platforms!
We will look at that event next week.
Our responsibility is to identify, expose and condemn antisemitism no matter where it rears its ugly head. And, to support and encourage our Jewish and Zionists sisters and brothers.
Shavua Tov, have a great week.