US/World News

Australia sees 30 percent increase in antisemitic incidents

(JTA) – There has been a 30 percent increase over the last year in serious antisemitic incidents in Australia, according to the annual Report on Antisemitism in Australia. Compiled by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, or ECAJ.

“The overall number of antisemitic incidents continued at, and slightly exceeded, the unusually high number logged during 2018, which saw a 59 percent increase over the previous year,” said Julie Nathan, the ECAJ’s research director on antisemitism. “Most disturbing were the reported incidents of antisemitic bullying of Jewish schoolchildren at two Victorian public schools, and the manifestly inadequate way in which the schools handled those incidents,” Nathan said.

In one incident, a 12-year-old student in Melbourne was forced by other schoolchildren to kiss the feet of a Muslim fellow student.

“More subtle, but just as concerning, was the spread of calumnies about Jews beneath the cloak of political discourse about Israel,” Nathan also said. “Examples include a university lecturer and the utterly false claim made by a professional teaching body in July that Israel persecutes Arabs because ‘they don’t follow the Jewish religion.’”

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