Jewish community attacks Australian racism

May 28, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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The Jewish community has called on all Australians to speak out and stop racial attacks.

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria and the Anti-Defamation Commission both expressed horror at recent attacks on Indian students, saying the targeting of people because they look different is totally unacceptable.,

JCCV president Mr John Searle said, “As a community with a long history of persecution, the Jewish community is hyper-vigilant about racism and feels it has to speak out in defence of other communities under attack”.

“Jewish people know what can come from racist attitudes. We know the Holocaust started with occasional bashings and finished with death camps and gas chambers. We also know that racists can only survive because other people stand by and let this kind of thing happen.

“No one should look the other way. Every Australian must be willing to stand up and say this is not the way we behave.”

Mr Searle said the Jewish community would be looking at ways to support the Indian community in stopping the attacks. He added that the Jewish community has already made representations to government about these issues and will be seeking support from other communities to assist in the representations.

The chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission Mr Tony Levy said the organisation, which works to fight antisemitism and racism, was aware of worrying trends of increasing antisemitism and racism, particularly on social networking sites.

“At times of economic difficulty people tend to close ranks. Racism is a response that comes from fear and ignorance. We need to ensure we work consciously to promote respect for people of all backgrounds.”

Mr Levy praised the Victorian Government for its support of the ADC Multifaith Future Leaders Program, which brings together young leaders from different faith backgrounds.

“Promoting understanding between Australians of different backgrounds is as important as it has ever been. Our society is changing. We have new waves of immigration from different parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We have to ensure these new migrants are integrated into Australian society as earlier waves of migrants have been.”

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