Antisemitism by schoolchildren requires pro-active action

October 4, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has spoken about children as young five being attacked because of their Jewishness in Melbourne.

This follows media reports of school-bullying in Melbourne with one case seeing a  12-yr-old Jewish boy having to kiss a Muslim student’s shoe.

Josh Frydenberg tweeted: “I’m deeply concerned about the reports of children as young as 5 being attacked in schools because of their Jewishness. It’s completely unacceptable in our civilised society & State & Federal Govts must work together to educate our community about the atrocities of the Holocaust.”



The Victorian Minister for Education James Merlino posted the following on Twitter:

Photo: Facebook

The executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council has said incidents of anti-Jewish bullying committed by and directed at schoolchildren must never be excused or tolerated.

Dr Colin Rubenstein said: “As a nation, we have a responsibility to protect and assist victims and do what we can to eliminate racist behaviour and bullying,” Dr. Colin Rubenstein, executive director of the Australia/ Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, said today in response to reports of two serious incidents of antisemitic bullying at Victorian schools.

Schools must not just provide safe and nurturing environments, but also present a culture which militates against bigotry. There can be no room for moral prevarication.

Schools must not simply dismiss such alleged racist attacks as ordinary ‘bullying’, nor refuse to act because the actual violence and threats occurred off school property, as appears to have happened in the recently reported cases,” Dr Rubenstein said.

AIJAC was therefore pleased to see that Victorian Education Minister James Merlino unequivocally condemn antisemitism in schools and call for a review into how schools are handling these appalling occurrences –  as well as planning to meet with the parents, officials from the schools concerned, and Jewish community groups to explore what further action can be done both to help the victims in the currently reported cases and seek to prevent such incidents from recurring,” Dr Rubenstein added.

Jeremy Jones, AIJAC’s Director of International and of Community Affairs, added, “Education against bullying and racism should be a core activity at all Australian schools, taught in ways appropriate to the developmental stage of students. In addition, reports of this kind must always be dealt with proactively. Furthermore, schools, where problems of this nature are reported, should be actively reaching out to gain assistance from anti-racism experts and community groups.

“Despite these incidents, Australia remains a largely harmonious multicultural society, where Jews and other minorities can feel welcome and at home, and AIJAC is heartened by the strong reactions – locally and internationally – to this week’s report of targeting of Jewish children at Melbourne schools. These reactions reinforce the fact that antisemitism is repugnant in our society – yet the fact that it is present in Australia, in a  variety of forms, is something which must be both a cause for concern and a call to action. The incidents reported in Melbourne underline how important it is that the response be immediate, unambiguous and effective,” Mr Jones concluded.

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria president Jennifer Huppert said: “The JCCV is appalled by reports of antisemitic bullying at schools in Melbourne. Every child has the right to feel safe at school.  These incidents are also indicative of the rising incidences of antisemitism in the broader community.

The JCCV welcomes the statement issued by the James Merlino MP, Deputy Premier and Minister for Education.  The JCCV will be meeting with Minister Merlino next week and looks forward to working with him and the Department of Education and Training so as to ensure that these incidents are dealt with appropriately and that systems are put into place to ensure to no child needs to suffer in this manner in the future.


3 Responses to “Antisemitism by schoolchildren requires pro-active action”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    This was absolutely heart wrenching when it hit the news…….
    Don’t tell me the fault doesn’t reside with parents for not educating their children. Anti-Semitism awareness has been within the community for decades from the pulpits to public library shelves.
    Shame on them.

  2. Adrian Jackson says:

    Bullying goes on all the time and this is but one example. In the 1960’s Roman Catholics and Protestants called each other names like “heretics” and “tykes” and often had punch ups. Religion is the problem with much of the bullying. This is why religious oriented parents tend to send their children to private school of their faith.

  3. Michael Barnett says:

    “I’m deeply concerned about the reports of children as young as 5 being attacked in schools because of their Jewishness.” — Josh Frydenberg

    I understand what he’s saying but the age of the students are irrelevant. It’s never acceptable to attack a student because of their religious identity, no matter their age.

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