Brussels and Paris: Australia has its say

May 26, 2014 by J-Wire
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Australian Zionists have reacted to the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels and the stabbing attack on French Jews in Paris.

Sam Tatarka, president of the Zionist Council of Victoria said: “The weekend shooting attack that claimed the lives of four people at the Jewish Museum in the Belgian capital of Brussels is a tragic and sadly increasing

Sam Tatarka

Sam Tatarka

phenomenon of the rise of anti Semitism in Europe.

On the heels of the Brussels attack, two Jewish men were attacked as they left a synagogue in the Paris area late Saturday. In France, Interior Minister Bernard Casneueve ordered police around France to increase security at Jewish houses of worship and other Jewish establishments.

The attack which came on the eve of national and European Parliament elections has been roundly condemned by leaders who all too often stay silent in the face of the most appalling canards directed at the Jewish State of Israel many of which mimic age old anti Semitic tropes.  Once again the Jewish communities of Europe are to be subject to greater security measures in the attempt to stem the tide of terror targeting Jews in the streets and cities of Europe.

“Whilst we are blessed with broad bi partisan support for Israel and the Jewish community in Australia the latest attack in Europe is a reminder that the Australian Jewish community is not immune to such threats,” says Sam Tatarka, President of the Zionist Council of Victoria which owns and operates Beth Weizmann Community Centre (BWCC) and the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia.  “Our schools, synagogues and institutions have been carrying the burden of heightened security measures for many years now and we have sadly had to become used to passing by security cordons and high walls as we go about our daily business”.

BWCC is in the hub of the Jewish community in Caulfield and is home to many communal organisations.  We host hundreds of community events that sees thousands of people come and go over the course of a year.  “We need to be vigilant and not take the security of our building and our people for granted.” said Mr Tatarka. “The price of that vigilance and security is high both in terms of money and in terms of restricted freedom”.

Dr Danny Lamm

Dr Danny Lamm

The Zionist Council of Victoria calls on the Federal and State Governments to build on their already significant funding of security at schools and provide adequate and timely funding to communal organisations and institutions at risk to minimise the risk and maximise the safety of our community as it goes about its daily business.

Dr Danny Lamm, president of the Zionist Federation of Australia added; “The Zionist Federation of Australia mourns the loss of the four victims of the Jewish Museum shooting in Brussels, Belgium over the weekend, including two Israeli citizens, Emanuel and Mira Riva a”h. We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community in Belgium, and with Jewish communities all over Europe, at a time where anti-Semitism is on the rise, and attacks such as this one, and a knife attack on three Jews in Paris over the weekend, are unfortunately becoming more common. The international community needs to stand up and condemn these hate crimes in the strongest of terms, for we have already witnessed before how the smallest seeds of hatred grew into the largest of atrocities. We cannot allow the darkness to prevail. “

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council issued the following statement:  “AIJAC mourns the victims of the murderous attack at the Jewish Museum in Belgium on the weekend and joins prayers for the full and speedy recovery of the wounded.

“Our first thoughts are with the victims and their families and we hope that effective actions by authorities in Belgium and across Europe will prevent the possibility of the recurrence of such vile, violent action”, Jeremy Jones, AIJAC Director of International and of Community Affairs, said today.

“The attack was shocking, and it was additionally distressing to hear that many Belgian, and Western European, Jews were not surprised that it took place, against the backdrop of anti-Jewish rhetoric and incitement from a number of sources, including far right, extreme left and radical Islamist groups”, he added.

“It is vitally important that the perpetrators are apprehended and punished and it is also essential that Europeans and others take time to reflect on the reality of antisemitism today and what it means for the heart and soul of that continent and the world in general”, he concluded.

The Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia (ORA) expresses its horror and outrage at the premeditated, targeted and hate-fuelled attack at the Brussels Jewish Museum. “ORA condemns this attack against our people in the strongest possible terms” said ORA President, Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant, “and we pray and hope that steps will be taken to de-escalate the climate of hate and incitement that presently exists against Jewish and other minority communities especially in Europe”.


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