Dealing with graffiti

February 28, 2014 by David Marlow
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The Victorian Minister for Crime Prevention, Edward O’Donohue has presented graffiti removal kits to the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) and the Community Security Group (CSG).

David Southwick, Nina Bassat, Dvir Abramovich and Elizabeth

David Southwick, Minister Edward O’Donohue, Nina Bassat, Dvir Abramovich and Elizabeth Miller

The kits have been provided by the Government to the community to help address the recent rise in anti-semitic graffiti which has been documented in the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) Report on Anti-Semitism in Australia.

The Minister said that the Government had a zero tolerance approach to bigotry and hatred.  He said that the presentation of the graffiti removal kits were part of a program of working with local communities to address the problem.

Nina Bassat, President of the JCCV thanked Mr O’Donohue, Mr. David Southwick MP and Ms. Elizabeth Miller MP for their work in fighting racism and antisemitism and said, “The JCCV and the CSG are pleased to participate in the graffiti removal program and appreciate the fact that we have received the kits, but regret that we live in a society in which we need them.”

“For a Holocaust survivor to wake up to a swastika sprayed onto their car is not just a costly removal issue.  It is the very undercutting of the sense of peace and security which they sought to find in Australia.  It is an affront to their very core.  And yet we see this sort of thing happening repeatedly.”

The ADC has a core responsibility in addressing and removing racist and anti-semitic graffiti.  Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the ADC thanked the Minister for the kits and said, “Incidents of anti-semitic graffiti serve as a reminder that deep-seated hatred still exists in some segments of our community, and that there is much work to be done in terms of education and outreach to ensure that it remains unacceptable to give voice to bigotry.”

“We applaud the Victorian government and in particular Minister ­O’Donohue and David Southwick for making it clear that these acts will not be tolerated. It is critical that our government sends a message back to those who seek to vilify and denigrate Jews that they will be identified, caught and brought to justice. We cannot let hatred win the day.”

David Southwick  said, “I was pleased to advocate strongly along with the Member for Bentleigh Elizabeth Miller to have Minister O’Donohue visit Caulfield today to discuss the important issues of antisemitism.”

“Today’s announcement by the Victorian Coalition Government to hand over graffiti-removal kits to the Jewish community comes with mixed emotions, as I am glad that we have been able to provide them but sad that in 2014 we still need them.”

The JCCV will have a kit available for loan by community organisations for removal of graffiti as required.  It should be remembered that all instances of racist and anti-semitic graffiti should be documented and reported to the CSG and/or the police.

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