Melbourne Community alarmed at Muslim stance

December 9, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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Following Sunday’s protest by pro-Palestinans in Melbourne  during which security was breached at a city hotel, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria called on Muslim leaders to condemn protests that degenerate into racial chaos.

A spokesman for the JCCV told J-Wire this morning that community leaders had been identified by some of the protestors and that had initiated chants to “go get him”.

The Palestinian supporters had breached security at the Pajk Hyatt Hotel where the Australia-Israel Forum was taking place. Guests on Sunday included Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Deputy Opposition Leader, Julie Bishop.

The protestors were repelled with three being held by police.

The call for mainstream Muslim support has been forwarded to J-Wire by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria.

The convenor of the Australia-Israel Forum, Albert Dadon, wrote his take of Sunday’s incident in the National Times. Read it here

Geoffrey Zygier reports:

According to the Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s 2009 Antisemitism Report, there has been an unprecedented increase in antisemitic incidents against Jews in Australia. The rate of anti-Jewish violence, vandalism, harassment and intimidation is close to three times the average of the previous nineteen years.

Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) president John Searle stated: “In this context, it was extremely distressing to witness the level of antisemitic violence and abuse displayed by many demonstrators outside the Australia-Israel Leadership Forum dinner on Sunday 6 December 2009.” He added that it was all the more disturbing as the demonstration was endorsed by a number of organisations including Students for Palestine, Australians for Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Committee, the Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth and most significantly the Islamic Council of Victoria, the peak body of Victoria’s Muslim bodies.

“It is not the first time that here in Victoria, local rallies against Israel have crossed the boundary from legitimate protest to overtly racist behaviour”, Searle continued.

“In January one protest in Melbourne against Operation Cast Lead included posters indicating that Jews “needed” another Holocaust.  Again, that protest was endorsed and organised by a range of organisations, including Islamic and Palestinian representative bodies.”

Last Sunday, guests attending the Australia-Israel Leadership Forum dinner had to run the gauntlet of some two hundred demonstrators whose armoury included calls of “Bloody Jews” and throwing projectiles at guests.

Had the demonstrators forced their way into the dinner venue, as they intended, ironically they would have heard each speaker, including Australia’s Deputy PM Julia Gillard and her Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom, calling for resolution of the Israel/Palestinian conflict. The protestors’ vilification and violence undermined the Victorian Government’s cultural diversity policy and the work undertaken by so many people of good will to develop better relationships between Victoria’s numerous faith and ethnic groups.

“Despite my recent calls to the Islamic leadership to condemn aggressive, violent and abusive antisemitic actions, they have, to date, failed to do so” stated Searle. “The time has come for them to speak out unambiguously against racism and vilification, or alternatively to cease organising events which have such predictable outcomes. Failure to take either of these steps is tantamount to condoning racism, abuse and vilification.

It is ironic that this particular incident took place while Victoria is hosting the Parliament of World Religions, a program specifically designed to unite religions and foster harmony – values which we in the local Jewish community hold firm.

The ugly behaviour displayed by demonstrators inevitably tarnishes the name of Muslims. We look to the members of the Muslim community, its leaders in particular, to join us in condemning violence and promoting harmony. “


One Response to “Melbourne Community alarmed at Muslim stance”
  1. Paul Winter says:

    The conclusion of the article, that “The ugly behaviour displayed by the demonstrators inevitably tarnishes the name of Muslims” is bizarre and grotesque. Instead of worrying about the aggressive, insulting and savage attitude of Muslim demonstrators toward Jews, the conclusion shows that the victim of abuse is concerned about the image of the abuser. Such a lick spittle attitude only provokes Muslim bullies to increase their attacks and does nothing for the safety or the morale of Jews. Such a supine attitude also lets the authorities to turn a blind eye to a violent segment of the community, pretending that such weak dhimmi responses by Jews, pretending that there is no problem, will lead to greater communal harmony.

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