Two MPs go public on antisemitic attacks

May 7, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Liberal MP for Berowra Julian Lesser and Independent MP for Wentworth Dr Kerryn Phelps have reacted to antisemitic incidents during their election campaigns.

Julian Lesser’s poster vandalised

Both electorates are in Sydney but Federak Treasurer Josh Fyrdenberg was also a victim if antisemitic daubings in his Melbourne seat of Kooyong.

Julian Lesser took to Facebook posting: “I am proud to be a sixth generation Australian – the grandson of a survivor of Changi and the Burma Railway and the great-grandson of an Anzac who served in the 1st Light Horse.

And I’m proud to be a Jew.

There have been Jews here since a dozen Jewish convicts came ashore on the first fleet. Moved by a sense of patriotism Jews have always sought to serve this country. In the first federal Parliament there were three Jews – one of those three, Sir Isaac Isaacs, became the first Australian born Governor General. Australian troops were led in World War One by General Sir John Monash. Jews have contributed to every facet of Australian life far beyond their numbers. I am one of six Jews who served in the 45th Parliament.

Australia has been one of the few countries on earth where Jews have practised their religion unhampered and never suffered any form of discrimination. Jews have sought refuge here from centuries of hatred and discrimination including pogroms and the Holocaust.

Julian Leeser

So I find it hard to believe that in 2019 we are witnessing anti-Semitic incidents on an unprecedented scale. Long discredited anti-Semitic ideas are now being given credence by the far Right and the far Left. And with social media unchallenged anti-Semitic ideas spread quickly.

For the third time my campaign materials have been attacked by people trying to intimidate me by sending a message of hate. First it was swastikas and Hitler moustaches on my posters on a street in Normanhurst. Then my posters have been torn down and repeatedly been defaced by Electrical Trade Union stickers.

Now the photo on my campaign office – private property not public property – has been painted over with dollar signs. Last week Josh Frydenberg ‘s posters were daubed with dollar signs and other anti-Semitic messages as well. This is not because he is the treasurer, it is because, like me, he is Jewish and like me he has been targeted by the merchants of hate. The $$ refer to old anti-Semitic lies of an international Jewish banking conspiracy; that Jews have control of the world’s money supply. These sentiments were used by Nazis and others who have sought to spread hatred of Jews for centuries.

I have been involved in political campaigns in Berowra for 15 years but I have never seen anything like this before.

These are not isolated incidents. A few weeks ago a restaurant in Epping (just out of the electorate) was plastered with anti-Semitic slogans including “watch out Jews” and “ kill Jews” and last November the peak body representing the Jewish community reported a 60% increase in antisemitic incidents in Australia.

Nor am I the only Jewish candidate in this election to be targeted in this way. But as Jonathan Sacks has written, “The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews.” In this election, candidates have been attacked because they are Jewish, Asian, Muslim, Christian or Gay.

By all means, debate and disagree with candidates because of their policies. That is the stuff of a free democracy. But people should not be attacked because of something they cannot change.

People have asked me what should I do in response to these attacks? I will do what I have always done: redouble my efforts to serve the community. And if you think I’m doing a good job then please support me on 18 May and send the anti-Semites the clearest possible message.”

On the other side of the harbour, Independent Dr Kerryn Phelps has a copy of an email being circulated claiming that she is a Jew and has been disqualified from the election..

Dr Kerryn Phelps

“Urgent ERROR: Kerryn Phelps has been disqualified from election, she is a Jew and entitled to automatic Israeli citizenship through Israel’s Law of Return. Please be noting now she is excluded from running for Parliament under section 44.

Please call all your friends on your instrument who are living in Wentworth electorate to stop voting for Kerryn Phelps. This is very urgent, the voting card has been printed already, you will still see her name, but she is no longer eligible. Please be helping us to remove all her posters too. We can’t find Keryn Phelps, she is hiding some where to avoid jail from this fraud. Please help us shred all her posters before throwing away sir.

Please change your vote to Dave Sharma only. Dave Sharma belong to Indian heritage, and he had already renounced his Canadian citizenship successfully, and he doesn’t hold OCI card too, it is totally safe to vote for Dave Sharma only. Voting for a candidate belong to Indian descent is better than voting for a Jew anyway.

Penny if you are not based out of wentworth please help us still: the parliament/senate have many Jews to be excluded, we must fix this. Penny, you should vote for other candidates belong to Indian heritage only. Indian constitution doesn’t allow dual citizenship, this, all candidates belong to Indian background can have Australian citizenship only. It doesn’t matter if they have OCI, OCI is not actual citizenship of India, we can’t vote or purchase property with it. Candidates with OCI are still eligible.”

Dr Kerryn Phelps has written to the Australian Federal Police as below:

Liberal candidate Dave Sharma commented: “These bigoted and racist emails have no place in our democracy. I immediately referred these inciteful and divisive comments to the AFP last night.”

In Victoria, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) has condemned the defacing of campaign posters displayed by candidates in the upcoming Federal election, including the member for Kooyong, Josh Frydenberg, and the Greens candidate for McNamara, Stephanie Hodgins-May.

JCCV President Jennifer Huppert said: “The use of swastikas and other offensive reminders of the Nazi regime are never acceptable, and have no part in our political discourse.

That this has occurred In the week after we have commemorated both the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust, and the sacrifices made by Australians defending our democracy during World War 2, is a reminder that that we must vigilant in the protection of our hard-won freedoms, and the democratic, multicultural society in which we live.”


One Response to “Two MPs go public on antisemitic attacks”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    I don’t think dollar sign ($) graffiti is anti Semitism.

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