A BARRAGE of anti-Semitic attacks has ravaged NSW and Victoria, with community leaders and MPs voicing concern over an upsurge in hatred and bigotry.
The attacks are believed to be a recruitment campaign by fanatical right-wing organisation Antipodean Resistance (AR), timed for the start of the school year, which has hit many targets.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) reported that in February, the group defaced 27 places with posters and stickers, including four high schools, nine universities, and two MPs’ offices.
The Bega electoral office of Mike Kelly, Member for Eden-Monaro, was defaced by an AR flyer with the words, “Multiculturalism, Degeneracy … Reject Jewish poison”, and featuring a racist illustration and a swastika.
Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby expressed the hope that NSW police would have CCTV footage of the incident at Kelly’s office and described AR as “totally alien to the Australian tradition of a fair go”.
AR stickers were also spotted at bus stops and railway stations on the upper North Shore. David Citer, a Ku-ring-gai Councillor, reported the incidents to the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) on February 13.
Two days later, anti-Semitic graffiti with despicable wording was noticed outside The Rusty Rabbit cafeteria in Darlinghurst, which was also reported to JBOD.
“Antipodean Resistance is a nasty fringe group whose website makes it clear that it does not accept ‘blacks, Asians, Jews or mixed abominations’ as members,” JBOD CEO Vic Alhadeff said. “There is zero tolerance for such bigotry.”
AR also postered several Victorian universities, including LaTrobe University Bendigo and Victoria University’s Footscray Park campus last weekend, and at Bendigo South East College and a campus in Ballarat.
Victorian MPs raised alarms about AR flyers in Footscray, which stated, “The Jews are the whole world’s enemy … they are pure evil [and] poison us through vaccines, processed foods, medications.”
The flyers, under investigation by police, were condemned by Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich for their “venomous ideology”.
The Footscray attacks prompted Caulfield MP David Southwick to call on the Andrews government to fully fund police to investigate, catch and prosecute offenders.
Southwick said in Parliament it was not the first attack in Footscray. “These anti-Semitic attacks are unacceptable and those responsible should feel the full force of the law.”
Describing the attacks as “vile and unacceptable”, Police Minister Lisa Neville acknowledged Southwick’s concerns and said she had also been approached by Footscray MP Marsha Thomson.
In Tasmania, the Launceston electoral office of Australian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson was plastered with AR posters, proclaiming, “raise the old swastika banner of fanatical resistance!”
Whish-Wilson told media that organisations “are coming out of the shadows now because they are given political cover by debates in this country around things like immigration”.
ECAJ research officer Julie Nathan reported the membership and geographic base of AR has been steadily growing since the group was formed in Melbourne in 2016 and predicted poster and sticker attacks will continue to escalate.
She said AR’s real threat is “not in its vile and genocidal propaganda, especially against Jews and homosexuals, or its targeting of innocent Australian youth as recruits. The real danger is in its propensity for violence as seen in its propaganda, its connections overseas, and in the publications it promotes. All of these espouse violence, including murder and terrorism.”