Victorian government condemns spate of hate

The graffiti near Holmesglen station this week.

THE Victorian government has condemned a recent spate of antisemitic graffiti as “completely unacceptable”, and urged that those responsible be “caught and punished under the law”.

It comes as detectives investigate four separate incidents of antisemitic graffiti over the last fortnight.

Less than two weeks after a Jewish-owned cafe in Chadstone was vandalised twice with swastikas and Holocaust-denying messages, perpetrators this week targeted surrounding areas.

On Monday, they scrawled the words “Hitler was right!” on a wall in Ashwood, accompanied by a swastika. The words “Hitler Youth” were discovered nearby.

The graffiti at Ashwood.

The following day, vandals targeted Holmesglen railway station where they spray-painted “Hitler lives”, “Free Palestine death to Israel!” and “Rudolf Hess!”, along with a swastika and SS logo.

In the wake of the daubings, a government spokesperson told The AJN, “This behaviour is completely unacceptable – there is no place for antisemitism in Victoria.”

Noting that Victoria is “a proudly multicultural state”, the spokesperson added, “We stand by our Jewish community in condemning these acts and urge that those responsible are caught and punished under the law.”

A spokesperson for Victoria Police, meanwhile, said its investigation into the incidents “remains ongoing”.

Another daubing at Ashwood.

The spokesperson said, “Victoria Police does not tolerate violence and takes all crime seriously, including that which is motivated by prejudice, racism or discrimination.”

Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich described the vandalism as “toxic hatred that is threatening our way of life and safety”.

“It is now clear that the swastika epidemic that has invaded the streets of Melbourne over the last year is reaching fever pitch,” Abramovich said.

“We need to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to this growing cancerous hate speech and incitement.”

Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said it is critical that at a government level there is “condemnation of antisemitism in all of its forms to ensure that such views are permanently confined to the dark fringes of our society”. 

“I urge our community to respond to such hatred with positive acts, by supporting institutions in our community that preserve the memory and history of the Holocaust and protect the physical security of our community.”

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria said it was “closely monitoring and evaluating the current surge in antisemitic graffiti” and working with the Victoria Police to help educate communities against antisemitism and to help ensure the safety of the Jewish community.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.