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Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/australian/executive-council-aus-jews/antisemitism.1995


Reports of Antisemitic Incidents Reach New High

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, which keeps a database of
antisemitic incidents around Australia, received a record number of reports
of anti-Jewish threats, harassment and vandalism in 1995, the Council's
president Diane Shteinman revealed today.

"The Council received reports of 239 individual incidents, an increase over
the previous record year, 1994, of 5 per cent", Mrs Shteinman said.

"While we do not believe that Australia has become less tolerant, or that
Australians generally share the views of racists, our community members are
rightly concerned at this total, which is more than 30 per cent higher than
the average for the previous five calendar years", Mrs Shteinman added.

Amongst the incidents were vandalism of cemeteries and synagogues, graffiti
on Jewish shops and homes, as well as harassment of Jewish Australians
walking to or from synagogues.

"Fortunately, there was a decrease in the total number of direct, physical
harassment and property damage, with 1995's total 9 per cent below the
previous five year average.  However, the continuing activities of
individuals who sink so low as to paint swastikas on memorials to the
victims of Nazism or daub the words 'Kill Jews' in public places, must
cause concern", Mrs Shteinman said.

While reports of incidents of threatening telephone calls decreased
slightly, reports of anti-Jewish mail, generally personally addressed to
families in their own homes, rose by 6 per cent, to a figure 65 per cent
above the average of the past five years.

"In 1995, a number of individuals also reported receiving threatening or
abusive messages through electronic mail, which adds to this community's
concern at the abuse of the internet by anti-Jewish hate-mongers", Mrs
Shteinman reported.

"The content of hate messages incorporated a broad spectrum of anti-Jewish
invective, but it was particularly alarming to note that in the year
'Australia Remembered' World War II, some of the racists repeated Nazi
anti-Jewish myths or, in the context perhaps even more malevolently, denied
there ever was a Nazi murder campaign", Mrs Shteinman said.

"On the positive side of the ledger, there is a continuing decrease in the
number of comments in the mainstream media which members of the community
find demeaning or insulting and there has been a blossoming of positive
contact with Christian and Islamic groups which we hope will further
marginalise and decrease the influence of racist individuals and
organisations", Mrs Shteinman concluded.

Further information:		ECAJ

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