Flyers calling for action from “white Australia” have been distributed to Sydney households, the latest in what Jewish groups are calling a “concerning rise” in anti-Semitic incidents.
Residents of a predominantly Jewish street in Bondi received the flyers on Monday, an American-based Jewish newspaper has reported.
The Algemeiner reported that the flyers, which stated that “Jews have been kicked out of countries 109 times throughout history”, were hand delivered to mail boxes.
The flyers also included an invitation for people to join Squadron 88, a local white power group which claim to have printed more than 10,000 flyers for distribution.
The group, whose Facebook page has garnered more than 200 likes since its creation in June, has been condemned by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.
Chief executive officer Vic Alhadeff told SBS the flyer contained “an appalling litany of hate speech”.
“It is deeply concerning that such blatant race hatred is alive and well in our country and it is instructive that such groups believe the climate is now conducive for them to come out of the woodwork,” he said.
Listen: Vic Alhadeff speaks with Stephanie Anderson.
Mr Alhadeff said there had been an increase in anti-Semitic incidents and sentiments in recent weeks, including the verbal attack on a group of Jewish schoolchildren on a Bondi-bound bus earlier this month.
“This violates everything that our country stands for, as a proudly multicultural nation,” he said.
“… It’s extremely concerning for resident. It’s extremely concerning for all well-meaning members of society.
“This is not a society where we expect hate speech.”
Mr Alhadeff said police had been notified, but NSW Police could not confirm that the flyers had been reported as of Tuesday afternoon.
'Hateful and unAustralian'
Malcolm Turnbull, whose seat covers the suburb of Bondi, has condemned the fliers as hateful and unAustralian.
In a statement, Mr Turnbull said Australia should have zero tolerance for racism and racial hatred.
“Racism and race hatred is a threat to our nation and its security,” he said.
“It must be opposed, called out and condemned wherever it is found.
“The racist, anti-Semitic leaflets distributed in Bondi today are not just a crude and vicious attempt to intimidate and insult the Jewish community, these leaflets seek to undermine the security and the harmony of Australia and hence of all Australians.”
'We cannot be complacent in our fight'
Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane told SBS the flyers were a worrying sign that extremists were being “emboldened” to spread their messages.
“One of the unintended consequences of the debate that we’ve had about race in the past 12 months is that it’s encouraged a small minority to believe they now have licence to express their racial hatred and their doctrines of racial purity,” he said.
“… The signal that we send as a society is fundamentally important.”
Listen: Tim Soutphommasane speaks with Stephanie Anderson.
He said the debate around issues such as the proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, now dropped by the Abbott Government, needed to be carried out carefully.
“When people hear such sentiments as having a complete right to express racial doctrine or bigotry, then they start to believe that they have absolute freedom to do so,” he said.
“… We cannot be complacent in our fight against racial intolerance and bigotry.”
He said people who felt vilified by the flyers could contact the Australian Human Rights Commission under the Act, which has seen similar cases taken to court.
Squadron 88 has been contacted for comment.