ZFA President Jeremy Leibler has participated in a global forum on antisemitism convened by the Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli at the Knesset.
Also speaking at the conference was Yaakov Hagoel, Chairmen of the World Zionist Organisation, Josh Schwartz, Secretary-General of he Jewish Agency for Israel, Dani Dayan, Chairman of Yad Vashem, and representatives from Jewish Diaspora communities in Germany, France, the US and Australia.
In his remarks, Mr Leibler stressed that “while the battle against antisemitism around the world is necessary and critical, we know in Australia that the best deterrent against antisemitism and the primary way of ensuring that Diaspora Jewry feel safe is a strong State of Israel”.
Mr Leibler spoke of the impact the surge in antisemitism in Australia in the wake of 7 October had on the Australian Jewish community. “Within days of Hamas’ brutal attacks on 7 October, our sense of safety, acceptance and comfort within Australian mainstream society came crashing down.”
Citing the ECAJ’s annual report on antisemitism, which was released in the days before his presentation, Mr Leibler noted the 738 per cent increase in reported antisemitism October and November last year, compared to the year before.
Mr Leibler provided just a handful of the examples of rallies and events that were designed to intimidate Australia’s Jewish community, such as the ‘gas the Jews’ rally outside the Sydney Opera House, the night it was lit in blue and white in solidarity with Israel; the protest outside a shule in the heart of Jewish Melbourne that caused it to be evacuated; and the motorbike convoy designed to intimidate the Sydney Jewish community.
Mr Leibler concluded, “The situation in Australia is extremely challenging. However, we are grateful to have support from both major political parties and we have seen several business leaders speak out publicly to call out the rise in antisemitism in Australia. The sense of isolation that the Australian Jewish community feels is confronting and real. However, I can say with confidence that achdut – the unity we have seen in Israel and the Jewish world since 7 October has also brought us all together.”