The attack on innocent Israelis on Saturday 4 October 2023 by a massive Hamas invasion from the Gaza Strip was sudden, well-prepared and unprovoked. Several hundreds of Israelis, including women, children and babies have been murdered, many abducted and thousands injured. Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organisation by dozens of countries. Established by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, it is dedicated to Israel’s destruction. The attacks shocked Australians. We have been also shocked by the horrendous anti-semitic responses in Australia, by some elements of the Islamic community.
Christopher Brohier, Director of Policy and Research for the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said, “In August this year the NSW Labor Government passed a law banning religious vilification. The Attorney-General’s media release at the time stated, “Landmark legislation to prohibit religious vilification passed NSW Parliament today. The amendment to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 makes it unlawful to, ‘by a public act, incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons, because of their religious belief, affiliation or activity”. That sentiment was ignored this week.
He said “Since 2018 the Crimes Act (s.93Z) has provided that:
‘A person who, by a public act, intentionally or recklessly threatens or incites violence towards another person or a group of persons on any of the following grounds is guilty of an offence–
(a) the race of the other person or one or more of the members of the group,
(b) that the other person has, or one or more of the members of the group have, a specific religious belief or affiliation…’
However, this week NSW Police have stood by while people shouted antisemitic slogans including, “Gas the Jews”,“f*ck the Jews” and “f*ck Israel”. The police did nothing to enforce the law. Instead, crowds waving Palestinian flags and chanting hatred against Australia’s Jewish community were protected, whilst a man peacefully holding a Jewish flag was arrested for a ‘breach of peace’. The question must be asked, why was not the NSW law enforced to protect Jewish Australians?”
ACL calls on all Australian Christians to pray for the innocent people on both sides of this conflict. Israel is suffering; the people of Gaza are suffering; all need prayer!
ACL calls on all Australian governments to:
- condemn attacks by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other groups against Israeli civilians;
- enforce the laws in Australia without favour and so stop those who would incite violence against Jewish people;
- recognise Israel’s right as a sovereign nation to use necessary and proportionate force to defend its borders and protect its citizens.