The Divergence of Judaism and Islam. Interdependence, Modernity, and Political Turmoil

(Joyce) #1

106 · Suzanne D. Rutland

Maintaining security at all Jewish communal institutions is needed be-
cause, according to the Australian police, Jews are a popular terrorist
target, but this has placed a significant financial burden on the Australian
Jewish community.
From September 2000, members of parliament expressed deep con-
cern and stressed their opposition to anti-Semitic attacks. Following the
doubling of the number of anti-Semitic incidences in 2003, the following
motion was presented to the federal parliament:

Parliament takes note of
(a) the long history of anti-Semitism and its lethal capacity to in-
fluence many people to express hatred and carry out violence
against Jewish people;
(b) [an] alarming rise in the incidence of violent anti-Semitic acts
in many countries which have killed Jews and non-Jews alike,
the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and memorials and targeted
assaults on individual members of the Jewish community; and
(c) [a] disturbing upsurge of anti-Semitic propaganda in print, on
the Internet and circulated through emails, often in the form of
false accusations that Jews are involved in conspiracies against
other people.

Parliament then announced “its unequivocal condemnation of anti-Sem-
itism” and resolved “to condemn all manifestations of anti-Semitism in
Australia as a threat to the freedoms that all citizens should enjoy equally
in a democratic society” and “to take all possible concrete actions at a
national level to combat this threat to our peaceful and diverse nation.”^29
Following extensive debate in both houses, it was passed with strong
bipartisan support. The point was made that the core of multiculturalism
was the importance of tolerance and the acceptance of diversity. A simi-
lar motion was also passed by the New South Wales state parliament on
February 24, 2004, again with strong bipartisan support. Despite these
well-intentioned resolutions, anti-Jewish incidents have increased, with
a few violent incidents occurring in both Sydney and Melbourne. Kevin
Dunn’s 2004 study showed that while racist feelings toward the other
groups in Australian society—the Aborigines, the Asians, and also Mus-
lims—is related to age, so that the younger age groups hold less racist
attitudes toward these groups than those over sixty, there is no parallel

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