Posted on 30 September 2020

Executive Council of Australian Jewry

1 October 2019 – 30 September 2020

During the twelve-month period, from 1 October 2019 to 30 September 2020, there were 331 antisemitic incidents logged by volunteer Community Security Groups (CSGs), official Jewish state roof bodies, and the ECAJ. The total figure consists of 188 attacks and 143 threats.

In the previous 12-month period, ending 30 September 2019, these same bodies logged 368 incidents. Accordingly, there was a decrease of 10% in the overall number of reported antisemitic incidents compared to the previous year. However, given that the average number of reported antisemitic incidents each year from 2013 to 2019 was 272, the number of reported incidents in 2020 is above the average by 59 incidents. For Attacks, the average for the same period was 161, and for Threats, the average was 111.

From 2019 to 2020, there was a marked increase in the number of the most serious categories of incidents: with a doubling in the number of reported incidents of physical assault from 4 to 8; a 12% increase in direct verbal abuse, harassment and intimidation from 114 such incidents in 2019 to 128 in 2020; a 229% increase in the number of reported direct threats by postal mail from 7 to 23; and slight increases in threats via telephone and posters and stickers. There were decreases in several categories: the number of incidents of vandalism of Jewish institutions decreased by 17% compared to the previous year; the number of reports of antisemitic graffiti declined by 56%; and direct online or email threats declined by 23%.

The increase in the number of more serious incidents is especially concerning in light of the fact that synagogues and other Jewish community facilities were closed for varying periods from March onwards due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and there were thus fewer opportunities for antisemites to abuse, harass and intimidate Jews in the vicinity of those facilities as they have done in the past. In previous years, these kinds of incidents have often occurred during the Jewish Sabbath (Friday evenings and Saturdays) and festivals when many Jews walk to and from synagogue.

The fact that substantial increases occurred in the number of assaults and incidents of direct verbal abuse, harassment and intimidation at a time of significant reduction in the visibility of Jews on the streets may indicate a rise in the underlying level of anti-Jewish sentiment. This would correlate with the proliferation during the year of antisemitic discourse blaming “the Jews” for the pandemic, a new iteration of a classical form of antisemitism that is based on unfounded conspiracy theories. Most of this discourse was online, but there was also one reported incident of graffiti with the words “The real virus is globalism” juxtaposed beside a Star of David.



“Globalized antisemitism is a thriving international enterprise that transverses cultures and civilizations. You can help us fight the this most enduring, pervasive, and lethal mode of hatred.”

Raheel Raza



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“No other widespread prejudice has characterized people as such cosmological threats…. No other prejudicial discourse has been so eliminationist or produced such regular calls for violence and extermination.”

Prof. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

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