Laws banning the Nazi salute and the display or sale of symbols associated with terror groups came into effect in Australia on Monday as the government responded to a rise in antisemitic incidents following the Israel-Gaza war.
The law makes it an offence punishable by up to 12 months in prison to publicly perform the Nazi salute or display the Nazi swastika or the double-sig rune associated with the Schutzstaffel (SS) paramilitary group.
Australia’s Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said in a statement the legislation sent a clear message there was no place in Australia for those who glorify the Holocaust or terrorist acts.
“This is the first legislation of its kind and will ensure no one in Australia will be allowed to glorify or profit from acts and symbols that celebrate the Nazis and their evil ideology.”
Introduced in June and passed in December, the law has taken on new significance amid a surge in antisemitism and Islamophobia following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, where some 1,200 were killed and 240 taken hostage, according to Israeli officials.
Unverified footage showing a small group of men outside the iconic Opera house shouting “Gas the Jews” during a pro-Palestinian protest in October triggered outrage around the world and a police investigation.
Separately, police arrested three men in October for performing the Nazi salute outside the Jewish Museum of Australia. There were more anti-Jewish incidents in October and November last year than in the twelve months prior, according to the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.
The new law also bans the public display or trade in symbols associated with prohibited terror organisations, such as Islamic state, Hamas or the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Alarming Rise of Antisemitism in Australia
Antisemitism, the prejudice and discrimination against Jewish people, has been on the rise in Australia, causing concern and distress within the community. Recent reports and incidents have highlighted a disturbing trend that demands attention and action.
Australia has a long and dark history of antisemitism, with various incidents and discriminatory actions targeting the Jewish population. This article provides a detailed overview of the historical context and sheds light on the prevalence of antisemitism in the country.
In recent times, Australia has witnessed a significant surge in antisemitic incidents, prompting hundreds of prominent Australians to sign a letter condemning the appalling rise in antisemitism. The sharp increase in such incidents has raised serious concerns and sparked a nationwide conversation about the roots and implications of this concerning trend.
The rise in antisemitism is not isolated from global events. The Israel-Gaza conflict has been cited as a contributing factor, with a noticeable escalation in antisemitic incidents in Australia coinciding with the conflict. This news article provides insights into the link between international events and the surge in antisemitism within Australian borders.
Despite the challenges posed by the rise in antisemitism, numerous prominent figures and advocacy groups have continued to stand up against this discrimination. The unwavering commitment to addressing and eradicating antisemitism is crucial for fostering a unified and inclusive society, as emphasized in this report by VOA News.