'F**k The Far Right': Swastikas And Neo-Nazi Groups Are Marring This Election
Greens co-deputy leader Adam Bandt is the latest politician to be targeted by anti-Semitism, in a federal election marred by hateful rhetoric.
Bandt, running for re-election in the seat of Melbourne, had several election posters vandalised with swastikas recently. He called it was a "hateful" and "malicious" message to his constituents that "there are people who don't accept who they are".
"There are hundreds of Jewish people in my electorate. There are thousands of people in my electorate who aren’t white or straight, who don’t have blonde hair and blue eyes," Bandt wrote on Facebook.
"We won’t be intimidated by fascists. We won’t be intimidated by Nazis and those who seek to divide us. We have cleaned this swastika off and we will redouble our efforts to fight fascists and the far-right, whose disgusting ideology we will not let infiltrate Melbourne. If they do it again, we’ll clean it again.
"F**k the far-right."
It's the latest anti-Semitic incident in what is becoming an increasingly ugly federal election, with politicians of all sides embroiled in controversy.
Speaking to 10 daily, Bandt said senior conservative politicians had been legitimising far right hate speech in Australia, giving rise to these sorts of attacks.
"Once you start attacking one particular race or religious group, you open up the attack on a wide range of religions and people," Bandt said.
"Politicians across the political spectrum need to have a zero tolerance approach to racism, division and the far right hate speech.
"Far right groups want to undermine democracy and turn it into something else. Their views lead to people being attacked, and in some instances, killed."
Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, said this latest incident is a symptom of a much larger issue.
"This vandalism against Adam Bandt, which is a direct assault on our democracy and which we strongly decry, did not happen in a vacuum, but is a symptom of a bigger problem of agitated right-wing extremists who are determined to make their presence felt in the real world," he said.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who is Jewish, had some of his campaign posters defaced with Hitler-style moustaches just days before the election was officially called.
At the time, Frydenberg condemned the vandalism as unacceptable and cowardly.
"It’s one thing for these cowards to graffiti a sign, but it’s another thing altogether to invoke the horrors of the Holocaust and the evils of Hitler and the Nazis," he said.
Independent MP for Wentworth, Kerryn Phelps, referred an anti-Semitic email circulating in her electorate to the federal police, which claimed Jewish people were responsible for spreading measles. The email specifically names Phelps, a long-term practising doctor, and incorrectly claims she "brought in thousands of sick kids from refugee camps -full of diseases- into Australia".
The vile email continues to ask recipients to call friends who live in the Wentworth electorate, and ask them to not vote for Phelps.
NT Labor Senate candidate Wayne Kurnoth resigned this week after it was revealed he shared an anti-Semitic theory from noted conspiracy David Icke, who propagates the theory the world is run by a secret Jewish network of alien lizard people.
Australia saw an an unprecedented 60 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, according to a report from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.
Swastikas, anti-Semitic messages, and stickers posted by neo-Nazi groups have appeared everywhere from bus shelters to children's playgrounds.
Abramovich said social media is partly to blame for the rise in such activity.
"Social media has enabled these bigots to communicate with other like-minded individuals and groups, who reinforce and feed their warped ideology and give them a sense of legitimacy," he told 10 daily.
He called on all politicians and candidates to take a stronger stand against intolerance, saying the deadly attacks on mosques in Christchurch and a synagogue in San Diego should serve as a "call to action" to stamp out the growing threat.
"If we truly want to defeat intolerance, we need to ensure that hate is never accepted or mainstreamed, especially when expressed by a politician or anyone running for elected office," he said.
"This is the moment to not only take a stand, but to redouble our efforts in educating everyone about the dangers and consequences of such unchecked prejudice.”
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