There have been renewed calls to ban the swastika in Australia after a resident in Perth placed a swastika on his window, in the third such incident of its kind in the country within months. According to reports, police told a shocked neighbor that while they would speak with the neighbor, they were powerless to remove it themselves.
A similar incident occurred last month, after a Nazi flag was scene waving from a light tower in the town of Wagga Wagga. Mayor Greg Conkey told The Australian Jewish News that he was “offended and disgusted,” by the incident, saying that the flag “does not reflect the feeling of this community in any shape or form.”
The first of these three incidents occurred in January, when a Nazi flag was flown on a backyard in Beulah, about four hours’ drive from Melbourne.
A government spokesperson confirmed that the incident in Perth was under investigation and condemned the expression of hatred, saying that the “material is offensive, distressing and a breach of community and moral standards.”
Reacting to the incident, Australia’s Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich, said, “As we witness a resurgence of antisemitism in our nation, spiking to alarming levels, the time has come to align actions with words.
“Leaders need to lead, and I call on Premier [Peter] Gutwein and his government to take the moral high ground and to legislate to ban the public display of this evil symbol – that violates every value that Australians cherish and live their lives by – without delay,” he added.
The controversy comes shortly after the WJC-affiliated Executive Council of Australian Jewry published a report finding 368 antisemitic incidents logged a 12-month period. The report found that number of incidents in the 12-month period was 56% higher than the average number over the previous seven years. Antisemitic incidents involving graffiti more than doubled, compared to the previous 12-month period, with 95 reported incidents in 2018, according to the report.
In June 2019, Australia became a full member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The intergovernmental organization’s working definition of antisemitism includes calling for the harm of Jews, spreading dehumanizing allegations about Jews, and blatant double standards against the State of Israel.