As anti-Israel demonstrations continue to spread hate on Australian streets, Jewish community leaders and supporters gathered in Melbourne at the weekend to stand in solidarity against the growing threat of antisemitism.
The ‘Walk For Unity’ rally, marked by a sense of resilience, drew attention to various incidents of discrimination faced by the Jewish community, including boycotts of businesses owned by Jewish individuals.
Participants I spoke with conveyed a strong message of peace and unity, asserting that they are not a violent community but one that seeks harmony among diverse cultures.
Concerns about rising antisemitism in Australia were common theme, with some drawing parallels to historical events like those preceding World War II. It comes as Israel’s National Security Council has issued heightened travel advisories for 80 countries, including Australia.
Attendees stressed their patriotism to both Australia and Israel, showcasing a peaceful gathering adorned with Australian flags.
Even some of Iranian heritage came out in support of the Jewish community, distancing themselves from their government’s stance. The diverse crowd, including Christians, joined the rally to condemn antisemitism, echoing a call for “strength and unity in the face of darkness.”
A key distinction was drawn between the peaceful rally in support of the Australian Jewish community and the “anti-Israel hatefests” on display at protests organised in support of Palestine.
Some told me of their personal experiences as immigrants who left countries due to antisemitism, only to witness its resurgence in Australia.
Surprise at the scale of hatred against Jews was a common reaction on the day, with many calling for support from the broader Australian community.