The Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, has condemned antisemitism in the Australian State of Victoria as “unacceptable and evil”.
In a press conference held yesterday, Mr Andrews responded to remarks made by a hospital worker in which she stated that the people who attended an “illegal” engagement party should be “should be put in a gas chamber”.
The hospital subsequently dismissed the employee from her role and said in a statement: “We are aware of a hospital support staff member who made an abhorrent and disgraceful antisemitic comment on Facebook. The comment does not reflect the Royal Melbourne Hospital and our values. We do not tolerate racial or religious hatred, contempt or ridicule. The staff member is no longer an employee of the hospital and we apologise for the hurt and anger this has caused. We stand with and support our Jewish staff members, patients and community.”
Mr Andrews, stating that he wanted to “call out some pretty appalling commentary”, said that “antisemitism is unacceptable and evil, and we have a zero-tolerance approach to that in our State”. Referring to the engagement party, Mr Andrews stated that “it was a stupid function, it was an illegal function” and that “those people are being dealt with”, but was keen to emphasise that the individuals who broke the rules were “not a reflection of the Jewish community more broadly” and that “it was not an act of faith or culture”. “It was not something that anyone should use to reflect upon a broader group of people in our Victorian community,” Mr Andrews said.
The Victorian Premier added: “We have a proud, Jewish community. A significant, Jewish community. And it is simply unacceptable and evil for anyone to be trading in some of the antisemitic behaviour and comments that we’ve seen recently…there is never, ever a place in Victoria for antisemitic behaviour or language. It’s simply evil.”
Last week, it was reported that 60 percent of Jews in Queensland have experienced antisemitism, according to a new survey.
The results of this survey come only a few months after a separate survey was published which, in contrast, showed that Australians generally have a very positive view of the Jewish community.