A cardiologist based in Victoria, Australia has issued a public apology after making antisemitic comments in a private e-mail.
Dr Arthur Nasis intended to respond to his sister, a property manager, regarding a negotiation over a rent reduction with her tenants during the coronavirus pandemic. The e-mail was inadvertently sent to the tenants, Paul and Susannah Swiatlo, as the property agent mistakenly forwarded the chain of e-mails to the tenants. It concluded with the statement: “Tell him to pack his Jew bags and f*** off”.
Ms Swiatlo, whose father had lost family members during the Holocaust, expressed shock and hurt at the casual use of such antisemitic language, and said that the incident has subsequently “sparked fear of the prevalence of antisemitism” in the community. She contact the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), and raised the matter with Monash Health and Monash University, however the tenant was told that the remark represented a private matter.
Following a discussion with the Australasian Jewish Medical Federation and condemnation from the Victorian Health Minister, Dr Nasis issued a statement in which he expressed regret and said that he “[looks] forward to maintaining a positive relationship with [his] Jewish medical colleagues and the wider Jewish community.”
The Executive Director for Monash Health has stated that the public health service has commissioned an urgent investigation into the matter to be undertaken by external experts, to ensure racism is not tolerated in or outside of the workplace.