New York, NY, October 27, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called for a thorough investigation into the violent, anti-Semitic gang-style attack on a group of six Jews in Sydney, Australia on Friday night, calling the assault “unconscionable and shocking” and “hauntingly reminiscent of what happened to Jews on the streets of Europe in the 1930s.” The League called on the Australian government to consider the passage of stronger hate crime laws that could serve as a deterrent to similar bigoted acts in the future.
According to various reports, a group of Jews returning home from Shabbat services was accosted on the street by a gang of teenagers who allegedly shouted anti-Jewish slurs. This soon escalated into a violent melee, with the Jewish victims reportedly suffering various degrees of physical injuries.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
It is unconscionable and shocking that a group of visibly identifiable Jews was singled out for a vicious, gang-style assault as they were returning home from services on Friday night in Sydney. It is hauntingly reminiscent of what happened on the streets of Europe in the 1930s. No society should tolerate this kind of anti-Semitic belligerence and, if media and police accounts of the incident are true, we hope that law enforcement will thoroughly investigate this crime and punish the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.
No one anywhere should be singled out for violence because of their physical appearance or their religious beliefs. The world will be watching to see the severity of the punishments meted out in this case.
We welcome the swift condemnation of the attack by Australian government officials and the work of law enforcement in quickly identifying the alleged perpetrators and arresting some of them. The Australian government can do more, however, to protect victims of hate crimes and to send the strongest possible message that such acts will not be tolerated.
The Australian government should consider the enactment of strong hate crime laws, similar to those in the United States, which can serve as a deterrent to hate crimes in the future. Criminal activity motivated by bias is different from other criminal conduct. Hate crimes polarize communities and damage the very fabric of society. We urge Australian lawmakers to enact legislation which provides for the enhancement of penalties for those convicted of bias-motivated crimes.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.