‘Jew die’ graffitied on Australian Jewish school

‘Jew Die’ was graffitied on the outer wall of a Melbourne Jewish school over the weekend, Victoria Police said on Monday, drawing outrage from Australian politicians and Jewish groups.

The Mount Scopus Memorial College was vandalized sometime between Friday night and Saturday noon, police said. No arrests have been made and Whitehorse Crime Investigation Unit detective appealed on Monday for the public’s assistance in the continuing investigation. Police have been conducting regular patrols in the vicinity of the Burwood school, and are canvasing the area hoping for witnesses or CCTV footage that may aid them.

‘No place for antisemtism’

“Victoria Police takes any reports of racial or religious based crime extremely seriously,” said the police. “Investigators have been in regular communication with the college since a report was made to police and understand that this incident has been extremely difficult for the school community. There is absolutely no place at all in our society for antisemitic sentiments or behavior.”

Mount Scopus Principal Dan Sztraijt, whose institution has schools for kindergarten to grade 12, addressed the secondary school staff and students on Monday regarding the incident.

Swastika painted onto an Australian road. (credit: ANTI-DEFAMATION COMMISSION)

“Some character trying to intimidate and get inside your head and make you question whether or not you should carry your Judaism proudly outside these walls, you should not listen to them, and you should walk out of here with your head held high, proudly knowing that as Jews and as Scopus Jews you are 100% part of this country,” said Sztraijt.

The address was attended by Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, Chisholm MP Dr. Carina Garland, and Macnamara MP and Mount Scopus alum Josh Burns.

“Jewish Australians, just like everyone else, deserve to be proud and safe to be who they are in Australia,” Burns said on Facebook on Monday in response to the vandalization of his old school. “Targeting a school is unacceptable and this hate has no place in Australia.”

Garland said on social media that she, Burns, and Marles met with the students, teachers, and families.

“Our government supports and stands with the Mount Scopus school community,” said Garland. “As the local Member, I will continue to work with local leaders and groups to maintain social cohesion.”

‘A society in decline’

Shadow Education Minister Sarah Henderson also visited the school, noting that the graffiti had been replaced by an Australian flag and a Hebrew banner that read “the nation of Israel lives.” Henderson reiterated that the government coalition would “not allow antisemitism to divide our community and our country.”

The Australian Jewish Association was critical of the current Labor government, arguing that there was a crisis of antisemitism in the country being fueled by the leadership’s alleged hostility to Israel, failure to enforce the law against university campus protests, and the permissiveness toward radical Islamic preachers.

“History teaches us that a rise in antisemitism means a society in decline,” said AJA.

Mount Scopus thanked the community and politicians for their support, and told its students that they would move on with strength and courage.

“We are proud Australians. We are proud Jews. and regardless of what happens we will stand up proudly for who we are,” Sztraijt said during his Monday address. “We’re still here.”