News and events

Sign of the times?

A few weeks ago I was walking along Hotham Street in Balaclava and noted security people on duty outside some of the Jewish buildings. Fairly low-key — just a man and a woman in suits with radios. They said good morning, and I reciprocated. I grew up near there, and it didn’t used to be that way. It’s becoming clear that, unfortunately, it’s a sign of the times.

Over the weekend some morons attacked people outside Glick’s Jewish bakery in Balaclava, and smashed a window. That’s less than a year after another attack further up Balaclava Road. And the local newspapers are reporting allegations that players from McKinnon Cricket Club posted anti-Semetic comments on Facebook, targetted at the Maccabi AJAX Cricket Club.

While it’s pleasing that the authorities in all these cases are taking it seriously (police are investigating, and Glen Eira Council may evict McKinnon Cricket Club from their ground), it does make me wonder what the hell’s going on. The Jewish community in Melbourne is very well established, having lived in the inner-southeast for decades, and while I know there’s long been anti-Semitism (I recall mild versions of it when I was at school), I would have thought in the 21st century we would have been beyond nasty idiotic acts like this.

Okay, so some people might disagree with some of the things Israel has been doing, but there’s no evidence any of this is politically motivated — from the looks of it, it’s just racist idiots targetting those who are different from them — those involved in the attack at Glick’s were earlier observed chasing an Indian man, calling him an Arab.

Given Pauline Hanson’s latest mindless ranting (Headline: “Hanson sick of Muslims” — yeah well I’m sick of Pauline Hanson) I fear ethnic groups may be in for a rough ride in the coming months.

(Previous posting on this topic.)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

5 replies on “Sign of the times?”

yes, we certainly don’t need this sort of thing in Melbourne.
I’m not sure that the attacks are really anti-Jew motivated. Could be just thick-heads wanting to break windows and bash people for (sick) fun. The fact the victims are Jewish could be an excuse.

I think I can safely say where ever there is a synagogue or even Jewish schools, there will be security guards. In spite of the Balaclava incident, I wonder if it is not overkill. That so many public places employ guards says to me that our police force is seriously lacking.

Then again, a guard at St Patricks would have saved some people a lot of anxt.


Thanks for your thoughts and I agree with you entirly. Its a tragedy people can’t walk safely around the streets without security.

Wow. Pauline Hanson is still around? I thought she had Dorothy’s house fall on her and squash her flat or have I got my wicked witches confused? So long as Howard is in power she is not going to get elected for anything, I’d imagine. Not that he’s likely to be around for much longer.

I also noticed that spate of anti-semitic feeling during last week with some concern. Did you also see the news article about the Qantas air-hostess who was making some very unpleasant anti-Jewish comments to a passenger about another passenger? The first one replied that he was Jewish and was told be her that he should have a talk to the other one (an elderly French woman) because “she was letting down your side”. Apparently he’s made an official complaint – and good on him for following through with it. Unforgivable behaviour.
I do some volunteer work with an agency that rescues food from shops, restaurants etc from going to landfill and the a sizable number of the people who volunteer are from the Jewish community; there is a real sense of wanting to help others as part of their culture and religion, perhaps in part because of (or insspite)what they’ve suffered through history, and I wish more people could see that. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about their culture and their sense of community.

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