Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been targeted with vile anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted on a Melbourne road.
Australian Financial Review columnist James Thomson posted a photo of the graffiti in Donvale this morning.
“Stop Dan Andrews,” it reads, with a Star of David replacing the “a” in Dan and a Swastika for the final “s”.
“Disgusted to see this on a road in Donvale in Melbourne’s east this morning,” Thomson wrote on Twitter. “Appreciate feelings are running high about the lockdown, but this vile garbage is plain wrong.”
ABC journalist Dan Ziffer called it “beyond stupid”. “If people want to better understand fascism they’d do well to visit the Holocaust Centre in Elsternwick when it reopens,” he wrote. “People living under the boot don’t get takeaway coffee and strolls in the park.”
Meanwhile, images circulating on social media depict Mr Andrews and chief health officer Brett Sutton as Nazi officers.
Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of civil rights organisation the Anti-Defamation Commission, told news.com.au the graffiti was “not just an attack on the Jewish community but an attack on all Victorians”.
“Such craven vandalism is a distressing reminder that anti-Semitism still remains strong and that there are individuals walking our streets with burning hatred in their hearts who will stop at nothing to promote their poisonous and ideology and elevate fear,” he said.
Dr Abramovich warned COVID-19 was fuelling “anti-Semitic and hateful conspiracy theories blaming the Jews for the pandemic”.
“Using this evil symbol to attack Premier Andrews is an insult to the memory of victims murdered at the hands of the Nazis and to those brave Australian soldiers who sacrificed their lives to defeat Hitler’s Third Reich,” he said.
“It is also a kick in the guts of every Holocaust survivor. We trust that those who carried out this outrageous act are identified and are brought to justice. We call on all religious and political leaders to declare in one voice that such reprehensible conduct will never be tolerated in our nation.”
It comes as the ADC issues a warning about an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory group with more than 1500 members on messaging app Telegram, after its page was deleted by Facebook earlier this week.
Screenshots from the “Millions Rise for Australia” group, which supported the rowdy anti-lockdown “Freedom Day” protests on the weekend, show users sharing posts blaming the Jews for COVID-19 and the September 11 attacks.
Another calls for Jews to be gassed. “Ignore the kike media! Only the gas awaits them!” the post reads.
Dr Abramovich described the group as a “dangerous echo chamber of bigoted rhetoric that is frightening in its intensity”.
“We know that online incitement and propaganda can feed acts of violence, and what (we) are seeing here is the old blood libel of medieval times that blamed Jews for causing the Black Death plague now being reconfigured to fit this modern global crisis,” he said.
“We call on Telegram to immediately de-platform this group as Facebook has done.”