A peak Jewish community organisation has condemned a “repugnant” act carried out by a protester at a rally in Sydney at the weekend amid ongoing tensions in the Middle East.
20 May 2021
Thousands marched through the city in protest at Israel’s actions in the escalating conflict in Gaza.
Protesters outside Sydney’s Town Hall carried Palestinian flags and placards demanding “Free Palestine”.
But it was one attendee bearing a mock Israeli flag that caught the eye of a passerby and his grandmother.
The protester had a sign with the blue and white national flag of Israel.
But instead of the Star of David at the centre of the flag, there was a Nazi swastika.
The man who saw the flag described it as “disgusting”.
“The government should be banning things like this and arresting this man,” he told 7NEWS.com.au.
“I was walking with my grandma who is a Holocaust survivor when we saw this – (it was) so horrible for her.”
Displaying the swastika in public is not an offence in Australia.
But the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies believes it should be.
Its CEO Darren Bark said the use of the Nazi swastika in any context is a “heartless act of bullying and intimidation”.
“It is repugnant for a protester to use such a grossly offensive image in Australia that symbolises the mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust as a means of depicting Israel, the nation-state for the Jewish people and the only democracy in the region.
“Its use was clearly intended to offend and terrorise the local Jewish Community.”
He said the display was an “insult” in any context.
“The Jewish community holds in our thoughts all those affected by current events and hopes for peace and safety for all,” he added.
A New South Wales Police spokesperson told 7NEWS.com.au officers who patrolled the rally weren’t made aware of the flag.
Even if they had, she reiterated that it is not an offence in Australia to display the swastika in public.