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Australians boycott Jewish businesses over Gaza: ‘Hitler would be proud’

Former governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove has said “Hitler would be proud” of Australians who are boycotting Jewish businesses over the war in Gaza.

The ex-Australian Defence Force chief was speaking in a new documentary hosted by Jewish former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in his upcoming Sky News documentary titled Never Again: The Fight Against Antisemitism, which airs on Tuesday.

“Watching what’s happening today in Australia, Hitler would be giving thumbs up to those radical elements who are trying to breach this great pillar of Australia’s national character,” Sir Cosgrove said when asked by Mr Frydenberg what his message would be to those carrying out anti-Semitic acts, The Herald Sun reported.

Dennis Richardson, former ASIO boss, Secretary of the Department of Defence and Ambassador to the US, echoed Sir Cosgrave’s comments, telling the documentary that Australia was “seeing echos” of Nazi Germany. He also described popular pro-Palestine slogan “from the river to the sea” as a violent statement.

The one-hour documentary also features interviews with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, and former prime ministers John Howard and Julia Gillard.

Josh Frydenberg Never Again anti-Semitism
Former treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s one-hour documentary airs on Tuesday

“Since the attack on October 7 antisemitism in Australia has reached an unprecedented and dangerous level. Red lines have been crossed and a green light given to what clearly is unacceptable conduct,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“This is a time our leaders need to show courage and moral clarity, taking stronger and more decisive action to call out and stamp out antisemitism in Australia.”

Pro-Palestine groups have been calling for consumers to avoid products made in Israel, demand the government cuts ties with Israeli arms manufacturers, and want superannuation funds not to invest in companies named by the United National Human Rights Council as being complicit in Israel’s human rights abuses, due to Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Activist group BDS Australia says that its campaigns for boycotts, divestments and sanctions are not anti-Semitic, and that critics equate criticism of Israel with criticism of Jews.

“In 2018, Israel enacted legislation declaring it to be the Nation State of the Jewish people. Apart from its obvious racist ramifications, this law may be seen as seeking to draw all Jews – wherever they live and whatever their nationalities – into its ambit, yet many of them have no wish to be ‘tainted’ with Israel’s crimes,” the group said.

“One possible consequence of this nationalistic identification of Jewishness with Israel may be a global growth in real anti-Semitism due to the risk of Israel’s crimes becoming more generally regarded as the responsibility not of Israel alone, but as that of all Jewish people.”

“Smearing critics of Israel as anti-Semitic simply because they oppose Israeli practices against Palestinians is unjustified.”

According to the United Nations, Israel’s military campaign has left 35,800 Palestinians dead, 60% of them women, children and the elderly, and 80,200 injured.

1,162 Israelis were killed and 5,400 injured in Hamas’ October 7 terror attacks, including 33 children, and Israel has reported 285 soldier deaths since the start of the ground compaign.

The documentary comes as Labor drafts new hate speech laws that will criminalise vilification based on race, gender, sexuality, religion or disability.

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