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Jewish protesters in octopus costumes rally outside Greens MP’s office after ‘tentacle’ remarks

A group of protesters dressed in octopus costumes have gathered at the Sydney office of a Greens MP who was forced to apologise for referring to the “tentacles” of the Jewish lobby.

A photo posted by the Australian Jewish Association shows one demonstrator wearing a giant inflatable orange octopus suit and an Orthodox Jewish hat and beard outside Jenny Leong’s office in Newtown, while another is in blue octopus headgear and a third holds a mollusc soft toy.

“Message to the Australian Greens, ‘Jews don’t have tentacles’,” the post was captioned.

The outfits refer to a Nazi cartoon from 1938 depicting former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as an octopus with the Jewish Star of David above its head and its tentacles encircling the globe, which appears to be slipping out of his grasp.

Nazi cartoon by Seppla (Josef Plank), 1938 (Library of Congress)

The pro-Palestinian Greens MP apologised this week after video emerged of her telling a Palestine Justice Movement forum in December that “the Jewish lobby and the Zionist lobby are infiltrating into every single aspect of what is ethnic community groups”.

“They rock up and they’re part of the campaign and offer support for things like the campaign against the 18C racial discrimination laws, they offer solidarity, they rock up to every community event and meeting to offer that connection because their tentacles reach into the areas that try and influence power,” Ms Leong said.

“We need to call that out and expose it.”

But after she was criticised by Jewish groups who said she had “plumbed new and dangerous depths”, and by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Premier Chris Minns, Ms Leong published a lengthy apology saying she had used an “inappropriate word”.

“[I] framed an argument in an inappropriate way that has caused offense, had antisemitic implications, and has been hurtful to people. For that, I apologise wholeheartedly and unreservedly,” she wrote.

Mr Albanese addressed the video in Question Time and said: “I condemn, totally, any form of anti-Semitism – including the comments by my local member, the member for Newtown, whose comments about tentacles, with regard to the Jewish community, I find offensive.

“I find it had its origins in anti-Semitism, and I condemn it un­equivocally.”

Mr Minns said: “Everyone, particularly [that] Greens MP, has to be really careful about commentary, particularly in relation to ethnic groups, racial groups, particularly for longstanding tropes.”

Ms Leong, a far-left activist with an ethnic Chinese father and a White Australian mother, has a long history of making racist comments about White people on social media despite her mixed heritage, but has never been criticised for it by her peers in Parliament.

“Nothing tops the arrogance of a mediocre White man,” she wrote in 2021.

“New Nationals Leader and Deputy Premier of NSW is best know [sic] for imposing forced council amalgamations on communities across the state – including our beloved inner west. He also now completes the all White, male leadership team in NSW. Time for a revolution,” she said on X in the same year.

She has also regularly mocked “White tears”, disparaged “White moderates” and raged about “White cis-men”, “White folks” “White privileged men” and the “White patriarchy” in dozens of X posts, and once wrote that “White male tears made her physically ill”.

As well as leading pro-Palestine protests despite being elected as a state MP with no foreign policy brief, Ms Leong has also participated in anti-Australian ‘invasion day’ demonstrations where participants have called for the abolition of the country.

“White Australia has a black history – Always was, always will be Aboriginal land,” she wrote in 2017, borrowing an ahistorical slogan used by militant Indigenous activists to demand land seizures and deny Australian sovereignty.

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