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NZJC statement on bomb and death threats in New Zealand

The New Zealand Jewish Council, along with the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand, is dismayed that Jewish Synagogues, Temples and centres in New Zealand have been the target of bomb and death threats. The organisations call on all parties to de-escalate the antisemitic rhetoric that is growing in New Zealand.

“When some of our political leaders in New Zealand scream Hamas terrorist chants, or use inflammatory terms, this directly incites antisemitic behaviour and we call on all leaders to consider their words carefully,” said Ben Kepes, Spokesperson for the New Zealand Jewish Council (NZJC).

The NZJC has noted with dismay the escalation of abuse on social media and at protest rallies since the 7 October terrorist attacks by Hamas. The council considers that holding Jews in New Zealand collectively responsible for the actions of the State of Israel is patently antisemitic.

Responding to the bomb threats, Deb Hart, Chair of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand commented that “the incendiary language of some protesting against Israel at the moment is inflaming tensions and has real-world consequences for the New Zealand Jewish community.

Kiwis have a right to protest but should choose their words carefully and not be part of inciting violence or calling for genocide against Jewish people.”

For 180 years, Jews have been part of New Zealand society and have participated actively in all facets of public and private life. The Jewish community is feeling increasingly marginalised and calls on all New Zealanders to embrace social cohesion rather than fuelling further division.

While the Jewish Council supports free speech, it does not support the incitement of verbal or physical violence against any individual or group.

The council notes that there has been a lack of public condemnation in our country to the growing antisemitism and call upon this country’s leaders in all fields to make strong statements recognising the total unacceptability of antisemitism within our motu

 

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