The New Zealand Jewish Council has witnessed with sadness the antisemitic vandalism of the statue of the Jewish former Auckland Mayor, Sir Dove-Myer Robinson.
An image shown on the New Zealand Herald website shows that the statue was daubed with a swastika, and the words “free Palestine”, after a pro-Palestine rally that took place on Sunday in Auckland’s Aotea Square.
This comes as the Jewish Community of New Zealand is experiencing a dramatic surge in antisemitic abuse and incidents including threats of violence, vandalism to private and public property, and bullying of school and university students.
It must be assumed that defacing the statue of a Jewish man with a swastika was calculated to cause more offence and instill further fear in our community. While protest is a proud and vital New Zealand tradition, the Council strongly denounces all acts of incitement, vandalism and violence and calls upon all parties to be respectful and avoid further descent into civil unrest.
New Zealand Jewish Council Spokesperson Juliet Moses says “”Robbie” is Auckland’s longest-standing mayor. The Jewish community is proud of his significant contributions to the city, and defacing his statue with a swastika is a shameful desecration of his legacy. We call on civic, political and faith leaders to condemn the acts of unlawful and threatening defacement committed under the guise of protest against Israel that we have seen in the last month.”