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Australian Jewish Student Forced to Kiss Muslim Student’s Feet for Being Jewish

[additional-authors]
October 3, 2019
Photo from Max Pixel.

An Australian Jewish student was forced to kiss a Muslin student’s feet or else he would be physically assaulted for being Jewish, the Australian Jewish News (AJN) reports.

The Cheltenham Secondary College Jewish student, 12, was at a Melbourne park near the school back in July when the Muslim student and nine other students from the same school surrounded him and issued the aforementioned threat. 

The incident was filmed and was shared extensively on Instagram. Since then, the Jewish student has been subjected to anti-Semitic slurs at school and was assaulted in a locker room by one of the students who watched him kiss the Muslim student’s feet.

The Jewish student’s mother told AJN that the school didn’t take any disciplinary action against the Muslim student or any onlookers because the incident didn’t take place on school property.

“They didn’t even want to call it anti-Semitism,” the mother said. “To avoid action, everything becomes an ‘isolated incident,’ so then it is not bullying or religious vilification.”

She told the Sydney Morning Herald that she met with the Muslim student’s parents over the matter, and they were appalled over what had occurred.

“We sat down, his parents, the two boys and myself, around the table and explained the velocity of [the bullying] and what it meant to us as parents as far as building bridges between Jews and Muslims in society and not creating division like that photo does,” the mother said.

Northwest Victoria Department of Education Director Barbara Crowe told the Sydney Morning Herald, “This was not acceptable and would have been an unpleasant experience for [the boy]. I am sorry that this occurred.”

AJN also reported on extensive anti-Semitic bullying of a five-year-old Jewish student at Hawthorn West Primary School stemming from the student being circumcised. The student has been subjected to anti-Semitic slurs like “Jewish vermin” and “dirty Jew.”

The bullying had reached a point where the student broke down one morning, telling his mother, “Mummy, you shouldn’t love me. I’m a worthless Jewish rodent. I’m vermin.”

The student’s parents discussed the matter with the school’s principal, advocating for a program against anti-Semitism. The principal refused.

“[The school] refused to accept there was an anti-Semitic issue,” the five-year-old Jewish student’s mother told AJN, adding that they simply attributed it to bullying and they didn’t “want to make other students feel uncomfortable.”

The student’s parents are searching for a different school for him, and is being homeschooled in the meantime, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Anti-Defamation Commission Chairman Dvir Abramovhich told the UK Daily Mail, “This is [a] stain on Victoria’s education system that will long endure. Bullying and harassment of Jewish students at public schools is a deeply embedded virus that is reaching pitch-fever and should alarm us all. We are gradually reaching a point of no return.”

The Anti-Defamation League tweeted, “No child should be subjected to this type of horrible #antiSemitic abuse. We stand with our partners & the Jewish community in Australia in calling for schools administrators to take more action to stop this #hate.”

According to an Executive Council of Australian Jewry report, anti-Semitic incidents increased 59 percent from 2017 to 2018 in the country.

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