Around the world, and around this country, there is increasing support for far-right politics, fascism and neo-Nazism. At Milo Yiannopoulos’ talk on Monday night a group of around 40 far-right people, including some known neo-Nazis, gathered outside the talk to incite hatred and violence. As well as racist language and attacks on Muslims, a number of those present chanted the names of concentration camps at a young Jewish woman who was there with a group from Jews against Fascism.
Some people in line waiting to hear Milo were filmed doing Hitler salutes. One group of fascists violently assaulted three protesters as they were trying to leave. More reports are emerging of those who attended Milo’s talk assaulting residents of the Kensington Housing Estate. As Jews we know too well where such violence and hate speech leads. Dissidence and active resistance to the mainstreaming of these ideas is vital.
Although there are some who argue that Milo and his associates are not Nazis, we believe that attaching that badge is accurate and important. Milo and Avi Yemeni, who was with the far-right camp, deflect the idea that they are Nazis as preposterous because they are Jewish or have Jewish ancestry. Yet, they nonetheless organise with and alongside Nazis who espouse violent racist views which are clearly informed by, and continue a history of, those offered by the Nazi regime in fascist Europe. These gangs adopt the superior race Nazi ideology, provoke violence, and the use of Nazi references and imagery is always within arm’s reach. This is what we mean by Nazis. Buzzfeed, whilst exposing Yiannopoulos’ enthusiasm for working with Nazis, has also exposed that Milo has used passwords including Kristallnacht and other antisemitic references. One needn’t look far to discover the horrific and vitriolic things Milo has said and done, including being an apologist for paedophilia.
It is widely known and reported that Yemini has said he would be antisemitic if he weren’t Jewish. It’s time we in the Jewish community stopped letting these men and their supporters hide behind the façade that they cannot possibly be Nazis because of their Jewish identities.
We send our solidarity and support to the residents of the Kensington estate, many of whom are refugees, and a significant number of Muslims, who faced with bravery and resilience vile fascists using verbal and physical abuse, behind the protection of Victorian Police. Victoria Police, in turn, have a long recognised history of systemic racism, racial profiling, and harassment of this community, which came out on the night through their use of provocation, racial slurs, and intimidation.
In Australia at the present moment we can also clearly see the effects of racism on Aboriginal people, refugees, people seeking asylum and other marginalised peoples. There is a rise in Islamophobia and antisemitism. We send solidarity to all peoples facing the brunt of the rise of racism and fascism.
This solidarity can only be made tangible by us, as well as other Jewish groups and individuals, making clear our public opposition to fascism and neo-Nazism. As we are witnessing the rise in far-right politics, we are seeing a corresponding wave of active resistance and supportive networking, to which we are firmly committed. We look forward to working alongside other Jewish and non-Jewish organisations and peoples in order to oppose this fascist violence and change the discourses which currently dominate our society.