How an Aria of Hatred Came to the Opera House at Sydney

Islamic radicals chant ‘burn the Jews,’ while the only person detained by police is an elderly Jewish man holding an Israeli flag.

Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images
Police stand along the Sydney Opera House forecourt as supporters of Palestinians rally on October 9, 2023, at Sydney, Australia. Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Australia is widely perceived as a land of sun-drenched beaches and laid-back optimism, best expressed through the iconic phrase, “She’ll be right, mate.” So, many were shocked by the story of a mob of jihadi wannabes rioting at the Sydney Opera House against the city council’s decision to bathe the international landmark in the blue and white of Israel’s flag.

This motley crew of Islamic radicals, reinforced by all the usual suspects from the hard left, set off fireworks and chanted, “Burn the Jews.” For years, ultra-conservative Muslims and ultra-progressive leftists have put aside their ideological differences, united in their mutual loathing of Jewish national self-determination.

It is commonplace to see protesters bearing socialist banners and Hezbollah flags marching arm-in-arm at pro-Palestinian street rallies at Melbourne and Sydney. Just this week, as details of the murder spree perpetrated by Hamas in southern Israel began to emerge, an Australian Greens MP expressed her disgust that “tonight the Opera House will be lit up in support of Israel.”

At the Sydney suburb of Lakemba, home to a large ethnic Lebanese demographic, a community leader, Sheik Ibrahim Dadoun, described the Hamas attack as “a day of courage, a day of pride, a day of victory” — all to be expected as night follows day.

What did come as a shock was the response of police in the face of this jihadi hate-fest at the Opera House. Not only were those pro-Hamas protesters allowed to run riot, but members of the Jewish community were prevented from attending the Opera House in solidarity with Israel. The only person detained by police at this event was a lone man standing quietly holding an Israeli flag.

The next day, an assistant commissioner, Tony Cook, fronted a press conference during which he defended the supine behavior of his officers in a tone of self-righteous arrogance. Then his boss, the Labor premier of New South Wales, Chris Minns, tried to hedge his bets by saying that the Opera House protest should not have happened, but refusing to condemn police for allowing it to proceed.

The Australian Labor Party’s schizophrenia on Israel can be traced to its evolution from its blue-collar origins into a party dominated by inner-urban progressives. Unreasoning hostility toward Zionism has become a central pillar of the progressive worldview throughout the Western world.

New South Wales police stand guilty of a disgraceful double standard by prohibiting Australian Jews from expressing solidarity with their bloodied kin in Israel while simultaneously facilitating a violent pro-Hamas protest rally. One can only surmise that those senior police officers were listening to their political master’s Janus-faced voice.


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