(Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, 2019)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We are deeply angered by two separate reports of anti-Semitic bullying in Australian schools. In the first instance, a 12-year-old Jewish student in a suburb of Melbourne was forced to kiss his Muslim classmate’s shoes (it is not clear whether the classmate’s religion was related to the episode.) A 5-year-old Jewish student was called a “Jewish cockroach,” among other anti-Semitic attacks, in the second instance, which took place in Melbourne. The 5-year-old was also bullied for being circumcised.
Schools should be a safe environment for children of every religion. Both Jewish students have left their schools, and the mother of the 12-year-old has publicly shared her disappointment at the school’s failure to address the incident properly. We call on both schools to swiftly punish the bullying perpetrators. In addition, both schools should undertake Holocaust education and tolerance and diversity education programs to teach their students about the dangers of bias and bigotry.
B'nai B'rith International President Charles O. Kaufman wrote a letter to the principal of Cheltenham Secondary College, where the 12-year-old was bullied. To read the letter, click here.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org