Former Prime Minister John Howard has criticized Anthony Albanese’s “timid” response to anti-Semitic protests in Sydney following Hamas terror attacks on Israel.
Some 700 pro-Palestinian protesters were seen chanting “gas the Jews” and burning the Star of David outside the Sydney Opera House on Monday evening as part of a rally organized by the Palestine Action Group Sydney.
The horrific actions have been condemned by leaders across the political spectrum, but Mr Howard, who led Australia following the September 11 attacks, said the prime minister’s denunciation would not not far enough.
‘Mr Albanese should make unequivocal statements, as should the Foreign Minister,” he said. The Australian.
“Instead there is prevarication and lukewarm condemnation. Then you have the Attorney General of New South Wales (Michael Daley) saying everyone should stay calm and go home.
“How can we remain calm while demonstrators invoke the memory of the Shoah? Do people stay calm in there?
“I never thought we would collapse in the face of this…We need leadership from the top, we’re not getting it at the moment.”
Former Prime Minister John Howard has criticized Anthony Albanese’s “timid” response to anti-Semitic protests in Sydney following Hamas attacks on Israel.
Some 700 pro-Palestinian protesters (above) invaded the Sydney Opera House on Monday evening and chanted “gas the Jews” and burned the Star of David.
On Tuesday, Mr Albanese called for calm in the conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian communities in Australia.
“We need to lower the temperature,” he said.
“I don’t want to see conflict here in Australia and I don’t want to see the kind of scenes I saw last night… they certainly have no place.”
Mr Albanese previously used his time on 2GB to call on pro-Palestinian protesters to abandon the demonstration at the Opera House, saying there was “nothing to celebrate after the loss of innocent lives”.
“I find this abhorrent and it should be condemned, but unequivocally by everyone,” he said.
NSW Minister for Labor and Policing Yasmin Catley was particularly criticized for allowing the protest.
More than 100 police officers were seen in a steel circle along the steps of the Opera House, but did not intervene in the protests, even when flares were thrown at them.
In another instance, a Muslim preacher was seen riling up the crowd by applauding the militant group Hamas for the massacre of at least 1,000 Israeli civilians.
The demonstrators (above) on Monday evening were not arrested by the police, despite some throwing flares at the police present.
The horrific actions have been condemned by leaders from all sides of the political spectrum, but Mr Howard said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s denunciation did not go far enough.
“I smile and I’m happy. I am delighted,” shouted Sheikh Ibrahim Dadoun.
“It’s a day of courage. It’s a proud day. It is a day of victory. It’s the day we’ve been waiting for!
“It brings pride to the heart, it brings joy to the heart, my brothers and my sisters… you and I, standing in Australia, we support our brothers and sisters in Palestine.”
In contrast, a handful of people flying Israeli flags were arrested on sight, in a move police said was for their own protection.
Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke said police were reviewing CCTV footage of the gathering to make arrests.
However, Commissioner Catley refused to apologize for a controversial email sent to Jewish leaders warning the community to avoid CBD.
“New South Wales Police are urging the community not to attend the Sydney Opera House or City Hall this evening,” read an email to members of the Jewish Council of Deputies of New South Wales.
“Community members already in the CBD should be vigilant as protesters will likely seek to march from City Hall to the Sydney Opera House.
“Tonight’s events may pose a safety risk to members of the community and you are strongly advised not to attend.”
Robert Gregory, CEO of the Australian Jewish Association, said “Australians should be very concerned”.
“The police warned Jews not to enter the area,” he said.
“Think about it. Imagine if there were mobs stalking blacks or gays in the Sydney CBD.
Pictured: Pro-Palestinian supporters are seen during the rally at the Opera
Mr Howard said following the protest (above): “We need leadership from the top, we’re not getting it at the moment.”
“Imagine if police warned black or gay people not to enter the Sydney CBD.”
Mr Howard praised NSW Premier Chris Minns for correctly condemning the protesters’ actions.
“You can have strong opinions, you can argue about the Middle East, but for people to invoke the memory of humanity’s most terrible crime, the extermination of six million Jews in the gas chambers is terrible,” Mr. Howard said.
“It’s totally irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. … For people to chant these things is a catastrophic loss of civility that I never thought I would see.