Remarks at the Jewish Community Council of South Australia vigil

  • Transcript, E&OE

Thank you all.

I'd first acknowledge the traditional owners of this land on which we meet, the Kaurna people, and express my respects to Elders, past and present.

I extend my respects also to Rabbi Kaminsky, for your spiritual leadership today.

I thank Annetay and the Jewish Community Council of South Australia for the invitation to be with you today.

I acknowledge my Parliamentary colleagues.

Most of all I acknowledge all of you.

I want to express to you how humble and privileged I feel to be here as you share your grief. It is a privilege and it is humbling.

What we saw two weeks ago was an assault on Israel, and on the Jewish people.

It was also an attack on our collective humanity.

It was an act of evil perpetrated by a terrorist group, a hateful group, bent on the destruction of the State of Israel and the erasure of Jews.

And this is why it must be condemned.

As you know there was a bipartisan motion supported in both chambers of Parliament this week.

And I want to thank Senator Birmingham for his work to ensure bipartisan support for this motion.

Because it matters, our collective statement of solidarity - so important in these times.

Our country Australia stands with Israel now and always will.

Just as we always remember the thousands of years of persecution.

Atrocities perpetrated against the Jewish people.

The six million European Jews during the Holocaust.

That finally resolved the international community to establish the state of Israel.

As many members of the community have said today, more Jews were killed on October 7 than on any single day since the Holocaust.

So we understand what trauma that brings.

The trauma many of you here today continue to experience.

And then of course there are hostages.

For whom we pray today.

I express my deepest sympathies to you all and to all those impacted by these heinous acts.

We are shocked and we are horrified.

And we grieve with you.

We remain as steadfast and unwavering as ever in our support for Israel.

We believe that the just and enduring peace Israelis deserve would only be enhanced by a negotiated two state solution, in which Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist, in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders.

And one of the many tragic consequences of Hamas's abhorrent attack, and its hatred, is that that two-state solution is further out of reach.

Just as we stand with Israel, we stand with you all in the Australian Jewish community.

And I understand the fear and pain that I have seen today, and every day since October 7.

And I simply will keep saying to you, as we all will, that we will do everything we need to do to keep the community safe.

People come to this country because they want to live in a country that is peaceful, tolerant and respectful.

The Jewish community know first hand how important it is that we protect that.

There is no place for antisemitism. There is no place for hate speech.

And that is why you have seen the Prime Minister, me and many others, condemn the antisemitism we have seen recently.

Those that engage in these acts must understand their hatred rails against the values all Australians share, that together we must safeguard.

And I would say to you, we all have a role in that task: political leaders, faith leaders, community.

So today we meet, as the Rabbi said, in the shadow of great evil.

And we remember those lost.

We remember those suffering from Hamas's abhorrent attacks and the subsequent conflict

And as we do so we reject hate and we condemn prejudice in all its forms.

Today we meet and there is much shock, grief, anger, and pain.

I hope that in time, that instead of hurt, that the memories of those lost be a reminder of our shared humanity and our shared commitment to peace.

May their memory be a blessing.

Thank you.

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