Robert Gregory

The enemies within – Australian Jews are endangered by hostile agents

There have always been Jews willing to turn on their own community.

Something remarkable happened in the Jewish community, following October 7. The community has united and become closer than ever before. Even Jews who were distant from the community were moved by the horrific massacre and have rediscovered their Jewishness.

This probably shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. Polling has consistently shown that the Australian Jewish community is overwhelmingly Zionist and connected to Israel.

Australia’s Jewish community is largely comprised of descendants of Holocaust survivors as well as immigrants from places like the Soviet Union and South Africa who all understand the critical importance of the Jewish state.

While the Jewish community has successively united against the outside enemies who wish us harm, we haven’t paid enough attention to the enemies within.

There have always been a smattering of self-hating Jews and anti-Israel rejects in our own community. I was aware they existed but before October 7, I never gave them much thought.

There was someone using a very Jewish sounding name to attack the community and sell books.

There was a poisonous Facebook group, dedicated to attacking the community, frequented by elderly communists from a bygone era.

There were a few young misfits, attempting to use their claimed Jewish ancestry in stunts like ‘anti-Israel Megillah readings’. Their ignorance of Judaism was comical.

I dismissed these as harmless individuals to be pitied, as cases of mental illness or cries for help.

I was wrong to be so dismissive. These extremists have become a threat to the safety of the Australian Jewish community.

It has come to my attention that a tiny extremist group has been spying, informing on and spreading lies about the Jewish community.

The Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS), an affiliate of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) has hijacked a Senate inquiry into right-wing extremism to name and target Jews and Jewish organisations.

As both the grandson of Holocaust survivors and someone who in my role at the Australian Jewish Association receives threats from actual right-wing extremists, I’m shocked see the AJDS make a mockery of this real threat, especially at this time of surging antisemitism.

In their submission, the AJDS complains to the government about a range of Jewish organisations, including the Jewish National Fund (JNF), the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), the Australian Jewish Association (AJA) and even the Chabad movement.

The AJDS admits to helping rabidly anti-Israel Labor MP Julian Hill target Jewish charities operating in Australia and has called for sanctions to be imposed on Israel.

Perhaps the most dangerous attack is a false smear directed against a Synagogue.

Given the increased security threat, I believe this may risk the safety of congregants and the wider community.  I have chosen not to name the Synagogue, so as not to further endanger the congregants. The AJDS would be aware that extremists of all kinds are monitoring this inquiry.

It’s a repugnant inversion of history to turn an inquiry into right-wing extremism into an attack on the Jewish community.

If these same attacks were coming from outside the community, it would be labelled ‘antisemitism’.

The Jewish community should tolerate a wide variety of views but must draw the line at those who endanger the community’s safety.

The AJDS derives undeserved legitimacy by being welcomed as a constituent member of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria. It must be expelled.

A second concerning development is the newly formed, far-left ‘Jewish Council’.

While roundly rejected and ignored by the Jewish community, a quick glance of their social media reveals that they have attracted a healthy following among antisemites of all stripes. Judging by their statements, it appears there isn’t an antisemite they won’t defend. Their words are frequently cited by Jew-haters as ‘proof’ that their own positions are acceptable.

The voice of these few token Jews is amplified by anti-Israel media outlets on the left, like the taxpayer-funded broadcasters, ABC and SBS. In a recent television interview with one, I was asked to comment on some ridiculous statement from the ‘Council’. I pointed out that it was a tiny group formed a few weeks prior, that had the support of less than 1% of the Jewish community. Needless to say, my words didn’t make the cut.

While the ABC keeps recycling the same handful of Jews to attack their own community, I don’t recall them ever once highlighting an Australian Muslim who rejects that community’s demonisation of Israel.

Legitimising anti-Jewish positions, emboldens enemies of our community and poses a safety risk for Australian Jews.

The phenomenon of Jews turning against their own community is sadly not new.

Our history is riddled with informers who denounced sacred Jewish texts, causing countless Jews to be burned at the stake. People like Johannes Pfefferkorn, who left Judaism after committing a burglary and led calls to enslave and expel his brethren.

In the Soviet Union, the Yevsektsiya turned in their fellow Jews and destroyed Synagogues, while demanding the “total liquidation” of Zionism. It didn’t save many of them from Stalin’s purges.

The sickness of antizionism is so great that there was even an antizionist, Pro-Nazi group in Germany in the 1930s, Verband nationaldeutscher Juden (Association of German National Jews). Its leader was later imprisoned by the Gestapo.

The Jewish chess master and antisemite, Bobby Fischer hated his people so much that he even wrote a letter to the Encyclopaedia Judaica demanding they remove his name.

Those who turn on their fellow Jews are sometimes called ‘Kapo’, but I prefer not to use the word, since those Jews who were forced to work for the Nazis often had no choice, while today’s anti-Jewish Jews seem to relish the opportunity.

More appropriate is the term, ‘unJews’, used by Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy. The Jerusalem Post said of anti-Zionist Jews, “They are as Jewish as the Westboro Baptist Church is Christian.”

An important lesson from October 7 has been the need for Jewish unity. While I may disagree with policies of other Jewish organisations from time to time, I try hard not to contribute to public disagreement. I know that I’m not alone.

The deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust has been a wake-up call for the 99%.

I have been inspired to see left-wing Jews who spent the prior year protesting Israel’s Government, now join hands with right-wing Jews.

The Jewish community is a broad tent. There is room for those who support and those who criticise the Israeli government and the Jewish establishment.

The line must be drawn at those who endanger our safety and make a mockery of the Holocaust.

Like the wicked son in the Pesach Seder, they have chosen to cut themselves off from the Jewish story and we must make it clear that they are not part of us.

About the Author
Robert is Chief Executive Officer with the Australian Jewish Association (AJA). Robert is passionate about Zionism, Australian politics, and international affairs. Visit:
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