Geert Wilders Visit to Australia

20th February 2013

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the national peak body of the Australian Jewish community, its State constituent bodies and the B’nai B’rith Anti Defamation Commission, endorse the recent statement made by a coalition of organisations and individuals from across Victoria in support of Victoria’s multicultural and multifaith community and, applying that statement to Australia, affirm the following:

Australia is a multicultural and multifaith society in which racial, religious and linguistic diversity is embraced as a strength. This vibrant diversity has generated social, cultural and economic benefits for all Australians. Australians hold a diversity of views and beliefs, observe many different cultures and traditions and speak an impressive range of languages as demonstrated by the 2011 ABS Census.

Community harmony in Australia is strengthened by a long-standing, shared commitment across government, community and business – and in a range of settings, including on the sporting field – to respect and embrace difference, to respond appropriately to unlawful treatment and vilification, and to recognise and celebrate our common bond and shared values as proud Australians.

We have a collective responsibility to respect our fellow citizens and preserve the social cohesion and harmony and democratic values that characterise Australia and makes our society great. We also encourage genuine and constructive engagement and dialogue as a means to achieving greater understanding and acceptance of diversity.

We welcome challenging ideas and debate. However, inciting hatred and animosity towards specific cultural or faith-based communities has no place in Australia. All Australians have a right to practice their faith and observe their cultural traditions and languages in accordance with the law and free from discrimination or vilification.

Endorsed by:
The B’nai B’rith Anti Defamation Commission, The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, The Jewish Community Council of Victoria, The Council of Jewish
Community Council of Western Australia Inc., The Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies, The Jewish Community Council of South Australia, Hobart Hebrew Congregation Inc., The ACT Jewish Community Inc.

Contact:
Peter Wertheim AM | Executive Director
phone: 02 8353 8500 | m: 0408 160 904 | fax 02 9361 5888 e: pwertheim@ecaj.org.au