Jews & Australians

My Orthodox Jewish friends who lived in Australia report getting verbally abused by white Australians every time they walked to shul in their distinctive Jewish garb. They regularly received nasty insults, including invocations of Hitler and gas chambers, even when they were walking with their wives and kids. Many yeshiva students in Sydney and Melbourne have been beaten up by white Aussies.

Every strong in-group has out-group hostility. White Australians have high in-group solidarity (though not as strong as it was before WWII when the country was 99% white, now it is only 87% white) and tend to be hostile to out-groups.

Orthodox Jews have high in-group identity and consequently often experience negative feelings about out-groups.

From a Jewish perspective, Aussies hate everyone who’s not an Aussie, and that includes Jews, Muslims, Asians and abos. My Orthodox friends from Australia regard themselves as Jews first, second and third. They may be Australian citizens, they may be dual Australian/American citizens, but whatever it says on their passport is secondary to being Jewish.

From a Jewish perspective, Aussies are a bunch of redneck hillbilly drunks with tiny brains, easy to out-do in business.

From an Australian perspective, Jews are an alien culture in their midst, a group who cares nothing for traditional Australian values of beer, beach, cricket, ANZAC day and the Melbourne Cup.

Australians feel they are being multi-cultural by allowing in people from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds but Australians then expect them to conform to Australian norms of dress and deportment. When Orthodox Jews dress and behave like a people apart, Australians experience that as a slap in the face.

If you asked the typical Australian for his identity, he’d likely say he was an Aussie, a resident of a particular city and state, a supporter of a particular football club, a man, a father, a husband, a friend, and that he affiliates with a particular Christian denomination.

If you asked the typical Orthodox Jew for his identity and he chose to answer you honesty, he’d say his first identity was that of a Jew, his second identity was that of a Jew, and his third identity was that of a Jew.

I grew up as a Seventh-Day Adventist in Australia for nine of my first 11 years (the other two years were spent in England). I remember how apart from everybody else I felt as an Adventist and I felt how ordinary Australians despised us. My mother’s family were not, in the main, Seventh-Day Adventists, and they felt sorry for her kids who were saddled with this separate and weird way of life that would engender hostility from ordinary Australians.

I don’t regard Jewish distaste for Australians as bigotry and I don’t regard Australian distaste for Jews as anti-Semitism. I don’t think in those terms.

Jews and East-Asians tend to get along because they have little history with each other. They have not experienced the clash of interests in the same way that Jews and goyim and schvartzes have had.

In the book The Jew Accused: Three Anti-Semitic Affairs (Dreyfus, Beilis, Frank) 1894-1915, Albert S. Lindemann writes about similar tensions from 120 years ago:

Anti-Semitism was so tenacious and pervasive in Russia, especially from the 1880s onward, because of the fear that Jews threatened vital Russian interests and values. This fear, although it gave rise to exaggerated, even preposterous fantasies about Jews, was stimulated and nurtured, as in France and other countries, by real factors. Such fearfulness blended into a larger paranoiac Russian psyche, related to the existence of an array of by no means imaginary enemies surrounding Russian. For many Russians, their country’s Jewish population appeared a rapidly growing, intractable, foreign, and increasingly hostile body. The uncontrolled and apparently uncontrollable rise of such a population was a distinctly more threatening development than the rise of Jews in other countries.

This fear in Russia seems to have been most pervasive among those who had embraced certain Russian nationalist ideals. For Slavophiles, men who believed in a special Russian nature and destiny, the traditional, religiously based antipathy to Jews was powerfully blended into a secular one: More and more the Jews came to symbolize for them teh threat of an alien and decadent West, of a destructive modernism, one that would undermine their hopes and dreams for Russia. Traditional Jews were objectionable enough to such Russian nationalists, but at least such Jews were politically passive. But as hundreds of thousands of Jews began to abandon, to one degree or another, their traditional ways, when they began to embrace western-style liberalism or socialism, when they became wealth and important in the Russian economy, they appeared ever more menacing…

[Russian nationalists] maintained that the peasants would fall under the rule of the Jews and would inevitably be undermined morally by their contact with them. In the eyes of such nationalists, the peasants — unsophisticated in money matters, illiterate and generous — borrowed money from Jews and eventually lost their lands to them. Jews offered the peasants both cheap credit and cheap vodka, encouraging and exploiting their tendencies to drunkenness and improvidence… Russian nationalists feared that Russians were no match for Jews in a modern, liberal, and competitive society.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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