Police debunk Pro-Israel NSW premier’s false “Gas the Jews” claim

Feb 8, 2024
Debunked rubber stamp.

A lie travels around the world before the truth puts on its boots. 120 days since the Australian Jewish Association AJA, alleged pro-Palestine, antiwar protesters chanted “Gas the Jews”, the truth arrives with boots and all.

The NSW Police investigation into the chant “Gas the Jews” has now delivered their conclusive findings that there is no evidence that it was said. The lie that “Gas the Jews” was chanted by the pro-Palestine protesters at the Opera House on October the 9th 2023, was let fly by AJA without inhibition. They posted a subtitled video, alleging that a ‘Muslim mob of hundreds” had chanted, “Gas the Jews”. The protest organisers rejected this allegation.

This social media post was “viewed millions of times and uncritically reported in outlets ranging from Fox News to TMZ to the Monthly”. In Australia, it traumatised the Jewish community and vilified the Australian Muslim and Arab communities. The NSW Premier’s decision to light up the Opera House in the colours of the Israeli flag triggered this community fracture. His subsequent hard line one sided pro-Israel position stoked the fires, inflicting further insult on to the Australian Arab and Muslim communities.

Strike Force Mealing, engaged independent forensic analysis to investigate the offensive chant. It concluded, conclusively, that there is no evidence that the Holocaust-related antisemitic phrase “Gas the Jews” was used. They analysed “significant volumes” of audio and visual footage and concluded with “overwhelming certainty” that the phrase actually chanted was “where’s the Jews”, not “Gas the Jews”.

I was at that first anti-war rally on the 9th of October. It was a very peaceful rally. Even mainstream media reported it as such. They covered the event live as they walked with the protesters from Sydney town hall to Sydney’s Opera House. I inquired with an organiser when I heard claims about an alleged outrageous chant. He informed me that “F the Jews” phrase was said but no other offensive remark was chanted.

Although the protest had concluded, and people began to leave the Opera House foyer, some stayed back. Apparently, the police had told protesters that the Jewish community will be coming to the Opera House for the lighting of the sails in Israeli colours, so they needed to move on. In response, some stayed back and chanted “where’s the Jews?”

This is history. The question remains why, given the reported certainty of Strike Force Mealing that “Gas the Jews” was never said, does Premier Minns continue to dig himself into a hole and insist on demonising the Arab, Muslim communities? Why is it that the Premier is so dismissive of the truth and now toeing the Israeli lobby line, with the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, co-CEO Alexander Ryvchin now saying that the exact words “is not the core issue”? Is it because the premier is “running a protection racket for Israel”, as Bernard Keane of Crikey suggests?

Why does the premier insist on publicly slapping down his own Labor MLC’s, the Hon Stephen Lawrence and the Hon Anthony D’ Adam and other MPs? Are they not entitled to simply ask the “real questions” about the footage? Is it because Premier Minns cares more about Sky and 2gb than his own Labor colleagues?

If the Premier wished his MPs or MLCs not to comment on international matters, then he should set an example and perhaps not do as he did on the 13th of September 2023, present a motion in Parliament on Russia’s war on Ukraine?

It was his decision, against Police advice, to light up the Opera House with Israeli colours knowing full well it would, as it did, harm community harmony. It was he who accepted the “Gas the Jews” lie without inquiry. It was he who shocked the Muslim and Arab communities to the core by implying they are violent and antisemitic. In the minds of voters in the Arab and Muslim communities and all fair-minded Australians, he has become an electoral liability.

Why is the state premier so staunchly pro-Israel? The community wonders. Why does the NSW Labor premier whose own state seat of Kogarah and neighbouring Rockdale, with a significant Arabic speaking and Muslim community, and tens of thousands of Pro Palestine supporters across western Sydney choose to dismiss and alienate them?

Running a ‘protection racket’ is one thing, but it’s another thing to ignore the tens of thousands of Labor voters in NSW – in particular in Western Sydney – when the premier knows the political ramifications his decisions will have on his Western Sydney state and federal Labor members. Today, the Arabic and Muslim communities across NSW cannot wait for the opportunity to have their say at the ballot box. Arab and Muslim community leaders and others can no longer contain their anger.

In response to the Police report, the NSW Council for Civil liberties, President Ms. Lydia Shelly, described the NSW Premier’s behaviour as “another example of how due process, civil liberties and human rights can be swept aside under the guise of ‘expediency.’ Regurgitating the serious allegations as a ‘fact’ ripped at the fabric of our social cohesion and caused unnecessary harm to vulnerable communities.” Similarly, Felicity Graham, a NSW barrister and member of The Wiggs podcasting team argued: “these fake words travelled the world…delegitimised and demonised the Palestinians.”

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils AFIC, said in a press release: The “Gas the Jews” chant never took place, noted that “The initial claims, which triggered outrage both locally and internationally were utilised as a basis to unfairly vilify Palestinians and Muslims by commentators, politicians and others.”

The Australian National Imams Council ANIC, said the antisemitic chant which has now been “debunked” had caused immense damage to social cohesion. They blamed Premier Chris Minns for the pain and suffering caused to the Muslim community in NSW: “Those communities have felt targeted and alienated.” The question for the Premier is Why?

If the Premier really cared about the Jewish community and community harmony, he would have told the people of NSW as soon as he knew that the chant “Gas the Jews” was a lie. The question that begs itself is, when did Premier Minns first know that the whole world had been misled? What steps did he take to alleviate community pain when he became aware that there was no evidence to substantiate the claim that “Gas the Jews” was ever said.

Will the Premier now call for further investigation after NSW Police announced it has “no evidence” that pro-Palestine protesters chanted “Gas the Jews”?


For more on this topic, P&I recommends:

A pro-Israel policy will become electoral poison for Labor

Labor MP Josh Burns says no ceasefire in Gaza


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