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Australians blasted for 'stupid' act amid Israel, Palestine tensions: 'Just ridiculous'

A Melbourne politician has hit out at those who continue to demonstrate 'disgraceful' anti-Semitic or Islamophobic behaviour.

A frustrated politician has blasted the "stupid" actions of some Australian protestors who continue to demonstrate "disgraceful" anti-Semitic or Islamaphobic behaviour as tensions over Israel and Palestine continue.

Labor MP Julian Hill, who represents "one of the most multicultural parts of Australia", the City of Greater Dandenong in southeast Melbourne, has called for Aussies to "dial it down" and put an end to the "horrific" instances of "targeted" abuse in our community.

His remarks were in response to a staged demonstration at a Melbourne hotel this week by a small group of pro-Palestinian protesters who targeted the families of Israeli hostages held by terrorist group Hamas. The group is visiting Australia to share their experiences with politicians and push for the hostages to be freed.

Pro-Palestine protest at Melbourne Docklands hotel.
A group of pro-Palestine protestors confronted the families of Israeli hostages at a Melbourne hotel. Source: Twitter/ Liberal MP David Southwick

Protest slammed as 'inappropriate'

About 20 people were filmed holding "Free Palestine" and "Zionism is Fascism" signs and chanting, but the scenes were dubbed "disgraceful" by Hill.

"It was disgraceful. I condemn it without hesitation," he said on ABC radio on Friday morning, adding, "that action was not appropriate."

"The latest statistics of anti-semitism Victoria Police have reported are just horrific. There are also instances of Islamaphobia in my community," he continued.

"People just going about their business having their headscarf ripped off. I mean some people are so stupid they're targeting sikh people because they can't tell the difference. It's just ridiculous. This is not the country we are, we need to dial it down."

Labor MP Julian Hill
Labor MP Julian Hill represents the City of Greater Dandenong in southeast Melbourne. Source: ABC

MP calls for leaders to find a solution

Hill called on politicians and community and religious leaders to "change the rhetoric and the language used" about the long-standing conflict, which he believes would improve "social cohesion". "There is only a political solution," he said.

The Labor MP agreed that people "absolutely have a right to express their view and speak out for what they believe" but said "the language used matters and the way we go about this matters. "

"Our social cohesion and multiculturalism is our greatest asset and the majority of Australians don't want to see this outbreak here," he continued. "And that particularly falls upon, not just politicians, but community leaders and religious leaders."

PM weighs in on 'despicable' stunt

The actions of the pro-Palestinian protestors in Melbourne have been heavily criticised. Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Deputy Victorian Liberal Leader David Southwick said "traumatising the families of Hamas' victims is despicable" and claimed "these anti-Israel bigots have embarrassed us on the world stage."

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also condemned the stunt, saying the demonstration went beyond the right to protest peacefully and did nothing to advance justice for Palestinians or peace in the region.

Young Jewish men pray during a 'United With Israel - Bring Them Home' protest on November 26, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. Source: Getty
Young Jewish men pray during a 'United With Israel - Bring Them Home' protest on November 26, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. Source: Getty
A young student demonstrator waves a Palestinian flag behind a Police motorcycle during the protest in Melbourne. Source: Getty
A young student demonstrator waves a Palestinian flag behind a Police motorcycle during the protest in Melbourne. Source: Getty

"There is no excuse, no circumstances where people should organise a demonstration against grieving families," the prime minister told federal parliament."I call it out and I express on behalf of the Australian government our regret to those families who we met with."

Deputy Head of Mission at the Israeli embassy Christian Cantor was with the group staying at the hotel when the protest started. The families found the protest shocking and surprising, he told 3AW radio.

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