‘Going to end in disaster’: Jewish MP’s fear

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos - 19 JUNE, 2024: The office of Federal MP Josh Burns has been vandalised in St Kilda overnight. Picture: NewsWire / David Crosling
The office of Federal MP Josh Burns was vandalised overnight. Picture: NewsWire / David Crosling

A shaken federal MP whose electorate office was vandalised in an anti-Semitic attack has called for an end to the protests targeting politicians over the Israel-Gaza war.

Josh Burns, who is Jewish and the Labor member for the Melbourne seat of Macnamara, said his staff had been “abused and screamed at” for months since the Hamas October 7 terror attack and subsequent war with Israel.

“There’s a dangerous escalation of people trying to bring a conflict on the other side of the world to our streets.” Mr Burns said.

“It needs to stop because it’s dangerous.”

Victoria Police believe a group of at least five people broke windows, spray painted anti-Semitic slogans and threw red paint into the office, at the St Kilda electorate office about 3.20am on Wednesday.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos - 19 JUNE, 2024: The office of Federal MP Josh Burns has been vandalised in St Kilda overnight. Picture: NewsWire / David Crosling
Federal MP Josh Burns’ office was vandalised. Picture: NewsWire / David Crosling

“The group smashed windows and painted walls and slogans at the premises,” a Victoria Police spokesperson said.

“Small fires then occurred in telecommunication pits at the front of the building.”

Victoria Police said the group then ran from the scene.

A crime scene remained in place on Wednesday morning, with the glass in the door and window of Mr Burns’ office on Barkly St in St Kilda smashed.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos - 19 JUNE, 2024: The office of Federal MP Josh Burns has been vandalised in St Kilda overnight. Picture: NewsWire / David Crosling
A crime scene is in place. Picture: NewsWire / David Crosling

The words “Zionism is fascism” were written in red paint over a picture of Mr Burns’ face on the front window of the office.

Red paint was also splattered on the walls inside the office.

Mr Burns fronted the media late on Wednesday morning saying such protests had no place in Australia and had only caused distress, doing nothing to bring peace in the Middle East.

“If it did, I would have vandalised my own office, but it didn’t,” Mr Burns told reporters.

“No amount of aggression and violence here in Australia is going to change what’s happening in the Middle East.

“All we’re seeing here at the moment is an escalation of violence here in Australia and it’s going to end in disaster.

“You haven’t brought peace. All you’ve done is set fire outside a residential building where you put people’s lives at risk.

“I mean, how is that a peaceful act?”

FEDERAL PARLIAMENT
Mr Burns said the incident was a ‘politically motivated attack’. Picture: NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Mr Burns said his staff worked hard to help constituents.

“They are hardworking, kind, decent people who have no role in a conflict on the other side of the world,” he said.

“Their place of work has just been smashed in by really dangerous idiots.”

He said his office would need to undergo extensive repairs before the team could return, but they could be contacted by email.

“I understand those who have seen images or vision of the attack might find it distressing. I’ll have more to say when I have further information,” Mr Burns said.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or with footage is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.