Police deployed pepper spray and evacuated a synagogue after 100 protesters gathered in a park across the road during Shabbat prayers on the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
Protesters broke through a police line in Melbourne, Australia, outside Central Shule Chabad, near a burger joint that was gutted in a suspicious fire earlier in the week.
The fire occurred after the Muslim owner of Burgatory, Hash Tayeh attended an anti-Israel rally. Although police on Friday said the fire was not religiously motivated.
Police Inspector Scott Dwyer told reporters Friday that the fire was unrelated to Tayeh’s support for Palestine. He said:
At this stage, there is nothing to indicate that this incident is related to any religious or political involvement [sic] and that we’re treating it as a suspicious fire.
It’s very early in the investigation, but I am confident that this is not religiously or politically motivated.
That did not stop anti-Israel protesters from blaming anti-Muslim hate for the 4 a.m. fire, with Tayeh issuing a statement which linked the arson to his support for Gaza:
Today’s arson attack will not waver my calling for peace and will not silence me.
I want to unequivocally state that we stand against violence in all its forms. Burgertory has always been a place that celebrates diversity and promotes unity. My Palestinian heritage inspires me to advocate for peace and dialogue, not conflict.
Tayeh says he is cooperating with the police, who are investigating the arson as "suspicious."
Anti-Israel protesters were asked by Tayeh to take their protest away from the restaurant, which culminated in the demonstration coalescing around a local synagogue during Friday night prayers.
Rocks were thrown at members of the Jewish community by protesters shouting "Free, free Palestine."
Pro-Hamas supporters performed Islamic prayers in the heart of the Melbourne Jewish community. Locals responded to the provocation with the Israeli anthem.
Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, was a 1938 pogrom against Jews carried about by Hitler Youth, Nazi party members and German civilians, wherein Jewish-owned stores, homes, businesses and synagogues were smashed as German authorities did nothing.
To call on Western governments to deport non-citizen supporters of terrorism, visit www.DeportHamas.com.