Hate crime hoax: Arsonists arrested in Burgertory blaze owner FALSELY blamed on Jews

Hash Tayeh's claim that led to a riot and suicide

Hate crime hoax: Arsonists arrested in Burgertory blaze owner FALSELY blamed on Jews
Burgertory owner Hash Tayeh (left) Police take a 27-year-old into custody (right) / Picture: Victoria Police
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In a significant development, Moorabbin criminal investigation unit detectives apprehended a 27-year-old man and later detained a 25-year-old man. The latter was subsequently hospitalised under police guard for unrelated injuries.

At the time, Palestinian-Australian owner Hash Tayeh falsely labelled the fire at Burgertory in Caulfield, which resulted in extensive damages amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, as a 'hate crime' linked to his high-profile activism against Israel.

Tayeh's claims incited an angry mob to travel to and protest in the heart of the Melbourne Jewish community, where the group violently attacked locals.

Police were forced to deploy 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.

A Go Fund Me campaign raised almost $65,000 to 'Rebuild Burgetory' falsely claiming that 'Hash Tayeh an Australian-Palestinian has been subjected to a hate crime'.

Just days before the blaze, Tayeh was recorded on a podcast talking about arson incidents from within his Arab community but later shifted blame to suit his 'anti-Zionist' activism.

On Tuesday, Victoria Police arrested the alleged ringleader of the now dubbed Middle Eastern 'tobacco wars' Tayeh was commenting on before the arson of his shop.

"Very shortly after the taskforce was established, we commenced an investigation into a 25-year-old man from Epping, who police believe is one of the significant ringleaders on behalf of a ... Middle Eastern organised crime group," taskforce Lunar's Detective Inspector Graham Banks said on Tuesday.

Inspector Scott Dwyer, refuted Tayeh claims following the Burgetory fire, asserting that the incident was not motivated by prejudice or politics.

Inspector Dwyer emphasised that the investigation aimed to hold those accountable for the arson and highlighted the risk posed to innocent members of the public.

"Not only did this blaze destroy a business, it also put innocent members of the public at risk of being injured. Victoria Police will continue to target anyone connected to criminality that recklessly puts others in harm’s way," he stated on Wednesday.

Both suspects are currently cooperating with police inquiries, with arson-related charges anticipated to be filed.

Hash Tayeh's false 'hate crime' claim led to a young Jewish man, Brandon Fein, being hounded for a video mocking the fire.

One man called Fein's father, forcing him to apologise to the Muslim community in a recording that was widely shared online.

Moreland Futsal Club president Deren Saban called for members of the Jewish community to be 'bombed' to 'give them a taste of their own medicine' before attempting to walk back his online comments, saying they should have been better 'articulated'.

“Brandon fein is a Israeli jew in Caulfield, he uploaded a video congratulating the ppl that burnt the store,” he wrote.

“He is now in hospital. Condemn that, and the 2 Israelis that burnt down the store will also end up in hospital.”

Notorious antisemites online also seized on the opportunity to target the Jewish community with Tayeh's false claim.

An X, formerly a Twitter account appropriating the identity 'White Rose Society Australia,' used the incident to incite hatred against the Jewish community, including calling for Fein to be 'charged with incitement' also inferring that police were failing to investigate the incident properly because the perpetrators were Jewish.

Tragically, due to the relentless harassment, Fein attempted suicide and remains on life support.

Hash Tayeh, left the country shortly after the arson, riot and suicide with Police alleging the Burgertory owner was uncooperative with their investigations.

If you or anyone you know needs support, call Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

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