Photo Credit: Google Maps
The Beth Shalom Reform synagogue in Auckland, NZ, was defaced with graffiti and an attempt was made to set it on fire.

On November 7, anti-Israeli sentiments were visually expressed in the Epsom suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, as pro-Hamas graffiti defaced the fence of the Beth Shalom Reform synagogue and an attempt was made to set the property ablaze. Adding to the confusion, Google Maps had erroneously identified the site as the local Israeli consulate. The incident drew condemnation from David Seymour, a Member of Parliament affiliated with the right-wing liberal ACT Party, who promptly reported the matter to the police.

In mid-November 2023, an alarming uptick in both antisemitism and Islamophobia was observed in New Zealand, as reported by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and The Disinformation Project. This surge followed the October 7 Hamas massacre, with instances of antisemitic content proliferating on various platforms, including social media and gaming platforms.


Disinformation Project researcher Kate Hannah highlighted the alarming trend of conflating New Zealand Jews with all Israelis and the Israeli government, characterizing these attitudes as not only antisemitic but also xenophobic, fostering division within New Zealand society.

Juliet Moses, the spokesperson for the New Zealand Jewish Council, echoed these concerns, revealing a notable increase in antisemitic threats, including violence, death threats, and extreme abuse, both online and offline since October 7.

One parent commented that their child did not feel safe to claim their Jewish identity at school.

Lisa Ben Haim, a parent of one of the affected Jewish students, said her son had been followed home by a group of children, yelling “Free Palestine – six million Jews were killed by Hitler. Why don’t you die?” He was later barricaded into a room with students on the outside yelling, “Free Palestine” and when the door was opened, one student attempted to assault him with a broom. Lisa says, “I have been distraught about the ongoing episodes and I’m now pretty angry that the school seems unable to provide a safe environment for my 13-year-old son.”

On December 14, 2023, a survey conducted by the Holocaust Center of New Zealand revealed a distressing surge in antisemitic abuse, intimidation, and bullying targeting Jewish children in the country. The findings included instances of physical assault and the defacement of a school shirt with a juxtaposition of a swastika and a Star of David. Traditionally handling approximately two formal antisemitic complaints annually, the Holocaust Center noted a fivefold increase in complaints over the past two months since October 7, 2023.

A swastika and a Star of David were drawn side by side on a Jewish student’s school shirt. / Courtesy of the Holocaust Center of New Zealand

50% of the parents who completed the survey said their children had been subjected to antisemitism in schools since October 7, 2023. The age range of children affected was 9 – 18 years of age. Only 40% of parents reported those incidents to schools, as one parent commented that the school in question had handled similar incidents badly in the past. Other respondents reported that they prefer to go directly to the parents of the bullying child, their school was ill-equipped to deal with antisemitism.

According to the survey, 40% of the reported incidents involved dehumanizing and demonizing allegations directed at Jews. Such offenses ranged from peers offering Nazi salutes and hurling derogatory slurs like “dirty Jews,” to asserting false claims such as “Jews control the world.” Furthermore, the incidents encompassed disturbing jokes about Jews in gas chambers and perpetuated blood libel accusations that Jews were guilty of “chopping off baby’s heads.”

“Not all incidents involved students,” according to the survey. “On one occasion, a teacher was stood down and has since resigned over their display of antisemitism.”


Previous articleSyria Accuses Israel of First 2024 Retaliatory Attack on Damascus Area
Next articleRothman: Supreme Court Decision a ‘Shame,’ But Not Time to Relegislate
David writes news at