Tzedek Collective is horrified by an apparent racially and politically motivated crime after hearing news of a fire at Burgertory, a Palestinian-owned business in Caulfield. This violent act follows weeks of online, telephone, and in-person harassment of Hash Tayeh, the Palestinian-Australian owner of Burgertory, and his employees. This relentless campaign was explicitly racial and political in nature, and continued despite Tayeh’s repeated calls for peace.

Tzedek Collective is ashamed of the ‘leaders’ of the Jewish community, who claim to speak on behalf of all Jews. Yet instead of condemning racism and Islamophobia within their communities they continue to hijack Judaism to justify Zionist and settler-colonial ideology. So far there has been absolute inaction and silence from our ‘leaders’ in response to this incident. Racism and Islamophobia are never acceptable, and the Jewish community cannot be an exception in this. To turn a blind eye to racism and Islamophobia within our own community is to actively perpetuate discrimination and hate, and it only further fuels antisemitism, endangering the Jewish community. It is always a Jewish obligation to stand against acts of racist hate crimes. This is why as Jews we call on Victoria Police to conduct a thorough investigation into this incident and to consider the very real possibility of a hate crime. We must hold the people in our community accountable for their shameful, racist actions, for we maintain that there is no room for racism and Islamophobia in our community. 

Tzedek Collective stands in solidarity with Hash Tayeh, and we applaud him for his peaceful and moderating approach despite this apparent hate crime. We join him in his call for a free Palestine, from the river to the sea, and we maintain our solidarity alongside Palestinians in our collective struggle for justice, freedom, and equality. As Tayeh wrote on Instagram, “We want peace.”