WA: Man charged over website posting of anti-semitic videos
14 May 2009 3:31 AM
PERTH, May 14 AAP - A man who allegedly posted anti-semitic videos on the website YouTube has been charged with attempting to incite racial animosity and racial harassment.
Police said the 39-year-old Perth man is only the second person to be charged under racial vilification laws introduced by Western Australia's previous Labor government four years ago.
A police spokesman said the man had been bailed ahead of a court appearance on the charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years' jail.
He is understood to have been arrested by officers from WA's intelligence investigation unit on Wednesday, after posting video of himself making anti-Semitic comments in front of Perth's Bell Tower and a South Perth supermarket.
Western Australia's racial vilification laws took effect in May 2005 after white supremacists had carried out a number of attacks in Perth.
An Aboriginal teenager became the first person to be charged under the laws in August 2006.
The charges against the girl were dismissed when a magistrate found she had only engaged in petty name calling by referring to another girl as a "white slut".
The charging of the Perth man in connection with the anti-semitic video has been welcomed by Perth's Jewish community, estimated to number about 9,000.
Keith Shilkin, president of the WA Jewish Community Council, said the video had "swept through the community, causing great concern".
"Children at the Carmel Jewish day school have had counselling sessions but we have had close liaisons with the police, who became quickly aware of the situation," Mr Shilkin told the israelforum.com website.
"The man has been a serial pest but the community was not overtly aware of him."
The israelforum website, known as J-Wire, said the man, who was "very articulate", had taken video of a demonstration by Friends of Palestine outside an IGA supermarket in South Perth which sold Israeli jaffa oranges.
"(The man) told his viewers that he was hoping to find some Jews at the scene and he did. He videoed himself harassing two young Jewish men and creating an argumentative situation," J-Wire said.
The West Australian's website said the video carried the remarks: "I head up to Parliament House to ask how it is Jewish supremacism has continued unabated for 250 years to the point where to speak of it warrants abuse, threats, job loss and even jail for those that dare question the new religion of holocaustianity."
J-Wire said the leader of Friends of Palestine had distanced the group from the video and its maker.
"Shilkin told J-Wire that whereas the Friends of Palestine had been very outspoken on their views of Israel and its politics, they had not entered into any anti-Jewish propaganda and had been of no trouble to the local community," it said.