Australian police admit: No evidence of “gas the Jews” chant at Sydney Opera House

Police in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) finally announced yesterday that expert forensic analysis had found no evidence that the phrase “gas the Jews” was chanted at a pro-Palestinian rally at the Sydney Opera House on October 9.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators outside Sydney Opera House on October 9, 2023 [AP Photo/Rick Rycroft]

This admission came nearly four months after manipulated Zionist footage of the alleged incident was broadcast on social media and by corporate media outlets around the world. The footage fed into a global Israeli campaign to brand the worldwide protests against the genocide in Gaza as antisemitic and justify the ongoing slaughter of Palestinians.

Yesterday’s announcement also came weeks after the police had already told the organisers of the protest they had no evidence of the alleged chant and more than a month after the Crikey news site had published a detailed investigation indicating that the footage, posted and captioned by the Australian Jewish Association (AJA), may have been substantially edited or altered.

The police admission makes it clear that the AJA inserted false “gas the Jews” captions on the video material. From the outset, the protest organisers had said no such chants had occurred. This was a very conscious Zionist concoction.

NSW police Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon yesterday said the police had sent the video footage to a National Centre of Biometric Science expert for acoustic and phonetic analysis, but no evidence was found in “significant volumes of audio and video files” that the alleged phrase was used.

“The expert has concluded with overwhelming certainty that the phrase chanted during that protest as recorded on the audio-visual files was ‘where’s the Jews,’ not another phrase as otherwise widely reported,” Lanyon said.

Equally revealing as the collapse of the accusation, however, was the immediate response of Zionist organisations and their media and government backers. They declared that the truth did not matter. An editorial in the Australian, the national Murdoch media flagship, insisted that the forensic analysis “does not redeem the deplorable spectacle in any way.”

In other words, the truth must not be permitted to get in the way of a propaganda campaign designed to smear, demonise and intimidate the widespread anti-genocide protests in Australia and internationally by conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism.

Likewise, NSW Labor Party Premier Chris Minns said his “well known” views had not changed on the October 9 rally. “The protest was violent and racist. Hate speech and racist language have no place in NSW,” he declared.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin declared that the exact words used at the protest was not the “core issue.” He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) the issue was that “just two days after the greatest atrocity inflicted on the Jewish people since the Holocaust, a mob of thugs gathered at one of our nation’s most cherished sites to celebrate the mass slaughter and rape of Israelis, to burn Israeli flags and to chant threateningly towards fellow Australians.”

In fact, there is conclusive documented evidence that the October 7 events had been anticipated in advance by Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and many of the killings were committed by Israeli forces. 

Moreover, the October 9 demonstration was not a “mob of thugs.” It was the first, about 1,000-strong, protest against the Israeli violence and for Palestinian rights. The organisers of the protest not only sought to remove a small, unidentified group of people chanting anti-Jewish slogans but publicly condemned their behaviour the next day. 

Since then, tens of thousands of people, including many anti-Zionist Jews, have joined weekly mass demonstrations across Australia against the Israeli genocide without any reports of antisemitic slogans or chants.

Both Minns and his federal counterpart, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had immediately denounced the Opera House protest, which was triggered by the lighting up of the Opera House in the Israeli flag. That display on the building’s famous sails was a provocative show of support for the planned Israeli onslaught after the October 7 Hamas-led breakout from the besieged Gaza enclave into southern Israel.

After saying he had personally viewed the video footage, Albanese told Sky News on October 10 that the protest outside the Opera House featured slogans that were “antisemitic,” “horrific” and “appalling.” They had no place in Australia’s “tolerant multicultural nation.” Albanese declared that the protest should never have been allowed to go ahead.

Acting in sync, Minns seized on the manufactured footage to rush through state parliament laws to strengthen police powers to arrest and charge people under “hate speech” provisions in the NSW Crimes Act. Last month, his government went further, commissioning former NSW Supreme Court chief justice Tom Bathurst to conduct a review of the legislation with a view to broadening it.

While asserting that the truth about the Opera House chants made no difference, the Labor government has been advised that the phrase “gas the Jews” could lead to a prosecution under 93Z of the Crimes Act for publicly threatening or inciting violence on the grounds of race or religion, but that chants such as “where’s the Jews” were not currently criminal offences.

This witch hunt is far from over. At the Minns government’s direction, NSW Police is still conducting “Strike Force Mealing” to investigate any alleged offences committed at the protest, but say it has not been able to identify any perpetrators.

The Opera House accusations also helped lead to a coordinated Zionist campaign, featuring a Lawyers for Israel WhatsApp group to get ABC journalist Antoinette Lattouf sacked because of critical postings she had made about the Zionist regime.

The ABC’s stated reason for her dismissal from a summer radio hosting job was that she had shared on social media a post from the US-based Human Rights Watch, warning that Israel was using hunger and starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza. But just the week before her position began, Lattouf had co-authored the investigation published by Crikey, delivering a blow to the Opera House claims.

This entire affair has shed a further damning light on the methods employed by the Zionist organisations and their political accomplices. The AJA, which produced the video footage, is a particular exponent of their foul disinformation operations. 

The AJA is associated with far-right outfits that pursue similar methods. In 2018, the AJA publicly invited Canadian internet agitator Lauren Southern on a tour of areas of Sydney and Melbourne. Southern promotes the “Great Replacement Theory” that accuses “globalists”—a term used by fascists to describe Jews—of conspiring to displace “white people” with Muslims and other immigrants.

The unravelling of the Opera House lies has a broader significance. Throughout the genocide, a handful of Zionist leaders has been presented in the media as the authoritative representatives of Jewish people. Their assertions of a mass wave of antisemitism and their attempts to present all opposition to the state of Israel as an expression of anti-Jewish prejudice have been featured endlessly.

These claims, which portrays the apartheid-like state of Israel as synonymous with the Jewish people and Judaism, are themselves based on racialist assumptions: that all Jews, by blood or some other mystical connection, have an inherent loyalty to the Israeli state, and that non-Jews are inherently antisemitic, thus requiring an exclusive Jewish state.

The Zionists, in reality, represent a particularly malicious form of imperialist nationalism based on the interests of the Israeli ruling class and the major powers, especially the United States. But their ethno-supremacist ideology is encountering growing opposition, including from Jewish people who have been prominent in the worldwide protests opposing the genocide in Gaza.