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Australia introduces first special envoy to combat anti-Semitism

Australia on Tuesday named Jilian Segal as its frist special envoy to combat anti-Semitism. Photo by Thomas Parrish/EPA-EFE
Australia on Tuesday named Jilian Segal as its frist special envoy to combat anti-Semitism. Photo by Thomas Parrish/EPA-EFE

July 9 (UPI) -- Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese named Jillian Segal as the country's first special envoy to combat anti-Semitism on Tuesday.

Segal, an attorney and business leader who serves on the National Australian Bank board and is president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, will help the government craft a "strategic plan" to respond to rising targeted hatred toward Jewish people that has been "normalized" since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

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Segal called anti-Semitism an "age old" hatred that if left unchecked can erode "all that is good and healthy" is Australia's society.

"As such, it poses a threat not just to the Jewish community but to our entire nation," Segal said. "[Anti-Semitism] has the capacity to lie dormant through good times and then in times of crisis like the pandemic, which we've experienced an economic downturn, war, it awakens. It triggers the very worst instincts in an individual to fear, to blame others for life's misfortunes and to hate."

Albanese, speaking at the Jewish Museum in Sydney, said he admired Segal's past work, adding she will serve for three years in the new role in which she will also come up with efforts to educate the public as well as advise his government.

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"She is not only an accomplished lawyer who has given so much to public service, but she is also a person of unflinching principle and unwavering strength," said Andrew Giles, minister of immigration, citizenship, and multicultural affairs.

"I think in times like these, having the opportunity to appoint Jillian to this special envoy role is a great privilege. I have absolutely no doubt she will do this community and our nation and our social cohesion great service."

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