Reprint from Australian Jewish News and written by PETER KOHN
THE fight against antisemitism got some extra revs last Sunday when Yids On Wheels (YOW), a Jewish motorcycle club, paid a visit to Aliza’s Place cafe in the suburb of Chadstone, which was targeted twice this month with anti-Jewish hate graffiti.
More than 30 bikers visited the cafe to give moral support, in a symbolic act of solidarity with proprietor, Russian-born Aliza Shuvaly, the Jewish granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, and her husband Alan.
When Aliza’s Place was initially attacked with a swastika and the words “the Holocaust is a lie” were scrawled on the property, Aliza was shaken and told The AJN, “I cannot ignore this symbol. All my family were Holocaust survivors.”
She erased the swastika but two days later the vandals returned to scrawl “The Holocaust didn’t happen but it should have.”
On hearing about the attacks, Richmond AFL footballer Riley Collier-Dawkins, a regular customer, arranged for teammates Maverick Weller and Toby Nankervis to join him in cleaning up the scrawls and repainting the fence with hearts, as reported in The AJN.
The Tigers’ visit elated Aliza, who said afterwards it had restored her faith in human nature. “I didn’t expect this and I was so happy.”
YOW president Sam Blumenstein told The AJN that when he saw reports of the hateful attacks, he rallied his fellow YOW riders – including some non-Jewish bikers – and contacted the Shuvalys ahead of the club’s visit.
Asked by The AJN why YOW made the visit, Blumenstein, whose mother survived Majdanek and Auschwitz, said, “When I see Jewish people try to make a living and getting plastered with b******t like that, how disgusting, in a country like Australia.”
The Shuvalys “were so happy; they know why we did it”, he said.
“We didn’t go there to act like big Hell’s Angels … we went there as a group to support them.”
He added, “It’s easy to talk a lot, but I just wanted our guys and girls to go there, show them we know what they went through,” and that antisemitic vandals “need to be shown that [their attacks] won’t make a difference. All it will do is make us resolve to be stronger.”
Police are investigating the recent spate of antisemitic daubings across Melbourne.
A Victoria government spokesperson told The AJN last week, “We stand by our Jewish community in condemning these acts and urge that those responsible are caught and punished under the law.”