by GRACE JOHNSON
Following an investigation into a pro-Palestinian rally at the Sydney Opera House last October, NSW Police have said that there is no evidence the phrase “gas the Jews” was chanted in videos circulating online.
However, police also said several people who attended the rally made statements saying they heard the phrase, but investigators could not attribute it to any particular individual.
The protest took place on October 9, two days after Hamas militants attacked an Israeli music festival, seeing 1200 Israelis killed and hundreds kidnapped. Palestine supporters were galvanised by the Sydney Opera House being illuminated with the Israeli flag.
In the following days, NSW Police launched an investigation into whether any offences were committed at the protest.
After receiving the results of an acoustic and phonetic analysis from an expert at the National Centre of Biometric Science, Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon said there was no evidence the phrase was used in “significant volumes of audio and video files”.
“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,” he said.
However, there was evidence of “offensive and completely unacceptable” phrases being used at the rally, he said. Other videos showed chants like “F— the Jews.”
For further action to be taken, police would need to be able to attribute the phrases to an individual and claim that they were used to incite or threaten violence.
In a statement, Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said the “exact words” of the chants were not the main issue.