Australian Jewish leader: I’ve been told I’ve ‘lost my mind’

The Australian Jewish leaders leader has slammed the Prime Minister’s new anti-Islam policies, calling them “a direct attack on our core values”.

Speaking to Sky News this morning, Tony Williams said he has been informed by senior cabinet ministers that the Prime Minster was considering a “direct attack on Australian Jewish community” after being asked by the Prime minister to back a motion condemning Islam.

Mr Williams said the Prime Ministers new position would result in the government cutting funds for Australia’s largest community-based organisation, the Australian Muslim Council, and imposing a new “political test” for its funding.

“I’ve been informed that the PM is looking at whether it is safe to do so,” he said.

“This is not a decision I will support, but I will be watching closely to see if it’s something that we should support.”

The move comes after the PrimeMinster, who was the keynote speaker at the Sydney Jewish community centre this morning to announce the announcement, was accused by the Australian Jewish Congress of “showing off” the threat posed by Islam, after a meeting with the head of the Muslim community.

The Australian Jewish Council was among a number of groups that were told to cut their funding by up to $3.2 million from the federal budget on the condition that the Government withdraw the motion.

Mr Abbott told the group he would do the same for the AIC, which he said was “at the centre of a global jihad”.

“This government has the power to cut funding to our largest community organisation,” he told the Sydney audience.

“We will cut funding from your biggest employer and most important organisation.”

“You know, this is the first time that Australia has had to confront this reality.”

The Prime Minister said his Government would also be withdrawing a $1.6 billion contribution to the Commonwealth-funded National Council for Jewish Youth, a key funding source for Australia.

“If you have not got your money, we will be putting that back in the community, it’s going to be a direct attack,” Mr Abbott said.

But the National Council, which represents the country’s largest Jewish community, has said that it will continue to fight for its position, even as Mr Abbott’s government plans to cut its funding from the organisation.

“The Prime Minsters anti-Muslim rhetoric is nothing short of a direct assault on our community, our values and our fundamental rights,” the organisation’s president, Rabbi Michael Lerner, said in a statement.

“It’s time to stop this nonsense and return to a relationship based on mutual respect, respect for each other, and an honest conversation about what we are and are not doing.”

Mr Williams says his position will not affect the AEC’s funding, which has been at a “very low” level for years.

“As a Jewish leader I have a great deal of faith in the Australian community and in the Prime ministers leadership to take this matter seriously,” he added.

“In the meantime we will continue our advocacy work for the Australian Jews and the Australian people.”

Mr Abbott said that he would also take action against a “fringe group” of Muslims, who were “deliberately creating chaos” by targeting the Jewish community and “harassing” Australia’s Jewish community.

“There is an anti-Islamic group that has gone through the process of creating chaos in the Muslim Community,” Mr Turnbull said.

He said the Federal Government would work with the AOC to “reduce the numbers of extremists” in the country.

“What I will do, as we have said, is bring in a tougher vetting regime to ensure that people entering Australia don’t have a propensity to cause harm,” he noted.

“That will be an issue for the Government to work out as well.”

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