July 4, 2018
By Rachel Baxendale
An award-winning fashion photographer who posted a caricature of a hook-nosed Jewish man on his Facebook page with the caption, “Imagine being so disgusting there have to be laws to try to stop normal people from hating you”, says he didn’t realise the post was anti-Semitic.
Brisbane-based haute couture designer and photographer Richard de Chazal added: “Give back Palestine.”
The image and caption were circulated after the NSW parliament last month unanimously passed legislation outlawing incitement to violence on the basis of race or religious affiliation.
De Chazal yesterday updated his post, saying he had been alerted that it was anti-Semitic.
“I did not know that — I thought it was a post referring to Israel seeking to make it illegal to criticise their actions and human rights violations re Palestine,” he wrote. “Anti-Semitism, just as all discrimination, racism and ¬hatred, is wrong.”
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said the cartoon was offensive.
“If the writer is referring to the legislation outlawing incitement to violence which the NSW parliament recently passed, no law can stop people hating you, but the law can and should stop people inciting violence against you,” Mr Alhadeff said.
“However, if he is referring to Israel, as he now claims, it also makes his post absurd, given that Israel is a robust democracy where freedom of the press and an independent judiciary are hallmarks of its open society. And, yes, the picture and text are indeed anti-Semitic.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry chief executive Peter Wertheim said of de Chazal: “His posted comment has ¬deployed a classical racist stereotype of a Jew, commonly used in neo-Nazi literature, in order to attack Israel’s legitimacy as a state.”
De Chazal did not respond to a request for comment.
The photographer hit the headlines last year when he sued a Gold Coast cosmetic surgeon for using topless photographs he took of former Miss Universe Australia Rachael Finch in ¬advertising without permission.
De Chazal’s Facebook page features posts supporting progressive causes, such as ending live sheep exports, closing Australia’s offshore detention centres, and condemning US President ¬Donald Trump.
The new NSW hate speech laws make it a crime to “publicly threaten or incite violence” on the grounds of race, religious ¬affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex or HIV/AIDS status.