Council Blocks New Synagogue Due to Terror Fears

Representatives of Mumbai's Chabad-Lubavitch ignite a menorah erected at the Gateway of India landmark as part of the Hanukkah celebration on the eighth and final night of the Jewish community's festival, in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Dec.13, 2015. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

Remember after 9/11? Here in this country, we realized we need to still live our lives. The phrase ” … or the terrorists win” was in wide usage, even for a little humor. I remember using it for everything: I had to buy that sandwich or the terrorists win. I had to see the next Fast and the Furious or the terrorists win.


Beneath that joke, however, was a truth that can never be forgotten.

Some of our Australian friends don’t seem to understand that, unfortunately:

A local council has banned the construction of a synagogue in Bondi because it could be a terrorist target, in a shock move that religious leaders say has caved in to Islamic extremism and created a dangerous precedent.

The decision, which has rocked the longstanding Jewish community in the iconic suburb, was upheld in court this week as the nation reeled from the alleged airline terror threat and debate raged over increased security measures at airports and other public places.

The Land and Environment Court backed the decision by Waverley Council to prohibit the construction of the synagogue in Wellington St, Bondi — just a few hundred metres from Australia’s most famous beach — because it was too much of a security risk for users and local residents.

Jewish leaders are shocked the decision appears to suggest they cannot freely practice their religion because they are the target of hate by Islamist extremists — and that the council has used their own risk assessment of the threat posed by IS against it.

Yep. I’m sure the terrorists are all broken up over this.

More importantly, however, is the advanced victim blaming. The Jewish group trying to build the synagogue understands the threats as well as anyone, and took precautions — which were then used against them:


Ironically, the council and the Land and Environment Court appeared to use the proposal’s own risk assessment and security measures in the proposed design — including using setback buildings and blast walls — as evidence the site was too much of a security risk.

Yet in a classic catch-22, the council also said if the design was changed to boost security this would be unacceptable because it would be too unsightly.

It’s like they’re claiming that women wearing short skirts are asking to be raped, and the evidence is that a woman refuses to wear them due to the potential of unwanted attention.

The council is punishing the potential target for simply being a potential target. This is a bizarre abridgment of the right to free practice of religion. Yes, I know Australia doesn’t have our First Amendment, but most Western nations support the concept to a degree, so it’s not foreign to the folks down under. Or, I should say, it shouldn’t be.

We used to joke about having to do stuff or the terrorists would win. But this is what terrorism winning really looks like.


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