It took a joke at the Jerry Seinfeld live show at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney last Sunday to illustrate the essential aim of some pro-Palestinian protesters in Sydney, Melbourne and some other Australian cities.

The Jewish American Seinfeld’s performance was interrupted by a man who identified himself as Aboud. He asserted that the comedian was a Zionist who supported a “terrorist” state, namely Israel, along with “the killing of Palestinians”.

As Aboud and a supporter were being removed from the stadium, Seinfeld mocked the demonstrator’s “influence”. He said: “You’ve made your point so well … Tomorrow we will read in the paper, ‘Middle East 100 per cent solved thanks to man at the Qudos Arena stopping Jew comedian’.”

And that’s the point. Right now, Israel is fighting for the long-term survival of the Jewish state. And Hamas, which broke a ceasefire on October 7 last year to wage a brutal attack on southern Israel (which included acts of murder, rape and hostage taking) is intent on destroying Israel now or in the future.

In view of this it is unlikely any Australian government or group of Australian citizens is likely to have any substantial effect on events in the Middle East. The quickest way to end the current killing is for Hamas to surrender and release the living hostages along with the bodies of the dead. But Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip, has so far declined to do so.

So, how to interpret the demonstrations in Australia, in view of the fact neither the federal government nor any of its state and territory counterparts can have any effect on the outcome of hostilities in the Middle East?

Well, the evidence suggests the demonstrators are opposed to contemporary Australian society and its institutions.

Up to now, the focus of demonstrations has been on universities and offices of politicians. This has included occupations at the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne. Both have been met with weakness and an inclination to appease – despite the fact quite a few demonstrators have been neither students nor faculty.

And then there are the attacks on – or blockades of – the offices of federal Labor politicians such as Anthony Albanese along with leading ministers such as Richard Marles, Mark Dreyfus and Bill Shorten, plus Liberal Party senator Sarah Henderson. There also have been attacks on the US consulates in Sydney and Melbourne.

Perhaps the most disturbing attacks have been on the offices of Labor backbenchers in Melbourne – Peter Khalil (of Coptic Egyptian background) and Jewish Australian Josh Burns.

The attack on Burns’s office in St Kilda – within the electorate of Macnamara, which has the largest Jewish population in Victoria – saw the protests move from violent demonstrations to terrorism.

The attack on Burns’s office was one of the worst acts of anti-Semitism in Australian history. Across the office window was written “Zionism is fascism”, suggesting that those who support a Jewish state are the equivalent of Nazis. This is an anti-Semitic statement in itself.

Then there was the damage to doors and windows along with fires lit outside the building. This could have led to deaths if the building caught fire with individuals inside.

And what was the reaction? The Australian reported on Thursday that Victoria Police confirmed that it had yet to set up a dedicated taskforce to investigate attacks on electoral offices. Asked by The Australian as to whether a special taskforce was being considered, Victoria Police replied: “These instances are investigated by local crime investigation units; we do not have overall stats.”

This is the same Victoria Police that set up what it termed Operation Tethering with respect to the Cardinal George Pell a whole year before a complaint was even made against him. In the event, Victoria Police laid 26 charges against Pell, not one of which succeeded through the courts.

Now Victoria Police has not even collected statistics about the most serious continuing attacks on federal and state property in Australian history.

Sure, there were violent anti-government demonstrations during World War I and the Vietnam war. But individual politicians were not targeted along the lines experienced by Burns.

Moreover, Australia had military forces involved in both conflicts – unlike the situation in the Israel-Hamas war.

The demonstrations are led by some extreme Muslim groups along with some green-left soviets. Indeed members of the Greens have participated in blockades of the Labor MPs’ offices.

This kind of protest hits hardest at lower socio-economic groups in the community who often seek help from their local parliamentarians concerning government payments, welfare issues and the like.

The Prime Minister and Peter Dutton have criticised the leadership of the Greens for not speaking out against the protests in general.

This week Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt finally condemned the violence – sort of. Early in the morning on Wednesday, he posted this message on X: “I condemn the incident in St Kilda overnight. Violence has no place in our community & vandalism and damage like this are completely unacceptable.”

What a cop-out. The attack on Burns’s office was not vandalism in the accepted sense of the word, meaning damage to property for damage’s sake. It was a politically motivated act of terrorism. And it was driven by anti-Semitism. Bandt did not mention the word anti-Semitism in his post, which suggests he is in denial.

In no sense is Foreign Minister Penny Wong an uncritical supporter of Israel. Interviewed on ABC Radio National Breakfast on Thursday, she condemned the fact some Greens had participated “in protests targeting Labor MPs’ offices – some of which have turned violent” and added that the Greens had “helped bring this conflict to our shores”.

Most of the pro-Palestinian protests have been peaceful, however disruptive. But they also involved some Islamists and green-left activists who are hostile to Western society. The only upside is that they are likely to be counter-productive and to increase support for the status quo.

In Sydney, Seinfeld held his audience, who applauded him, and the joke was on the outspoken anti-Zionists. Read anti-Semites.