The evidence suggests that many leaders of Western democracies, along with many of the journalists and intellectuals who comment on international and national politics, do not understand the reality of contemporary anti-Semitism.

Only a conspiracy theorist of the extreme left or the extreme right would deny the reality of ­October 7.

The Hamas terrorist organisation broke a ceasefire and invaded southern Israel. There followed the worst mass murder of Jews since the end of Nazi Germany’s Holocaust of some eight decades ago – along with the butchery of children, the rape of women and the brutalising of the elderly, plus such war crimes as kidnapping ­civilians.

Yet on November 26, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar put up a post on X stating “an innocent child who was lost has now been found and returned”.

The reference was to the ­Israeli-Irish nine-year-old Emily Hand who was kidnapped from Gaza while on a sleepover with a friend on October 7.

This was just fudge. Varadkar knows that Hand was never lost – since everyone, including herself, knew where she was.

The nine-year-old was a kidnap victim being used by a terrorist group as a human shield. Sure, her release during the Israel-Gaza pause, or ceasefire, was most welcome. But the Irish Prime Minister should have the courage to call a kidnap a kidnap.

On Wednesday night, Margaritis Schinas was interviewed by Sarah Ferguson on ABC TV’s 7.30 program. A former Greek politician, Schinas was introduced as vice-president of the European Commission with responsibilities for migration, asylum and combating anti-Semitism.

First up, the visiting European was asked whether there is “urgent consensus in Europe for the creation of a Palestinian state”.

Schinas replied in the affirmative and added: “Somehow, the terrorist attack of Hamas on Israel and everything that followed in a way was a blessing in disguise, if I may use this, because it brings back this idea of a post-conflict horizon based on security guarantees and the two-state solution …”

How insensitive can a European Commission bureaucrat get? Yet Ferguson let pass the comment that Hamas’s barbarous acts of mass murder were somehow “a blessing in disguise”.

The interview continued with what the interviewer called the “march of far-right parties in Europe”, hostility to Muslim immigration and Britain’s refusal to give back the Elgin Marbles to Greece. No one spoke about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.

Ferguson responded to Schinas’ claim that a two-state solution now “could be a viable option both for the security of Israel and of the Palestinians” by querying whether this “is possible while (Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu remains in power”.

What’s Netanyahu got to do with it? Israel’s elected Prime Minister supports a two-state solution, in theory at least. Schinas failed to mention Ghazi Hamad, a senior figure in the Hamas dictatorship, told the Lebanese channel LBC on October 24: “We must teach Israel a lesson and we will do it twice and three times.”

In other words, there can be no two-state solution while Hamas remains extant and committed to the annihilation of Israel. On ­November 8, Ben Hubbard and Maria Abi-Habib reported to The New York Times that a Hamas media adviser, Taher El-Nounou, had declared: “I hope that the state of war with Israel will become permanent on all the borders …”

To be fair, Ferguson has done some good interviews on 7.30 about the Israel-Gaza conflict. But the Schinas discussion lacked a sense of reality. Moreover, 7.30 has downplayed the emergence of anti-Semitism, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.

Anti-Semitism arrived in 1788 with the First Fleet. But never in Australian history has hatred of Jews been so evident as has been the case since October 7. After all, the chant of “gas the Jews” was heard outside the Sydney Opera House on October 9 – before Israel’s retaliation against Hamas.

Those protesting against Israel on Australian streets appear to be led by Palestinian and Lebanese Australian citizens and residents plus a large contingent of Anglo-Celtic looking Australians – best described as the Green Left.

It’s notable that the Green Left comrades who have signed petitions hostile to Israel avoid using the word “kidnap” or “kidnapping”. Take the petition put out by the left-wing magazine Overland on October 21, for example.

It supported the Greens’ position on Israel-Gaza, referred to the October 7 murders as merely “armed attacks by Palestinian people” and made no reference to kidnapping. It was signed by, among others, Clementine Ford, Lizzie O’Shea, Marieke Hardy and Jeff Sparrow.

It was much the same with the self-important “letter from journalists to Australian media outlets” of November 24 which was endorsed by the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance union and supported by MEEA house committees at the ABC and The Guardian Australia. It, too, made no reference to kidnapping and ran a moral equivalence line on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Signatories included the ABC’s Tony Armstrong, Benjamin Law (Nine, ABC) and Nine’s Cathy Wilcox.

No one has to read open letter declarations and the like. It would seem that the anti-Israel left’s latest tactic is to confront captive audiences. Hence the demonstration in Sydney last Saturday when three out of five members of The Seagull play took a curtain call wearing Palestinian-style keffiyeh scarves.

This was virtue-signalling by confrontation. Moreover, the trio had nothing to say about how the current conflict might be resolved with respect to a terrorist organisation like Hamas which is committed to never-ending acts of murder and kidnapping until the Jews are wiped out from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

On late Wednesday, the Sydney Theatre Company issued a statement stating that it was “deeply sorry” for the demonstration and acknowledged that “when our audiences attend a production they come to experience the content of that play and that play only”.

The good news is that some Australian Jews and their supporters are fighting back against those who are in denial about the rise of anti-Semitism that has many Jews feeling unsafe. This was evident in the newspaper advertisement published on Tuesday and in the pushback against the stunt by some performers in The Seagull.