CARLY DOUGLAS, HERALD SUN
A senior sporting official who called for members of the Jewish community to be “bombed” has tried to walk back his disturbing online comments, saying they should have been better “articulated”.
Moreland Futsal Club president Deren Saban wrote the troubling comments on posts on a Jewish community group’s Facebook and Instagram pages in recent weeks.
Under one photo of a people congregating at a pro-Israel rally, Mr Saban wrote: “Bomb them while they are together’.
“Give them a taste of their own medicine,” he said.
In another post, in which Mr Saban called on a Zionist organisation to condemn comments made in an offensive video posted online, the futsal coach accused Israelis of burning down Muslim-owned burger shop, Burgertory.
“Brandon fein is a Israeli jew in Caulfield, he uploaded a video congratulating the ppl that burnt the store,” he wrote.
“He is now in hospital. Condemn that, and the 2 Israelis that burnt down the store will also end up in hospital.”
While the fire ignited a violent pro-Palestinian protest outside a synagogue on Friday, police have said they are confident it was not racially motivated.
Mr Saban, in the same post, said Caulfield would be “compromised very soon”.
“Melbourne will come and take over Caulfield like u think u can take over Gaza… Caulfield will be compromised very soon,” he said.
Mr Saban then also wrote: “Zionists that support the IDF need to be dealt with. Melbourne, Sydney Tel Aviv. The lot need to go.”
When the Herald Sun contacted Mr Saban he tried to explain his comments, claiming he was not calling for the community to be bombed but was “seeking to provide a comparison to what’s being experienced by the indigenous in Gaza”.
He said the comment was “directed the Zionist terrorist extremists” but that it “perhaps it wasn’t articulated as well as it could be”.
Asked about what he meant when she said Zionists who support the IDF “need to be dealt with”, the futsal coach said they “need to be arrested” and “put in jail”.
Mr Saban claimed they were “supporting genocide” as well as violations of international law.
Philip Zajac, newly elected president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, said the posts have been reported to both Victoria Police and the National Security Hotline.
“There have been so many threats made against Jewish people on social media that the Victorian Jewish community has lost count,” he said.
Zionism Victoria executive director Zeddy Lawrence said Mr Saban’s comments went well beyond a right to free speech.
“When you start actually advocating violence or issuing threats against those who support Israel or the Jewish community, surely we’ve moved beyond the right to free speech or freedom of expression and into the realms of criminal behaviour?” he said.
“When you start actually advocating violence or issuing threats against those who support Israel or the Jewish community, surely we’ve moved beyond the right to free speech or freedom of expression and into the realms of criminal behaviour?” he said