A popular Jewish-owned business which was plastered with stickers in an allegedly anti-Semitic attack has declared they "don't mix gelato with politics".
The Australian Jewish Association said it received a report on Sunday that Anita Gelato in Civic was covered in anti-Israel stickers.
Anita Gelato was founded by a Jewish couple in Tel Aviv, and now has cafes in Australia, the US and Europe.
In a statement, Anita Gelato Australia said they do not have a political agenda and "pray for peace".
"We do not support war or any other political agenda, and pray for peace in the world," the company said.
"We are proud of our safe, welcoming and inclusive business culture where people's age, ethnic background, disability, religion, sexual orientation and political views do not factor into how we treat one another, both customers and employees alike.
"We are here to bring smiles and joy to people."
The stickers were also affixed to the outside of McDonald's Canberra City restaurant.
The franchises have received some backlash after the company's Israeli restaurants gave free meals to Israeli military personnel.
An image of Anita Gelato, provided by the Australian Jewish Association, shows stickers plastered over it.
One sticker has a cross over the Israeli flag, at the centre of which is the star of David. There are also yellow stickers with indistinguishable writing.
Similar stickers have been plastered on Jewish-owned businesses in Sydney and Melbourne, CEO of the Australian Jewish Association, Robert Gregory, said.
He said crossing out the star of David is anti-Semitic because the star is a religious symbol that represents Judaism, not just the state of Israel.
"We've seen many similar incidents across Australia," Mr Gregory said.
"We've seen this exact material in Melbourne, in Sydney and now in Canberra."
A McDonald's Corporation spokesperson distanced the company from the conflict in Gaza.
"We are dismayed by the disinformation and inaccurate reports regarding our position in response to the conflict in the Middle East," the spokesperson said.
"McDonald's Corporation is not funding or supporting any governments involved in this conflict, and any actions from our local Developmental Licensee business partners were made independently without McDonald's consent or approval.
"Our hearts are with all of the communities and families impacted by this crisis. We abhor violence of any kind and firmly stand against hate speech, and we will always proudly open our doors to everyone.
"We are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our people in the region while supporting the communities where we operate."
Mr Gregory believes there is an association between the material and protests.
"We believe the stickers they've used [are used by] people associated with the anti-Israel protest movement," Mr Gregory said.
There was a pro-Palestine protest in Garema Place on Saturday.
The Canberra Times could not verify when the photo was taken.
Organisers said they only scheduled rallies, and did not have involvement in other protest activities.
ACT police said they had "received two reports of City businesses having propaganda stickers relating to protests placed on them in the past two weeks.
"ACT Policing will continue to monitor this type of behaviour and will prosecute as required those who are responsible for acts of public nuisance, vandalism or criminal damage."
Seeing businesses be vandalised was "reminiscent of darker times" for many Jewish-Australians, Mr Gregory said.
Jewish businesses were boycotted in Germany from 1933, in the years preceding the Holocaust.
Businesses were vandalised and plastered with the star of David in yellow and black.
"Any targeting of any businesses across Australia is shocking," Mr Gregory said.
"For many members of the Jewish community, it reminds them of darker period in history when Jewish businesses were targeted ... it brings back memories.
"We should band by the Jewish community while we undergo this period of being targeted."
There has been an increase in anti-Semitic physical and verbal abuse since October 7, Mr Gregory said.
"Many in the Jewish community are very fearful now and we call on our governments and police to enforce the law to protect the community," he said.
Some people at a November 7 protest at the Sydney Opera House were recorded chanting anti-Semitic slurs.
Mr Gregory said he was not aware of similar language at Canberra protests but said the Australian Jewish Association was "calling on governments to step in with some of anti-Israel language being used during protests".
The Islamophobia Register Australia said they have also seen a rise in Islamophobia in the last few months.
This included a Year 6 Palestinian boy being called a terrorist, Muslim women being spat at and verbal abuse.
Canberra teenagers said they were called terrorists for supporting the Palestinian cause on social media.
ACT police said aside from the stickers "there have been no Islamophobia or anti-Semitic offences reported to ACT Policing in the past two months".
Hamas, a group which controls the Gaza strip in Palestine, killed Israeli civilians and took others as hostages in southern Israel on October 7.
Israel retaliated with bombing and has sent troops into Gaza.
There has been a truce between Israel and Hamas since November 23.
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