Conjugating Jew

November 29, 2010

[SOURCE]

Best check with the Jewish grammaticists over at Galus Australis.  They seem to be authorities on the use of the English language when it comes to sexual orientation.

Malki Rose:

The UN do not use the Torah to discriminate against GLBTs Gregory.
The UN have no belief in the Torah whatsoever, so please stop using the Torah and religion as your scapegoat for discrimination against GLBTs, it is inaccurate.

Me:

Malki, please refer to GLBT people as ‘GLBT people’ in future and not as ‘GLBTs’. We are people, just like you.

Anthony Frosh:

Michael,

Despite your protest to Malki, I’ll still not mind if you call me a “Jew” rather than a “Jewish person”.

Michael:

Frosh,

The word ‘Jew’ is a noun. The acronym ‘GLBT’ is commonly used as an adjective.

It would be a start if the people who defined themselves by excluding everyone else would accept some responsibility for the situation we find ourselves in.

Michael.

Malki Rose:

Frosh,
You know many GLBT’s refer to themselves as ‘GLBT’s’. It just means gayS, lesbianS, bi-sexualS and transgenderS.
It something we do in English. Its called using a word in plural form.
Its quite silly that some people find plural forms to be so offensive.

Respect!


A response to the JCCV’s Victorian Community Report

November 25, 2010

[SOURCE]

In J-Wire, Geoffrey Zygier of the JCCV says:

Finally Searle said that ”the GLBT Reference group formed by JCCV, is continuing to work towards combatting discrimination, vilification and managing mental health issues for this community. The plan is to look at speaking with school representatives in regards to bullying issues.

and

Searle has pledged to host more politicians’ lunches, conduct more interfaith activities starting with the Croatian community and expects to welcome more new affiliates next year in keeping with the JCCV’s policy of inclusion.”

Combatting bullying in schools necessary, as we know from the It Gets Better Project, but we need to hear the JCCV say that any intolerance of homosexuality is unacceptable to know they are taking the issue seriously.  To date that is the one thing they refuse to say.

For a secular organisation, with no official religious position, it is evident they are biased toward the interests of their Orthodox membership, and this is not the role of the organisation that is supposed to represent the entire Jewish community.

As for the “JCCV’s policy of inclusion”.  That is deceitful.  The JCCV has a strong history of excluding various organisations in the Jewish community, including the gay group Aleph Melbourne, and it certainly has excluded me from any discussions.

The JCCV needs a major overhaul, which I would suggest should start with the removal of the president.  Only then might the organisation start to become representative.


More homophobic hate on AJN Watch

November 25, 2010

Over on AJN Watch

Anonymous said…

It must be a slow news day if this topic can attract so many comments. I don’t know if anyone has researched yet if the Rebbe approved of AFL players attending Chanukah lightings but I find having gentile politicians and celebrities lighting candles (which I thought was a mizvah for yidden to perform) quite odious, even though I believe this was done in the past with the Rebbes blessing. I’m surprised AJNwatch hasn’t picked up on an egagement annoucement in the current AJN edition. There are three sets of parents for this one. The bride’s parents, the groom’s father and his second wife, and the groom’s mother and her gentile lesbian ‘partner’. I’m not criticising the AJN for printing the ad, but it really opens youe eyes to what a sick society this has become. It will be interesting to know the arrangement of who will be standing under the chuppah here.

Robert Weil

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 5:39:00 PM

and:

Ilana said…

B’H

Oh Dear, @ Anonymous
I know why you posted this anonymously.
” There are three sets of parents for this one. The bride’s parents, the groom’s father and his second wife, and the groom’s mother and her gentile lesbian ‘partner’. I’m not criticising the AJN for printing the ad, but it really opens youe eyes to what a sick society this has become. It will be interesting to know the arrangement of who will be standing under the chuppah here.”
You would have a certain Mikeybear on your case if he knew your name for posting the above and you would join me in the notorious Hall of Anti Gay Fame Activists Responsible of the Deaths of Every Gay Person who Ever Suicided Because of Rejection Real or Perceived (and not untreated or misdiagnosed mental health issues)or just plain bullying. I agree, it has become a really sick society that accepts anything in its strivings to be so PC and tolerant of others and society ignores the intolerance and lack of respect from those it strives to ‘protect and nurture’ against those who would differ in their opinion to the PC line of thought. I agree with Chabadnik, that Chanukah is about spiritual dangers to the Jewish Neshoma. On one hand we should not ape the customs and ways of the goyim but on the other we should strive to reach the disinfrancised Jews. Rav Gutnik who sponsors the event owns a football club or is a President of one, whatever, I am not a big fan of football, especially Aussie rules, give me a good book any day. I am even proud to say after living in Melbourne on and off since 1972 I have never, ever been to an AFL match or watched one on TV which is quite an achievement give the football madness of the winter season in Melbourne.
The good Rav with all due respect, has many interests not only football. He has an extensive knowledge of Torah and well entrenched Jewish values so he is probably not in any spiritual danger.
The Torah is a guide or blue print given to us by Hashem for our guidance and spiritual health. It is similar to having a very fancy GPS system but if you don’t know how to use it, you can still get horribly lost and if you don’t follow it correctly, you get led astray.
I have real concerns about this ‘acceptance’ of the gay lifestyle as ‘normal’. It is not. We should not confuse the issue here. Normal family life entails having a Mum and a Dad or a Tatty and Ima, not two tatties, not two imas. It is like the Torah, very concise and clear on the issue. Then we have a Zeidy or Saba who is married to a Bubba or a Savta. Just thing about the implications of lifestyles that are otherwise and what that entails for future generations. Imagine the family trees and yes on this branch we have two doddot who were married to each other and over here we have Dod Moshe who was married to Dod Manny and they used surrogate x who was not Jewish by the way and had three children (triplets) Rivki, Malkie and Michael and so on and so on. Wonderful, we will be so accepting of everything, so let’s not have any boundaries at all and live chaotically like……. (I am lost for words, as even the animal kingdom has rules and codes of conduct that in a lot of cases is superior to many humans in present society.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 7:27:00 AM

and:

Anonymous said…

Ilana, check carefully. I didn’t post as ‘anonymous’. My name (Robert Weil) is at the bottom. I am quite capable of taking on the Mikeybears and others. I’m sure Mr. Barnett will be posting here before long to label me a ‘homophobe’.

Robert Weil

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 10:16:00 PM

Robert Weil is not a stranger to being intolerant of gay people and the issues we face.  Back in 2007 he felt it necessary to reinforce his beliefs that AIDS was a gay disease, as published in the Australian Jewish News here and here.  The second letter by Robert Weil was in response to this by Luke Huggard.

The views that Robert Weil and Ilana Leeds proliferate are dangerous, fed by intolerant fundamentalist dogma, trotted out as divinely inspired and mandatory to observe.  The tragedy of the situation is that they, amongst so many others, simply don’t have a grip on reality, and consequently people get hurt, suffer and sometimes die.


Anti-Defamation Commission – an organisation in conflict with itself

November 23, 2010

In October I wrote to the Anti-Defamation Commission in relation to the issues I addressed in my previous blog, calling for them to take action.

I received this initial response to my message:

From: ADC Reception <Reception@antidef.org.au>
Date: 14 October 2010 10:48
Subject: RE: Call for Anti-Defamation Commission to echo ADL’s Denouncement of Carl Paladino’s Comments Denigrating Homosexuality
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Dear Michael,

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.  We are taking this matter seriously; the ADC Board will consider it at its next meeting on Wednesday 20th October.    We will let you know the outcome of our discussion shortly after.

Kind Regards
Alain Grossbard
Acting Chairman ADC

I followed up with the ADC after their board meeting and received the following response:

From: ADC Reception <Reception@antidef.org.au>
Date: 25 October 2010 09:55
Subject: RE: Call for Anti-Defamation Commission to echo ADL’s Denouncement of Carl Paladino’s Comments Denigrating Homosexuality
To: Michael Barnett <mikeybear69@gmail.com>

Dear Michael,

The Board has declined to comment.

Curiously, the matter goes from genuine concern to silence.  But really, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, because we know the ADC won’t comment on anti-gay hate in the Jewish community.

With the immediate past JCCV President Anton Block being appointed to chair of the ADC, I don’t expect this situation to change.  The ADC’s parent organisation is the JCCV (not B’nai B’rith as the Jewish News continues to misinform all).  The ADC tows the JCCV’s “let’s not upset the Orthodox” stance and remains muzzled by them.

Deborah Stone, Research Director at the ADC says on Galus Australis:

But I’m quite clear on my Jewish identity and my rights as a Jew to be free from hate speech. I’m also clear on my responsibility, as a Jew and as a human being, to advocate for respectful pluralism in Australia. So when an opportunity to use my media and research background came up at the Anti-Defamation Commission, it seemed a good fit.

Of course, but don’t let a little hate toward gay people get in the way of you doing your job.  We all know anti-gay hate isn’t nearly as harmful as anti-Jew hate.  Jewish Gays can cop it, can’t we?  We don’t really matter all that much.  A little suicide or self-mutilation here and there won’t matter to the families of the young kids who feel they can’t cope with the anti-gay hate that the ADC won’t address.  But god help those who throw anti-Jew shit at Jews.  Lord knows the ADC and it’s overlords at the JCCV will turn heaven and earth to seek adequate redress.

The ADC needs to take a good look at itself.  The JCCV needs to take a good look at itself.  The Jewish community needs to ask itself if they want to be represented by these self-serving, gutless organisations that elect egotistical leaders in acts of nepotic arrogance.

They don’t give a fuck about the welfare of your kids.  Only their egos and political careers.


Equal Love Rally. We’re all equal. Get over your intolerance.

November 20, 2010

Today was another Equal Love Rally in Melbourne.  It was held outside the State Library of Victoria on a glorious sunny Melbourne day.  Lots of people were there.  Lots of ordinary, everyday, normal people.  There were some great speeches.  There was a lot of inspiration, love and acceptance.

In this world there is a lot of intolerance, ignorance and fear around people who don’t conform to some rigid stereotype of “normal”.  Sadly these people lack the compassion, humanity and maturity to understand that their bigoted, homophobic and hateful attitudes are wrong, outdated, and plain old mean.

When will these people grow up and learn to love?

Check out my photos from the Equal Love Rally today on Picasa and Facebook.


“Taking out the Trash” by Galus Australis editors Ant Frosh & Rachel Sacks-Davis

November 8, 2010

On Facebook, Ant Frosh gloats about his wife Rachel Sacks-Davis “taking out the trash”; a not-so-nice euphemism for outing a person who claimed to be a member of the GLBT community that they didn’t believe was.  The person in question is a member of the GLBT community, as I have been advised by the person in question.

Ant Frosh’s public Facebook wall revealed this conversation:

Taking out the trash

Ant Frosh talks about his wife "taking out the trash"

Which refers to these two conversations on their blog (here and here):

Ant Frosh and Rachel Sacks-Davis out 'Akiva'

Ant Frosh and Rachel Sacks-Davis out 'Akiva'

Outing someone at the best of times is a deplorable act of cowardice.  Gloating about it and referring to them as trash is simply degrading and about a low as it gets.

A public apology to ‘Akiva’ is required.


Colt David Hansen: gone but not forgotten

November 7, 2010

Just recently I wrote about the It Gets Better Project, in response to the spate of youth suicides in the USA.  This amazing project, by Dan Savage and his team, has brought visibility of suicide in same-sex attracted youth as high as the office of the President of the USA.

A bit further back in May I wrote about victims of religious bigotry.  Sadly this problem shows no signs of going away.  There are still desperately unhappy people who are struggling with their sexuality and not receiving the help they need from their parents, family and peers.  Worse still, their plight is often diminished or simply erased.

Thanks to some great people out there, such as Eric Ethington, this invisibility is being turned around.  We are able to get a better understanding of the true person, and their life, loves and the wonderful impact they had on their friends and networks they contributed to.

Just the other day Colt David Hansen of Salt Lake City, Utah died.  It is unclear if his death was accidental.  From what I understand he had been struggling with depression and questions were raised as to whether this was due to a conflict with the Mormon faith.  We may never find out the truth.  You can read about the story as it has come to hand on Eric’s site “Pride in Utah” here and here.  Also take time to read the comments from friends and family.

Colt David Hansen Colt David Hansen Colt David Hansen

Colt David Hansen

 

I have been trying to raise awareness around this issue of religious intolerance of homosexuality in the fundamentalist/Orthodox Jewish world for a long time now.  One year ago I wrote an article about it on Galus Australis and just recently have contributed to a discussion on the same site about some seemingly misguided efforts to address it in the local Jewish community.

It’s only a matter of time before news of a suicide due to intolerance of sexuality comes to light in this community.  I don’t want this to happen but it is inevitable.  Right now the community is for the most part burying its collective head in the sand about it.  There has been some superficial discussion, but for the most part the community leadership won’t acknowledge the problem and is certainly not in any hurry to address it.


A child needs more than just a mum and a dad as an ideal paradigm

November 7, 2010

The following comment (excerpt) was posted on the Jewish web site Galus Australis recently:

Geoff Bloch says:

Lest I be called a bigot and various other similar epithets, may I hasten to add that I acknowledge the difficulty in maintaining a secular argument against homosexuality (although they do exist) and I don’t believe we should pry into people’s bedrooms (only two weeks ago we read hanistarot ladonai eloheinu – hidden sins are left to God, they are not our concern). I also readily concede that there is nothing unnatural about homosexuality – there would not be a clear biblical prohibition against it were it not perfectly natural (it only seems unnatural to heterosexuals who have been raised in societies which honour a rather different paradigm). Moreover, how can its universality otherwise be explained?

But by the same token, I personally think it should be more than enough for the gay lobby that the mainstream be tolerant of their preference. Regrettably, the gay lobby wants society to affirm that homosexuality is as desirable a preference as heterosexuality on which the building block of society, namely the family, should be based.

I requested a clarification from the author around his use of the word “regrettable” and received this response:

Geoff Bloch says:

I have been asked by a reader to clarify a comment I made in a previous post that although the mainstream should be tolerant of gays’ sexual preference, it was regrettable that the gay lobby wants society to affirm that homosexuality is as desirable a preference as heterosexuality on which the family should be based.

I affirm that comment because, amongst other things, it is my opinion that children are entitled to a mother and a father as an ideal paradigm. I should not, however, be taken to imply that a mother and a father would necessarily do a better job raising a child than would a same sex couple in all cases. Stating such a general principle would be absurd.

I’m not entirely comfortable with the language used in these comments.  They show a person who does not appear to have any close connections with gay men or women, and perhaps a person who does not see gay people simply as people.  However, that is an aside to what I am writing about.

The author makes the statement: “it is my opinion that children are entitled to a mother and a father as an ideal paradigm”.  Presumably the author is referring to the biological parents of a child, namely the woman and man whose genetic material formed the child.

I find myself trying to understand what exactly an “ideal paradigm” is.  Superficially, it probably means “if everything was perfect”.  One might ask the question “what is perfect?” and then go on to ask “by whose standards?”  We might all have our own interpretation of these concepts.  Some may even defer to a higher authority, if that’s what they believe in.

I need to prefix the following statement by saying that I am not a student of biology, so I hope to be corrected if what I am about to write is incorrect.  A lesson in evolutionary biology would reveal that all living things have arrived at where they are because of mutations that occur during genetic reproduction.  Given these mutations, which occur naturally and effectively uncontrollably, one could say that it is because of the imperfections in nature that we have arrived where we are today, as decendents of primitive cellular organisms, via way of the apes, over many millions of years.

It is that there are imperfections in nature that are so vital to our existence that I wish to challenge the notion of an “ideal paradigm”.  In nature, there is nothing “ideal”.  There are simply life-forms that adapt to their environment successfully and others less so.  The life-forms that adapt best become prolific, and the ones that don’t adapt so well are prone to extinction.

With this in mind I put it that “ideal paradigms” are contrary to the way nature works and that there is no “ideal”; only successful and unsuccessful.

I would like to explore the notion of it being ideal that a child have both a mother and a father.  This does sound good, and why wouldn’t anyone want a child to have a mum and a dad?  It is after all what nature gave us.

So here we have a child with a mum and a dad.  It’s ideal, and presumably best, according to the author.  The child has a lot of needs, in order to grow up healthy and well adjusted.  Let’s assume the parents are both capable of supplying the child with all that it requires, namely a safe home, clothing, bedding, food, education, entertainment, love, constant and abundant care, financial stability, a happy household, and so on.  This child is really lucky because it’s mum and dad provide it everything it needs, and maybe more.

But wait a minute.  Not everyone’s household is quite like this.  Sure, plenty of kids have a mum and a dad, but do they all have the rest?  Lots of parents are unemployed, or cannot provide a decent meal, or are unwell, or are abusive, or cannot afford to rent a nice home, or are just not capable of providing everything the child needs.  Yet the child has a mother and father, and this is good, because that’s ideal, according to the author.

Let’s consider a different scenario.  A child has two dads or two mums, simply due to circumstances.  One of the parents will most likely be biological, the other not.  Now take the scenerio of this child’s parents being able to provide an identical, ideal family scenario as I described above.  The only difference being that both parents are the same gender.

Compare the “ideal” situation of the child having a mum and a dad, who can only provide a scant, bare-bones existence, with the less preferred situation of the child with two dads or mums, who can provide a delightfully abundant existence.

I don’t think it takes a genius to see that the child coming from the impoverished household is more likely to suffer in their development, either physically, emotionally or both, whilst the child from the plentiful environment will probably thrive in most areas.

The point I am making here is that when the author writes “it is my opinion that children are entitled to a mother and a father as an ideal paradigm” he should actually be saying “it is my opinion that children are entitled to a mother and a father, who are healthy, happy, intelligent, employed, financially stable, and love each other, as an ideal paradigm”.

That would be great, in an ideal world.  However we live in a real word, one that mostly doesn’t conform to ideals, and we have to make do.  So if a child has two loving mums or two loving dads I’d say that’s a pretty ideal situation to be in and be satisfied with that.  Anyone wanting more is being unrealistic and unfair.


Malki Rose on John Searle’s patronising response to a bogus issue

November 6, 2010

[SOURCE]

On Galus Australis Malki Rose talks about the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Reference Group.  I have written about this ‘reference group’ a number of times.

I refer to a section of Malki’s article on Galus, followed here by some correspondence between Geoffrey Zygier of the JCCV and myself, and finally ask a question of Malki.

Mr Searle said that the GLBT reference group, comprising of a mix of individuals who had approached him with their concerns, also seeks to gauge the mental health concerns and risks, which young GLBT Jews may be facing.

Thus far, the reference group, which includes a qualified psychologist, has noted that there are relatively few instances of discrimination or vilification being perpetrated against GLBT Jews by ‘straight’ Jews.

Perhaps it is possible that smaller numbers of openly gay Jews equates to less instances of vilification or discrimination?

In speaking with Mr Searle, I suggested that some of the discrimination and exclusionary behaviour may also be too subtle to measure and also far more prevalent in the Orthodox community where the Halachic concerns play a stronger role in the community’s treatment or subtle exclusion of GLBT Jews.

Many GLBT Jews, having been excluded by the Jewish community as deviant or ‘people best avoided’, become disenfranchised and abandon the Jewish Community, seeking solace in the potentially more accepting embrace of the non-Jewish GLBT community, whose inclusiveness seems much more all encompassing.

On the surface this sounds really good, but there’s a very big trick being played by John Searle.  The JCCV released a statement for Mental Health Week on October 4 2010.   As I did in 2009, I asked the JCCV to make mention in this statement of the mental health issues that same-sex attracted Jews face.  Of course, the JCCV obliged in making some mention of the issue, but also as in 2009, this year they again deflected the problem from the real issue affecting closeted same-sex attracted people in the Jewish community to the diversionary issue of Jews in the GLBT community.

I wrote to Geoffrey Zygier about this, as he was the contact for the media release, expressing my concern over the language used:

From: Michael Barnett
Sent: Tuesday, 5 October 2010 1:37 PM
To: Geoffrey Zygier
Subject: In response to the JCCV Media Release: Assistance for those in Need

Hi Geoffrey,

I refer to the JCCV media release “Assistance for those in Need” issued yesterday.

You state “There are also particular concerns about mental health issues faced by members of the GLBT communities.”

As I have previously advised the JCCV, and as Professor Anne Mitchell would have advised the JCCV GLBT Reference Group earlier this year, the problems that same-sex attracted people experience that lead or contribute to mental health issues, self harm and suicide are frequently happening to people who do not identify with the GLBT community. To state otherwise is misleading.

Urgent attention needs to be paid to people in the Jewish community who are struggling with their sexuality or who are in the closet. It is the intolerance of homosexuality that is the problem, not because people are same-sex attracted.

I strongly urge the JCCV to acknowledge this situation, and stop inferring the problem is only or mainly with people in the GLBT community.

I would appreciate a response on this matter and would be happy to have a discussion with you if you require further clarification.

Regards,
Michael.

I received this response:

From: Geoffrey Zygier
Date: 8 October 2010 14:53
Subject: RE: In response to the JCCV Media Release: Assistance for those in Need
To: Michael Barnett

Hello Michael

I accept what you say and the statement was not meant to infer otherwise. On reflection it could have been phrased more clearly.

Good Shabbos

Geoffrey

Geoffrey Zygier I Executive Director I Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV)
The Voice of Victorian Jewry
306 Hawthorn Road South Caulfield VIC AUST 3162
03 9272 5579 I 0413 731545
http://www.jccv.org.au

I then sent the following email, which currently remains unanswered:

From: Michael Barnett
Date: 8 October 2010 15:24
Subject: Re: In response to the JCCV Media Release: Assistance for those in Need
To: Geoffrey Zygier

Thank you for this Geoffrey. Would you consider issuing an amended media release, with an appropriate revision of this statement?

Perhaps: “There are also particular concerns about mental health issues faced by members of the Jewish community who are same-sex attracted or who have a gender identity disorder.”

I believe it would be a really positive way to move forward, especially considering the serious nature of the issue.

Regards,
Michael.

Yet as Malki writes above, John Searle is talking about GLBT people being excluded or ill-treated by others in the Jewish community.  This is not the real problem, if it is even a problem.  If the truth be known, it is actually a diversion, set up to show the JCCV’s funding source that it is doing something to include GLBT people in the community.

Searle refuses to engage on the topic that is the most serious, the one where people who are same-sex attracted, who do not identify as GLBT, are not even able to talk about their situation and live in fear of expressing their true sexual orientation.

I ask Malki to explain why she is supporting this action to address a ‘bogus’ issue and is not challenging the JCCV on why they are side-stepping the real issue?  I understand that “something is better than nothing”, but this “something” is extremely patronising.


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