This week the Australian Jewish News (Mar 4 2011, p3) reported that heads of key organisations in Melbourne’s Jewish community faced difficulty gaining membership of embattled aspirant community broadcaster Lion FM (Melbourne Jewish Radio):
“MJR president John Kraus … submitted Lion FM membership applications for ECAJ president Dr Danny Lamm, JCCV president John Searle and Zionist Council of Victoria president Sam Tatarka. The executive, however, passed a resolution to defer membership deliberations – “a disgusting and disgraceful state of events”, according to Kraus, particularly given that Searle and Tatarka were present.
This comes two weeks after the JCCV issued a media release (covered in my blog here) stating:
Rabbi Rapoport contends that the GLBT community must accept that they cannot become official members of the JCCV as this would fracture the Jewish community.
In 1999 the JCCV refused membership to Aleph Melbourne, then a social and support group for gay and bisexual Jewish men. Now in 2011 the JCCV unapologetically endorses the unsubstantiated view of Rabbi Rapoport that membership of the JCCV by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Jewish community would be harmful to said community. In my opinion these two events overshadow the fraught membership application by the JCCV president of community radio station Lion FM.
There may be meritorious reasons for Lion putting on hold the membership applications of Searle, Lamm and Tatarka. It is unhelpful that Searle endorses Rapoport’s claim the JCCV should not have GLBT membership. This action further marginalises GLBT members of the Jewish community. If any community organisation wants to be successful, it must work cooperatively with every member of the community it is a part of, not just those that fit its political agenda.
It’s worth noting that in 1999 that both the State Zionist Council and Danny Lamm actively spoke against membership of Aleph Melbourne to the JCCV.
By no stretch of the imagination do they [Aleph Melbourne] follow Jewish ideals and the motion [for membership] should not be put forward — Erwin Lamm, SZC delegate
The organisation [Aleph Melbourne] … is not an organisation that ought to be represented at the JCCV. — Dr Danny Lamm, Mizrachi delegate
If Searle, Lamm or Tatarka approached Aleph Melbourne for membership, they would be pleased to hear that membership would be approved without hesitation. Aleph Melbourne doesn’t ask questions about how prospective members bat or the way they prefer to score goals. The organisation welcomes all members of the Jewish community, with the only prerequisite being a Jewish identity or heritage.
Lastly, if any of the aforementioned wish to become members of a long-standing and reputable community radio station in Melbourne, they can approach JOY 94.9. Their membership application process is especially transparent. Apply here.
1 JCCV Plenum Meeting minutes – May 10 1999
2 “Gay group seeks to join the JCCV” [AJN, Apr 9 1999; p7]
3 “Could Aleph split the JCCV?” [AJN, Apr 30 1999; p7]