Responding to Corey: there’s an elephant in the room at the JCCV and it’s far from kosher

April 28, 2013

Yesterday I wrote a blog “The JCCV Puppet Show 2013“.  Today Corey posted a comment on it:

Personally I think this is childish and unwarranted.

No organisation or community has EVER gone from “homophobic” to “acceptance” over night. There has always been some with an organisation who harbour their old prejudices.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t benefit in doing SOMEthing rather than NOthing…

All this cartoon tells me is that the author has been so personally hurt by some in the JCCV that his pain is too great to see any glimmer of good in their action towards inclusive behaviour.

Perhaps my message was too subtle for Corey, so I will elaborate (although I hoped this would have been clear from the Aleph Melbourne media release issued on March 28).

The JCCV has put their name to the No To Homophobia campaign.  Any ordinary person would understand this to mean that they say no to homophobia.  Not just some homophobia, but all homophobia.  By comparison, take the issue of anti-Semitism, which is an area of concern for the JCCV.  They have the Anti-Defamation Commission to look after that for them, and through the ADC they attempt to stamp out all anti-Semitism.

Now from my humble perspective, when I read that the JCCV has signed up to No To Homophobia, I trust they are actually taking this initiative seriously and with no less concern for homophobia than they have for anti-Semitism.

But here’s the thing.  There’s a big fat elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about, and that’s the biblical prohibition on homosexuality, Leviticus 18:22, that the Orthodox section of the Jewish community feel compelled to uphold.  It’s about as black and white as it gets: Homosexual sex is forbidden.  Now if that’s not homophobic, then nothing is.  Incidentally, the Orthodox community seem to have no qualms about not stoning to death those who commit homosexual activity, as required under Leviticus 20:13, although maybe that’s because civilised societies don’t stone people to death any more (much like civilised societies aren’t actually intolerant of homosexuality any more).

Leviticus Elephant

The JCCV Leviticus Elephant

I mention Leviticus 18:22 because in 2013 the Orthodox leadership in the community are steadfastly intolerant of homosexuality, and further, are intolerant of equal recognition of homosexual relationships under the law and under the religion.  You may wonder why this is an issue here.  Let me tell you.  If the JCCV is going to call for no homophobia in the Jewish community, then this means it is calling for no intolerance of homosexual people, no intolerance of homosexual relationships and no intolerance of homosexuality.

And this is an impossible situation for the JCCV because the Orthodox member organisations of the JCCV are not suddenly going to start embracing homosexuality just because the JCCV has signed up to No To Homophobia.  And further, the JCCV will willingly continue to accept the not-insubstantial membership dues (and any other financial contributions) of these organisations that are currently intolerant of homosexuality.  It should be noted that the spiritual leaders of many of these organisations belong to the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, itself unaffiliated with the JCCV, that made a submission to the Australian Senate calling for the homophobic discrimination in the Marriage Act to remain in place.

There is no amount of “good-will” that the JCCV can dish up that will make any thinking person believe it is sincere about saying no to homophobia while it actively nurtures organisations that themselves are actively intolerant of homosexuality in the Jewish and wider community.  It’s that simple.

Lastly, for those who say “Saying no to homophobia is a start, even if it’s just saying it” (and no, that doesn’t cut the “we don’t tolerate some anti-Semitism” test), how about the JCCV actually does something practical, like any one of these:

  • Recommend all Jewish schools join up to Safe Schools Coalition Victoria
  • Recommend the government doesn’t exempt religious organisations from discriminating against LGBTI people in Anti-Discrimination legislation
  • Call for the removal of discrimination in the Marriage Act that prevents same-sex attracted and intersex members of the Jewish community from getting married
  • Rebuking members of the community, lay and spiritual, who make public homophobic claims, such as that of Rabbi Shimon Cowen, Rabbi Chaim Ingram, Dr Miriam Grossman, Robert Weil, Ilana Leeds, and the “AJN Watch” blog.  Their standard yelp “Don’t give them oxygen” simply doesn’t cut it, considering just how strongly they rebuke purveyors of anti-Semitism
  • Establish a properly funded rigorous investigation into the rate of self-harm and suicide from members of the Jewish community who are struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Extend an invitation to LGBTI Jewish organisations to become members of the JCCV, as an act of goodwill (especially considering they rejected the last application from a long-established LGBTI Jewish organisation)
  • Start praising the stellar work of the Progressive and Conservative Jewish communities.

I hope that this explains why the JCCV must prove that it is actually engaging with the community to break down homophobia and not just taking the lazy way out (in order to tick the “We’re LGBTI inclusive” box on government grant applications, to ensure its funding sources don’t dry up).  Until then it will remain nothing more than a three-ring circus replete with puppet and clown show.


AJN Watch confirmed gone soft

March 8, 2012

Yesterday I said AJN Watch had the bloggers equivalent of erectile dysfunction.  In a post just up today they’ve confirmed it:

The simple reason that we have stayed away from this semi-annual “gay moan and gripe” festivities is because it has become boring. Boring for us and boring to our readers. Zehu! Nothing else.

I don’t for one minute believe this codswallop.  Their masthead states quite clearly:

We spotlight errors, expose misrepresentations and vigorously advocate our community’s positions.

If they had an ounce of credibility they’d be vigorously advocating their community’s positions, but nope, they’re can’t be bothered.

Soft shmocks.

(P.S.  AJN Watch accuses gays of being “half-naked, sexually-disturbed weirdos” and “pink-frilly underpants-wearers”.  Their religious community is the one rife with the hideous child sex-abuse scandals, police investigations and cover-ups at Yeshivah College.  Not to mention the men walking around the streets in hats made of possums, wearing funny white stockings and curly side-locks, and their women covered up, not unlike the burqa-clad Muslim women, simply because their lecherous men can’t control their sexual urges.  They’re not in a position to be calling gays weirdos, especially with this sort of shmutz and weirdness in their community.)


AJN Watch has gone soft (or “Let’s play hide the kosher elephant”)

March 7, 2012

I’m really intrigued.  AJN Watch has gone soft.  Once they’d take on the Australian Jewish News with great gusto, and most especially when it was on the issue of homosexuality.  But of late AJN Watch has remained silent on the major coverage that the AJN gave to the two most pressing issues of late, namely the Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s spanking of the out-of-line Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen and the AJN‘s extensive coverage of the taboo topic of homosexuality (in the context of bullying in schools).

Has someone had a word in the ear of the editorial team at AJN Watch and told them it’s not ok to publish gay-hate any more?  I suspect they’d be foaming at the mouth with these recent events, and barely able to contain their collective rage.  I mean, the best they’ve been able to get outraged about lately is kosher cheese and Jon Faine (and of course a reminder about how to bypass the need to subscribe to the AJN).

I can’t say I’m at all disappointed that their vile hate has been silenced, but I’m curious as to what’s transpired behind the scenes.  The silence is deafening.


Orthodox rabbis champion homosexual acceptance and same-sex marriage

June 14, 2011

[SOURCE]

Our friends over at AJN Watch have published a delightfully accepting and heart-warming piece about homosexuality and marriage equality.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  Please thank them for their care and concern.

PS.  If the link above is broken, try this backup PDF version.


Why is Ilana Leeds obsessed with Bestiality?

December 17, 2010

Ilana Leeds enjoys bringing bestiality into the conversation.  What is her obsession with the topic?  Clearly it is a viewpoint endorsed by the AJN Watch web site that publishes her bigoted, hateful and bullying opinions unchallenged.

Ilana said…
B’H No one is judging. On a deeper level, we have to look at homosexuality as equated with bestiality and understand that both activities require the individual to submit to baser instinctive behaviours on one level that requires much effort to control. If we support marches for ‘gay rights’ and support a gay lifestyle, then why are we not marching to support child sex offenders because surely they are ‘just one of many variations of HUMAN sexuality’? Child sex offenders will use that argument to negate criticism of their behaviour to and say that they were merely ‘helping children to express their inner sexual desires’. I know that people like Mikeybear who runs Aleph have great issues with my views on the subject and I want to get away from the personal aspect of it, because there are many worthwhile and gentle sensitive gay people who contribute to society in many very worthwhile ways. However, I for one am not going to support a gay lifestyle and I certainly will not march in favour of sexual behaviour and lifestyle that I disagree with. If I had two people going for a job and both were equally qualified and one was gay, would I hesitate to hire a gay person, definitely not. Would I go to a gay nightclub (despite the fact that I do not hang out at night clubs and never have seen it as a desirable activity), definitely not, but would I stop a gay person coming to a function I (for arguments sake held) definitely not, but I would require a certain code of conduct. Am I in favour of sending my son to a Jewish Youth Group that supports same sex marriage – definitely not, because those sorts of values are not what I want for my son. I had a similar answer to someone who suggested that I remove my son from a school and send him the Caulfield Community School because they believe he has ‘behaviour issues. Now, the Caulfield Community School may be very worthwhile for the sons and daughters of XXXX (removed by blogmaster) and if I wanted my son to become like those poor little blighters and for him to get an education in the social mores of fringe dwellers, I certainly would see that as an option, but I do not. It would be the beginning of the end of him and corrupt him, Now when we choose a youth group, we want certain values to be supported and espoused. I have not come across anywhere in Jewish literature that homosexuality is a Jewish value, although people will argue that David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship. I believe that had a deep relationship that was purely spiritual in its essence and love. I think it is very hard for us in these days, when we are so connected to the material and physical world, to conceptualise a love or a relationship that is on a purely spiritual level without physical or sexual expression. I can understand how a mother’s love for her child may entitle her to go beyond condemnation of socially unacceptable sexual behaviour and she may endeavour to ask for acceptance of her child and indeed support from the wider community for her child’s sexuality. However, while the wider community can accept her child as who he or she is, we should avoid accepting his or her deviant sexual behaviour as the norm and indeed we should avoid supporting it as the norm.

Friday, December 17, 2010 10:06:00 AM

Thank you Mr Braitberg

December 17, 2010

Adam Braitberg was part of the Equal Love Rally in Melbourne on November 20, 2010.  I took a photo of him and a friend Tyger-Lee Baise, both proudly displaying their blue Habonim Dror shirts, and showing their support for equal human rights for all Australians.

From 20101120 Equal Love Rally

Because they participated in this rally, as part of a Jewish organisation, they came under attack on the AJN Watch web site.  You can read all about it in my previous blog.  Keep an eye on the comments on the AJN Watch site though, as the conversation continues (to dismay).

Yesterday Adam’s father, George, made a profound statement, and in doing so has moved me deeply.

George said…
I am Adam’s father. To those that see fit to judge someone you don’t know or have ever met, I ask you to explain what right you think you have to behave in this manner. As Jews we are well aware of the history of bigotry, slander and false accusation. To judge my son, without knowing him is perpetuate the belief that “difference” in itself is an excuse for hatred. How ashamed am I of Jews who show such intolerance. I love you Adam. Dad
Thursday, December 16, 2010 11:17:00 PM

Adam’s father is a wonderful role model for showing unconditional love and acceptance of his son Adam.  He is an example to every member of the Melbourne Jewish community and the wider Australian society on how we must bring up our children.  It is only with this positive and supportive attitude that we can start to overcome the horrifying level of suicide, self-harm and mental health issues that (religious) intolerance afflicts on Australia’s same-sex attracted youth.

Thank you Mr Braitberg.  You and Adam have demonstrated far greater leadership ability and are infinitely better role models than those who currently claim to speak on behalf of the Jewish community.  They don’t need a ‘GLBT Reference Group’ to arrogantly identify and address “our issues”.  They need intelligent and compassionate leaders like you.


Gay children are expendable in Melbourne’s Jewish community

December 15, 2010

[SOURCE 1] [SOURCE 2]

And the homophobic hate just keeps pouring in from the AJN Watch website.

Of course, silence will reign in the Jewish community because there’s no anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism here.  Just some good old-fashioned homophobia, and we know that the leaders of the community don’t consider homophobia to be much of a problem because they won’t speak out against it.

Never mind if you’re a gay person being bashed by a homophobic thug in the street, as happened in Collingwood in October.  But that’s ok, because it wasn’t an anti-Semitic attack and it wasn’t an anti-Israel attack.  It was just a boring gay bashing.  Gay bashing.  Gay bashing.  Gay bashing.  Boring.  Everyday.  Gay.  Bashing.

When will the leaders speak out against this hatred?  Why are they so silent on the matter?  Perhaps gay children are expendable.

Their parents must be SO proud!

Sending kids to a Jewish youth group used to mean that you hoped they would spend their time there being imbued with Jewish and mentchlich values and ideals.

Habonim, it seems, has decided to go in the opposite direction.

We wonder how happy the parents are about this.

(Also it’s quite obvious that the AJN can’t find anything else newsworthy to report about this group.)

Labels:

7 comments:

Anonymous said…
How shameful of Habo management to allow this. And the AJN is continuing is promotion of gays and their issues
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 10:46:00 PM
Anonymous said…
I feel neither way about this issue…
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 9:49:00 PM
Adam Braitberg said…
To all those reading this thread, My Name is Adam Braitberg, and all though you may not be able to see it, that boy in the photo with the Habo Chultzah (shirt) is me.
I have spent my life in the Melbourne Jewish Community, Been a chanich and now a Madrich (leader) at Habonim Dror, i have been involved in Jewish education since i was a child as well as constant hours volunteering for many for the Jewish charities in our community and Israel.
And Guess What I am also Gay, Habonim Dror is a youth movement that is there for all chanichim (kids) regardless of sexual orientation, by attending a same-sex rally, we show that we support all people, regardless of difference. We educate our chanichim (kids) about respecting all individuals, a value that Judaism holds very highly, we also encourage them to see where there is something wrong in the world, and to actively make a change. And the lack of tolerance much of the world shows to same sex individuals is something that needs to change.
There are many people around the world not given the same rights as us. It’s not just youth movements that should be trying to make a difference, it is us as a Jewish Nation that should be upholding our values as people, and trying to make that change.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 10:07:00 PM
Tyger-Lee Baise said…
I am featured in this photo and I am proud to say that my parents are extremely proud of me.Sending your child to a Jewish Youth Movement is not only about instilling Jewish values and ideals but educating youth on issues facing many people. This rally was an opportunity for us to show our support for the values of equality, civil rights and respect for all human beings. 

So yes my parents are proud of me and I am so proud to be a part of a youth movement that stands up for all people being intrinsically valuable and unique and is accepting of ALL human beings.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:02:00 PM
Shilloby Weezel said…
Tyger that’s really great for your parents. Now what about joining in a march with Muslims demanding teh right to polygamy? That too comes under civil rights and respect of humans who are also intrinsically valuable and unique
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:13:00 PM
Bill K said…
Adam, you have all my sympathy for your sad predicament . But really, why the need to advertise your sexual proclivities?
Do what you like, but don’t bore the world with your activities.Habo has always been for ‘normals’ and not an outlet for problematics with sexual issues. 

So I can’t see any reason why they now go marching with the perverts and abnormals of the Sex party.

That was NOT the way it was when I was in Habo some years ago.

Or should you change the name from Habo to Homo?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:18:00 PM
Anonymous said…
Well stated Shilloby. Why not go a step further? What if someone wishes to marry his dog, cat or even chimpanzee (remember that homo-pedophile Michael Jackson?)?Will Tyger and Adam and the Habonim crew be marching for that too? 

I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer was “yes”.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:21:00 PM

Melbourne’s Orthodox Jewish child abusers

December 14, 2010

[SOURCE]

AJN Watch is spewing out more anti-gay sentiment by allowing the following comment to be posted on their blog:

Anonymous said…

How shameful of Habo management to allow this. And the AJN is continuing is promotion of gays and their issues 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 10:46:00 PM

Our issues?  So when a young same-sex attracted person attempts suicide because they feel worthless and are full of self-loathing due to being told they are abnormal, it’s a gay person’s issue?  What about the family and community of the young person?  This intolerance amounts to psychological child abuse.

These fanatical Orthodox Jewish haters need to understand that intolerance of homosexuality is cruel, abusive and dangerous.

The leaders of the Jewish community must wake up quickly to the reality of the situation, stop feeding their egos and actually do something useful for a change.  A good start would be to state that intolerance of homosexuality is harmful and then actively educate the community about it.  They have been very active in doing this about alcohol abuse, but it seems child abuse is not enough of a concern.

It’s exactly one year since the Jewish Community Council of Victoria formed their GLBT Reference Group and to date exactly nothing has come out of it.  At this rate they’re well on track to double their efforts in 2011.


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.


Danby Silent on Anti-Israel Anti-Gay Extremist Jewish Filth Web-site

August 18, 2010

In September 2009 Michael Danby and I had a brief email exchange.  He told me he was criticising the “dark and ugly recesses of the Internet”.  I wrote back to him and advised him that his concern lacked credibility because he was ignoring dark and ugly recesses of the Internet on his very doorstep.

Wind back one month prior to August 1 2009, now just over a year ago.

In Tel Aviv, Israel, there was a horrific shooting that left two young Jewish Israelis dead.  They happened to be in a gay community centre at the time.  I appealed to many people in the Melbourne Jewish community to speak out against this shooting, to speak out against hate and intolerance of homosexuality, especially from within the Jewish community, and to stand up for the vulnerable and marginalised people in our society.  Amongst these many people was Michael Danby.

I didn’t write just one letter.  I wrote many letters.  I wanted people to hear me, to sit up and to take notice.  I included Michael Danby on every one of these letters.

This is the letter Michael Danby wrote to me on September 17 2009:

From: Michael Danby MHR <michael.danby.mp@aph.gov.au>
Date: 17 September 2009 12:06
Subject: Tova from Parliament House in Canberra
To: Michael Barnett <contact@aleph.org.au>

Dear Michael,

Thankfully this year Rosh Ha’shana this year does not occur during the parliamentary week. Like you, I will be cosseted with family and attending my local shule.

I wish you and your family a safe, happy, healthy, and prosperous new year, and well over the fast.

As you might expect I have been strongly advocating issues that I believe will be of interest to you.

In order to understand where this country is going it is important to remember where we have come from. Therefore I wrote, and I hope you will be interested in, an article on the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the second world war. Click here.

You will be pleased to know that my strong criticisms – The Dark and Ugly Recesses of the Internet‘ of two online publications crikey.com and newmatilda resulted in newmatilda changing its moderation policy for comments on articles regarding the middle east, while crikey.com Eric Beecher conceded that crikey.com editing and moderation of its comments on its website during the first 3  months of 2009.

Finally, in Parliament I noted the 20 years that Genia Janover has been Bialek’s Principal extraordinaire. Click here.

Wishing you and your family a gute and gebensched yohr

Michael Danby

This was my reply:
From: Michael Barnett <michael@aleph.org.au>
Date: 17 September 2009 10:29
Subject: Re: Tova from Parliament House in Canberra
To: Michael Danby MHR <michael.danby.mp@aph.gov.au>

Dear Michael,

Thank you for your well-wishes.

In response to this email I would like to say that there are ‘dark and ugly recesses of the Internet’ here in Melbourne that I have brought to your attention recently via email that are as dark and as ugly as anything you may have commented on today.

Right now the only issues that are of interest to me are 1) the implementation of hate crimes to deal with vilification based on sexual orientation and 2) the insubstantial response by the leaders of every Jewish community in Australia to the hate and intolerance of gay people in the Jewish community in Australia and Israel.

You deal with Jews.  You deal with gay people.  You deal with issues in Australia.  What are you doing to ensure a safe place for GLBT Jews in Australia?

I’ve heard less from you, Michael Danby MP, on this matter than anyone else to date, yet your seat of Melbourne Ports sits across both the Jewish and gay communities.  I call on you to speak out about the intolerance and persecution of gay Jews in Australia.  Can you rise to the challenge?

I sincerely hope you care about us because right now, very few people are standing up for the most marginalised and vulnerable people in the Jewish community in Australia.

Sincerely,
Michael Barnett.

Aleph Melbourne

My letter refers to a Melbourne blog “AJN Watch” which describes itself as:

AJN WATCH – the on-line voice of Australian Orthodox Jewry observes and comments on matters of interest to that community. We particularly monitor prejudice and monopolistic abuse of influence in the pages of the Australian Jewish News – the main source of information to and about Australian Jewry. We spotlight errors, expose misrepresentations and vigorously advocate our community’s positions.

AJN Watch specialises in filth, intolerance and hate.   On August 7 2009 it published a piece entitled “Australian Jewish News, Australian Goyish News or Australian Gayish News?”  In it they wrote:

The last thing their readers are interested in is what is happening in Tel Aviv snakepits of dreck and perversion.

and

Your comment that “Israel is one of the more gay-friendly countries in the world and you don’t have to spend too much time in the more vibrant sections of Tel Aviv to become aware of a strong and tolerant gay culture” indeed nauseates, depresses and disgusts not only Hamodia readers, but all decent, civilized and moral people – of all religious beliefs. Your pride and delight that Israel has become a world-leader in depravity and debasement says much about you and your publication.

Michael Danby ignored my letter.  He did not speak out.  He turned his back on this sinister and vile web site based in his electorate of Melbourne Ports.  Michael Danby turned his back on gay people, on Jews, on Israel, on the memory of Liz Troubishi and Nir Katz, on the people in his electorate, on Melbourne, on Victoria, on Australia and on all of humanity.

Michael Danby wants you to vote for him on Saturday August 21.  He wants you to put your faith in his ability to represent you in the government and in his ability to govern for all of you.  He wants you to trust him.  Michael Danby cannot be trusted on these matters.  He claims to care about gay people.  He claims to care for the Jewish community.  He claims to care for Israel.  The only proven issue that Michael Danby actually cares about is himself and his career.  The rest is just lip-service and pandering.

If there’s one person you should not vote for this election it’s Michael Danby.  If there’s one party you should not vote for it’s the Australian Labor Party.

Michael Danby has let everyone down and he does not deserve reelection.  Tell Michael Danby he should not be reelected to government.  Do this by voting for a party that really cares about human rights and justice.  In Melbourne Ports, this leaves three real options: the Australian Greens, the Secular Party of Australia and the Australian Sex Party.

A vote for Danby and the Australian Labor Party is a vote for intolerance, bigotry, vilification, suffering and persecution.

Think about who you are voting for and why you are voting for them on Saturday August 21, 2010.  If you vote for Michael Danby, you will have it on your conscience.

Michael Barnett.
Ashwood, Victoria.


The Executive Council of Australian Jewry remains silent on Gay Youth Suicide

May 5, 2010

In the aftermath of the August 1 2009 shooting at the Tel Aviv GLBT youth centre and the subsequent AJN Watch hate blog against gay Jews I wrote a letter (Aug 23 2009) to the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).  Two days later (Aug 25 2009) I followed that letter up with a copy of a letter I sent the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV).  It was a very tense time, given these events, both locally in Melbourne and overseas in Israel.  It remains disturbing that to the present day neither the JCCV nor the ECAJ have spoken out against this homophobic intolerance and hate.

In my second letter I made mention that the ECAJ Policy Platform page on the ECAJ web site featured Israel at #1 (whilst Australia didn’t feature until at least #13):

The peak body of the Australian Jewish community, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), does not have a single statement on homophobia. I actually question its priorities and wonder it is it simply a self-serving bag of hot air or if it really gives a damn. First on it’s list of priorities is Israel.    I would have thought that an organisation that spoke on behalf of the Australian Jewish community would actually put Australia first and place some importance on the welfare of Australians. Go figure.

You can see the ECAJ policy platform (“Confirmed in 2008″) here as it stood on September 8 2009.   As of November 2009, just two months after my letter to the ECAJ, you can see here that not only have they moved Australia to the top of their policy platform list, but there are in fact two entire sections devoted to Australia, appropriately placed above a third section devoted to Israel.  Well, that’s quite something.  I’m pleased to see that the ECAJ is listening and has started to get its priorities right.

Sadly though there’s still not a single mention of anything closely resembling a policy on dealing with homophobic hate targeting people in the Jewish community.  Nor is there a policy on the merits of accepting homosexuality as normal, given the overwhelming evidence of destruction religious intolerance of homosexuality has on young people.

I still maintain that topic #27 (Young Adult Representation) and topic #28 (Jewish Burial Rights) would be best combined and simply called “Jewish Young Adult Burial”, at least while there’s no policy dealing with homophobic hate and intolerance.

Wake up ECAJ.  Every day you remain silent and don’t fight the intolerance and hatred of homosexuality in your community, the more blood you will have on your hands.  Suicide amongst same-sex attracted youth is a very real problem in the Jewish community.  One only has to wonder just how much you love your children.


Victorian Jewish community and Internet hate: the victim becomes the perpetrator

April 29, 2010

The cover of the April 29 2010 edition of the Australian Jewish News (Melbourne) features a story on the spread of anti-Semitic hate on the Internet.  This leads into the main story on page 3, another story by the Washington Post on page 20, an editorial on page 22 and finally a pictorial comment by cartoonist Kron on page 23.  That makes 5 pages of coverage on the topic.  One would think the paper has taken the topic of Internet hate fairly seriously.  But has it?

Wind back to August 7 2009 when the AJN Watch blog posted a choice piece entitled “Australian Jewish News, Australian Goyish News or Australian Gayish News?”  You can read it here.

For the unenlightened, AJN Watch describes itself:

About Me

AJN WATCH
Melbourne, Australia

AJN WATCH observes & comments (mainly) on prejudice, misrepresentation and monopolistic abuse of power in the pages of the Australian Jewish News – especially regarding the observant community. The AJN is the main source of information to and about Australian Jewry and aims to set the agenda and influence attitudes. It is this blog’s mission to spotlight errors, expose misrepresentations and vigorously respond to items that malign or defame the Orthodox community. AJN WATCH also posts and comments on a variety of topics of interest to its readership. We invite Guest Posts as well as topic suggestions.

It’s clear from reading this that the blog is based in Melbourne, it represents a segment of the Jewish community and it’s on the Internet.

In this particular AJN Watch blog on August 7, 2009 you can find the following comments:

there are no less than 9 items(!) about the AJN’s current sweethearts – the homosexuals (or to use the full label – “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transvestites”).

…a couple of repeat letters from the usual Torah-hating, gay-loving, single-issue-obsessed letter-writers (see top right) and of course a Kron cartoon.

Just like Browne and Bersten, we too have no idea who the TA gays killer is. But there is as much a chance – in fact far greater – that it was another homosexual (jealous lover’s tiff, maybe) as it being the work of an ‘ultra-orthodox’.

The last thing their readers are interested in is what is happening in Tel Aviv snakepits of dreck and perversion.

Your comment that “Israel is one of the more gay-friendly countries in the world and you don’t have to spend too much time in the more vibrant sections of Tel Aviv to become aware of a strong and tolerant gay culture” indeed nauseates, depresses and disgusts not only Hamodia readers, but all decent, civilized and moral people – of all religious beliefs. Your pride and delight that Israel has become a world-leader in depravity and debasement says much about you and your publication.

The last two paragraphs quoted above are especially offensive and adequately qualify as hate language.

I raised this issue at length with both the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (BB ADC) at the time.  In doing so I found out that the BB ADC is in fact an arm of the JCCV.  Further, it has since been clarified to me by B’nai B’rith Australia that the BB ADC no longer has an official connection to B’nai B’rith Australia and that the only connection is a legacy use of the name.

I phoned John Searle, President of the JCCV, and arranged to meet with him to discuss a number of issues including the August 1 2009 Tel Aviv massacre and the subsequent hate language in the August 7 2009 AJN Watch blog.  John Searle suggested we meet at his house and so I went and visited him on the evening of Wednesday August 19 2009.  At the meeting I handed John Searle a copy of this letter.

I expressed my concern to John Searle about the hate language used in the AJN Watch blog and that it was necessary for the JCCV to speak out against this vile hate and intolerance.  As the JCCV had a history of speaking out against terrible acts perpetrated within the Jewish community, such as when it commented on the sexual abuse case at a Jewish school, it was my firm belief that the JCCV must also speak out against this terrible situation unfolding within the Jewish community.

The single response from John Searle to my request of the JCCV was “Ignore it and it will go away.  Don’t give it oxygen”.  I was stunned at this callous and insensitive response.  They don’t ignore anti-semitic hate.  They don’t ignore sexual abuse.  Yet they want to ignore homophobic hate.

After this meeting I contacted the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission.  I felt they would be able to help, as their web site states:

B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission Inc. (ADC) is the human rights arm of B’nai B’rith Australia/New Zealand. The ADC is dedicated to the elimination of antisemitism; to combating racism, intolerance and prejudice; and to seeking to secure justice and fair treatment for all.

Not aware then that the BB ADC was a part of the JCCV I asked them to respond to the AJN Watch blog.  I explained that it was unacceptable that a member of Melbourne’s Jewish community was able to post hate material about gay Jews on the Internet and get away with it.  The response from the BB ADC staggered me.

From: Deborah Stone <ResearchDirector@antidef.org.au>
Date: 31 August 2009 09:54
Subject: Homophobia in the Jewish community
To: Michael Barnett <michael@aleph.org.au>

Dear Michael,

Thanks for the material regarding your campaign to fight homophobia in the Jewish community. Unfortunately my board is not prepared for our organisation to engage with discrimination issues beyond our specific remit of antisemitism and racism.

Good luck with your work.

Regards
Deborah

Peace 和平 Paco سلام שלום

Deborah Stone
Research Director
B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission
03 95725770
0414 946489
http://www.antidef.org.au

This response confused me because their web site clearly claimed they were dedicated to combatting intolerance and prejudice.  I sent another email:

From: Michael Barnett <michael@aleph.org.au>
Date: 31 August 2009 12:46
Subject: Re: Homophobia in the Jewish community
To: Deborah Stone <ResearchDirector@antidef.org.au>

Hi Deborah,

This is clearly an attack on Jews by Jews.  If anyone knows how to handle any sort of attack on Jews it would have to be your organisation.

Is your organisation not prepared to stand up against this extreme level of hatred against members of the Jewish community?

Regards,
Michael.

to which I received this final response:

From: Deborah Stone <ResearchDirector@antidef.org.au>
Date: 31 August 2009 12:48
Subject: RE: Homophobia in the Jewish community
To: Michael Barnett <michael@aleph.org.au>

Hi Michael,

The truth is no it isn’t. You have my personal support but the ADC as an organisation is not prepared to get involved.

Kind regards

Deborah

So that was it.  The BB ADC was only prepared to fight certain types of intolerance and prejudice against the Jewish community.  Clearly homophobic attacks on gay Jews were not the right sort of hate and intolerance.

Now this is where it gets interesting.  The JCCV has since formed a reference group to investigate what sort of mental health issues gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people in the Jewish community are facing.  There are proven links between intolerance of homosexuality and alarmingly high rates of mental health issues, self harm and suicide.  The JCCV knows this because they put out a media release claiming so.  The JCCV also controls the BB ADC, an organisation that selectively speaks out against hate.  If the hate is on the Internet and it is targeting Jews then they’ll take an interest.  If the hate is on the Internet and it’s just targeting gay Jews, they don’t want to know.

So here we have it.  The JCCV says it is trying to combat mental health issues in gay Jews on the one hand, and on the other hand it silently stands by and allows people within the Jewish community to spew virulent anti-gay hate in all directions.

The Jewish community needs to sit up and ask a few questions of the JCCV.  For starters, the question needs to be asked why the JCCV (and under it the BB ADC) allows harmful homophobic hate within the Jewish community to go unchallenged, whilst simultaneously it has a zero tolerance policy on anti-semitic hate.

If the Jewish community is to be taken at all seriously when it cries victim about anti-semitic hate on the Internet, it must first deal with being a perpetrator of anti-gay hate on the Internet.  Only then should anyone care.


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