The Jewish Community Council of Victoria is trying to convince people they’re against homophobia. Yet they take bucket-loads of money from numerous member organisations that are deeply intolerant of homosexuality.
Here’s my response to their GLBTI Statement from Nina Bassat AM. Click on the image to enlarge.
This article was first published on The Stirrer.
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, Patron of the Australian Family Association, dead at 103
Whilst on the surface a supporter of a cause that supports families might sound warm and fuzzy, the reality is that a supporter of the AFA supports a cause that is intolerant of same-sex attracted people, and intolerant of same-sex relationships. It upholds a definition of marriage that excludes same-sex attracted couples.
The good dame was also the patron of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Today their web page announces:
Her vision and commitment have saved thousands of children’s lives and improved the health of many more living with rare and common childhood conditions.
The irony of this is that her having been a patron of the AFA, an organisation deeply intolerant of homosexual people, is that her good reputation gave credence to bigoted values that have proven links to contributing to the alarming rate of youth suicide, mental health issues and other forms of self-harm.
While she may have been a wonderful person, she linked herself with a disreputable organisation, in stark contrast to many of the values she espoused in her public life. She sided with bigots and homophobes and we shouldn’t forget that.
Whilst many remember the great good that Dame Elisabeth Murdoch did for society, we must also remember her as a person who upheld bigotry.
From: Michael Barnett <email@example.com>
Date: 9 September 2012 10:09
Subject: Asking for AJAX Football Club to support AFL’s “No to Homophobia” campaign
To: Ian Fayman <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ronnie Lewis <email@example.com>, Mark Feldy <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Peter Kagan <email@example.com>, Michael Sojka <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Bernie Sheehy <email@example.com>, Darren Seidl <DSeidl@rk.com.au>, Gary Blusztein <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Gary Blieden <email@example.com>, John Rochman <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Adam Slade-Jacobson <email@example.com>
Cc: Jason Ball <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Rob Mitchell <email@example.com>
Dear AJAX Football Club,
I am writing to ask for your club to support “No to Homophobia”. Please read this story in The Age and consider distributing it, along with the associated petition, to the members of your club.
In addition, please consider issuing a statement of support from the AJAX Football Club. It would send a strong message and support your clubs aims:
Ajax will assist in the development and improvement of its members, not only by requiring and facilitating the highest standard of physical fitness and skills associated with Australian Rules Football-but also general aspects of life and community to further their careers.
AJAX shall strive to achieve the most successful onfield team performances at all levels whilst maintaining its unique Jewish identity.
I have copied Jason Ball on this email. He would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Additionally I have included Rob Mitchell, who has a close connection to the AFL and takes a keen interest in these matters.
Lastly, I’d like you to read this blog I wrote after meeting Olympian Daniel Kowaslki:
I urge you to bring this matter up with Maccabi Victoria at your earliest convenience, as it is in the best interests of the welfare of all members of AJAX FC and Maccabi Victoria.
(Kudos to BG for bringing this story to my attention)
Christian lobby calls for gays in plain packaging
September 6, 2012 – 8:50PM
Paul Oisborne And Lisa Martian
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) says that homosexuals should cover themselves up in plain clothing to discourage young people from taking up same-sex behaviour.
ACL spokesman, Mr Jim Wallace, has defended his comments from earlier this week in which he said homosexuality was more dangerous than smoking, adding that “plain packaging should now apply to same-sex couples just as it does to cigarettes”.
“Many homosexuals wear alluring, bright and attractive clothes which some impressionable young people might be attracted to,” Mr Wallace said.
“Under the circumstances, I think a sensible health approach is for gays to cover themselves up in plain ways so as not to be a temptation.”
When asked if gays should simply wear burkas, Mr Wallace said he did not approve of full Islamic dress for homosexuals, unless they were in fact Muslim, but which he admitted would be unlikely.
“Look, all I’m saying is that cigarettes kill people and so do homosexuals. But I am not homophobic.”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday withdrew from speaking at the ACL conference in Canberra on October 5 and 6, citing “offensive” comments about homosexuality made by Jim Wallace.
Ms Gillard had originally said that attending the conference did not mean that she endorsed all of the views being presented.
“I speak to many organisations around Australia and sometimes I support their views and sometimes I don’t, but I can never know which views I support and which I don’t until I am informed by Mr Joe de Bruyn,” she said.
Rainbow Labor, the GLBT support group within the ALP, immediately rushed to issue a media release congratulating Ms Gillard on withdrawing from the conference organised by the Religious Right.
When asked why the group did not condemn Ms Gillard for giving legitimacy to the ACL and its conference by agreeing to attend in the first place, Rainbow Labor spokesperson, Mr Con Distraction, said “oh look, there’s an aeroplane!”
This week the Australian Jewish News apologised for a fairly base comment by Chaim Ingram they published in last week’s edition of the paper. I’m grateful the AJN acknowledged they shouldn’t have printed the particular comment and more-so that they made hasty amends by publishing an apology.
However, if they feel the need to give Ingram an ongoing platform to voice his bigoted and homophobic bile, the least they could do is have a standing apology for him in every edition of the paper. Better yet, they could just not publish him.
In the article “How to get rid of the hyphen” (AJN 20/07/12; p24) Chaim Ingram writes:
As a result, [non-Orthodoxy] has redefined who is a Jew and now it seeks to redefine what is a sacred Jewish partnership. Because make no mistake, accepting homosexual marriage and solemnising homosexual union in a sanctuary – which no other faith community in Australia has done – has succeeded in driving a greater wedge than ever between us. Non-Orthodoxy embraces it while Orthodoxy sees it as a sin for which one must be prepared to give up one’s life if necessary.
I have been outspoken in the Jewish community for well over a decade now on the need for understanding and acceptance of people who are same-sex attracted. What drives me is the desire to prevent others from harm and suffering when confronted with ignorant and repressive attitudes toward sexuality.
Chaim Ingram should ask himself why people like me are challenging the timeless religious beliefs he clings on to so desperately. I can assure him I am not doing it to take his religion away from him. The reality is that the outdated attitudes toward human sexuality that he defends have been proven to drive up rates of suicide and self-harm in same-sex attracted youth in religious communities.
Those not bound to an immutable interpretation on the Torah are realizing they must be proactive in empowering themselves and their children with modern attitudes toward human sexuality through programs such as Safe Schools Coalition Victoria and Keshet. Ultimately they will be raising happier and healthier children.
One only has to take a look at the extensive list of references on the drs4equality.com web site to understand why an increasing number of Australian medical practitioners are putting their name to marriage equality and programs that increase acceptance and integration of same-sex attracted people into communities.
It’s the overwhelming list of medical and mental health reasons that are driving this attitudinal change in thinking. The longer Chaim Ingram holds onto his outdated values the more harm he does to his community.
20 Jul 2012
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition
How to get rid of the hyphen
In THE AJN on July 6, ‘postdenominational’ Rabbi Gary Robuck issued a passionate plea for Jews of all persuasions to ‘deal kindly with one another’. From his Orthodox perspective, Rabbi Chaim Ingram responds.
Love for one’s fellow Jew must transcend denominational boundaries.
UNDOUBTEDLY sincere as North Shore Temple Emanuel Rabbi Gary Robuck’s cri de coeur is, I fear he, like most who write on this topic, is skirting the main issue. To illustrate: let me quote a well-known story from the Talmud concerning the formidable Beruria, wife of Rabbi Meir. Certain sectarian Jews (possibly Sadducees) were harassing the rabbi constantly. In his exasperation, he wanted to imprecate them in his prayers. However, his wife Beruria persuaded him that the Psalmist (104:35) teaches that one’s thoughts ought to be directed not against the offender but at the offence. “Rather pray,” she said. “They will see the error of their ways and re-evaluate!”
It is not for any Jew to judge another. Only God may. A rabbi may feel he must excoriate values and ideologies that he believes are anathema to Torah. But he must never excoriate the practitioners of those values and ideologies who he feels are in error.
I have tried always to stay true to this principle. I try not to deal unkindly with anyone. Members of Reform congregations have sat happily at my Shabbat table. All are welcome at my Torah classes regardless of their denomination. In one of my communities in England, the president of the local Progressive congregation was a regular attender – and we had many spirited and spiritual discussions without sacrificing our friendship. A former spiritual leader of Temple Emanuel Woollahra was welcomed to a shiur given by the late Rabbi Shmuel Roth of Adass. Some of my colleagues have hosted Reform spiritual leaders for Shabbat at their homes. Love for one’s fellow Jew must transcend denominational boundaries.
However, when it comes to accepting ideologies that conflict with one’s own, one has to ask the following question: What am I trying to protect? And is what I am trying to protect important enough to risk conflict or not?
Let us take an example. A difference of opinion arises between a newly married couple about whether to purchase pine or mahogany furniture for their living room. It goes without saying (or it should) that, regardless of the strength and validity of each one’s preference, this should not be an issue that causes even a ripple of domestic disharmony. Both partners must avoid conflict at all costs rather than dig in their heels over such an issue.
However, what if the marital conflict is over a fundamental principle of how to educate their children? One partner is a staunch advocate of faith-based, traditional schooling for their child, while the other considers such schooling indoctrination and wants his child to mix freely with children of all faiths. It is utterly unrealistic for a family counsellor to tell the couple to “speak nicely to each other” and everything will work out. It won’t! There is a fundamental conflict of parenting ideology here, which ought to have been uncovered years earlier before they tied the knot and will almost certainly destabilise the marriage. Neither will back down because each believes he or she is acting in the best interest of the child they both are trying to protect.
For the Orthodox Jew, the God-given Torah is that child. He will not say or do anything that might put Torah at risk. He certainly will not recognise any ideology that, as he sees it, seeks to destroy its soul.
No Orthodox rabbi can accept the validity of an ideology that conflicts with basic principles of Jewish faith – belief in a unique, omnipotent, omniscient, incorporeal, indivisible, accessible, loving, just God; belief in the divinity, the eternal validity and the essential unchangeability of the written and oral Torah; belief in a messianic golden future where “the world will be perfected under the dominion of the Almighty”; and belief in a world beyond the grave.
The Sadducees denied the last of these principles. Christianity denied elements of the first and the second. And sadly, non-Orthodoxy has denied the second and indeed remains equivocal on the others! As a result, it has redefined who is a Jew and now it seeks to redefine what is a sacred Jewish partnership. Because make no mistake, accepting homosexual marriage and solemnising homosexual union in a sanctuary – which no other faith community in Australia has done – has succeeded in driving a greater wedge than ever between us. Non-Orthodoxy embraces it while Orthodoxy sees it as a sin for which one must be prepared to give up one’s life if necessary.
I believe it is for those Jewish leaders outside Orthodoxy to now make the following honest assessment: How important is ideology to them? How important are their liberal principles? For hard-core Reform leaders, one would imagine: pretty important. For self-confessed “post-denominational” Jews as Rabbi Robuck refreshingly describes himself, one might think: less so.
Therefore, I issue a challenge to him and to those of his colleagues in Australia who think like him. If ideology to you is truly not as important as communal unity, rejoin the mainstream. Rehitch your isolated, static carriages to the train that is going forward. Because make no mistake – and recent articles in The AJN attest to it – Orthodoxy, particularly on the right, is growing while nonOrthodoxy is dwindling.
If you are concerned about rightward trends, form a concerted voice on the left. Be a dissenting voice even, if you must. But let yours be a voice like Rabbi Yehoshua’s in the Talmud who, though he passionately held his colleague to be wrong regarding the date of Yom Kippur in a given year, acquiesced for the sake of unity.
Let’s all be post-denominational Jews. Orthodox was a word coined by the first generation of Reform secessionists. Before that there were only Jews. Let’s restore the status quo. But let it be a status quo based on the values that pertained before the 19th-century divisions set in.
Let us indeed deal kindly with one another. But let non-Orthodoxy acknowledge that, in the words of Billy Joel, “we didn’t start the fire!”
Rabbi Chaim Ingram is honorary rabbi of the Sydney Jewish Centre on Ageing, honorary secretary of the Rabbinical Council of NSW and director of the Kol Shira Learning Centre.
For the third consecutive year Aleph Melbourne, the only organisation representing GLBT people in the Melbourne Jewish community, has not received an invitation to attend this year’s Victoria Police Jewish community reception. This year’s cocktail party was organised in conjunction with the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), as it was in previous years. Aleph Melbourne was invited to the 2008 and 2009 Victoria Police Jewish Community reception dinners.
I was advised by Bruce Colcott of Victoria Police in advance of the 2011 Victoria Police Jewish community cocktail reception:
The organisers invited those members of the Jewish Community who hadn’t been given an opportunity in the past to attend to represent their organisations.
Giving the benefit of the doubt, it would be fair to say that with the number of organisations in the Jewish community, “the organisers” would have been able to include everyone they had previously overlooked in their 2010 and 2011 events. It staggers me to think that with 100 police and over 70 members of the Jewish community in attendance, there wouldn’t have been enough room to invite one more person.
In their 2011 GLBT Reference Group report, the JCCV said that all community organisations should adopt a policy prohibiting discrimination and vilification based on a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity and that it was clear that Jewish members of the GLBT community are subjected to discrimination, harassment and abuse because of their sexuality.
It would seem that the JCCV haven’t followed their own advice and Aleph Melbourne continues to be discriminated against by them and some of the wider Jewish community.
I question whether there is some sinister motivation for the ongoing exclusion of the most vulnerable, marginalised, and excluded group of people from such an event. Victoria Police have not been able to come up with a credible reason why there has been such an “oversight” on previous occasions.
Does Victoria Police have a policy of excluding GLBT organisations from these types of events? If not, why the ongoing exclusion? It doesn’t bode well for their liaison with the GLBT community.
22 Jun 2012
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition
THERE was no emergency call and no suspicious characters or packages that led 100 police to descend on Beth Weizmann Community Centre earlier this month. There was, however, plenty of goodwill and friendship, as the Men in Blue and the Jewish community came together for their annual reception.
“We are fortunate to enjoy warm and productive
relationships with Victoria Police at all levels.”
Now in its sixth year, the cocktail function saw Victoria Police men and women and over 70 members of the Jewish community, as well as representatives from other ethnic communities, celebrate diversity.
“This night is a significant occasion on the police calendar and indicates the commitment of the force to community engagement as a mainstream policing strategy,” said commander Ashley Dickinson, who acted as host and emcee on the evening alongside deputy commissioner Tim Cartwright.
Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) president Nina Bassat thanked police for the way they handled recent protests outside Parliament House, which was hosting a cocktail party to celebrate Israel’s 64th birthday at the time. Anti-Israel demonstrators screamed abuse, called for the destruction of the Jewish State and burned an effigy of Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu.
“We are fortunate to enjoy warm and productive relationships with Victoria Police at all levels,” she said.
“This enables us to feel as a community that our voices are heard, and that we can count on VicPol to do their utmost to ensure our safety,” she added.
A Q&A session with a young member of the police force and a performance by Leibler-Yavneh College’s a cappella choir followed.
Madonna is pure awesome:
I’m a freedom fighter.
Is all about freedom of expression
Freedom to choose to speak to act
Always with humanity and compassion
I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay community, to support the gay community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is or feels opressed.
I don’t run away from adversity.
I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity.
I have always loved Madonna, and now I love her even more.
I reckon Peter Madden and Warwick Marsh would make great homosexual lovers. Two wonderful role models of Australian masculinity. But which one would be the man and which one would be the woman in that relationship? Coz we all know that every relationship has male and female roles.
I also wonder which one would go top and which one bottom. Perhaps they’d take turns, one going for it first, then flipping and going the other way. I bet they’d both get down and dirty, squealing like stuck pigs, and there might even be some santorum being shared, coz I’m sure they’d be lapping up the post-coital love juices.
Well, that’s just my fantasy, a bit like their fantasy, that all homosexual relationships are disgusting and dangerous and that it’s ok to vilify homosexuals.
Oh, and if they don’t like that gays want to marry a same-sex partner, I’m of the opinion that their choice of life partner is pretty sucky too and that they could have done a lot better.
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.
Monash University has issued the following statement regarding Dr David Irving:
Monash University is home to freedom of expression amongst our diverse staff and student population and encourages expert academic views, however Dr David Irving is not commenting on behalf of the University or the Faculty of Arts and the University does not endorse his comments. Monash University reiterates its respect for the dignity of all human beings, regardless of belief in the Holocaust.
They have further advised that Dr David Irving holds an adjunct/honorary role at the university, which entitles him to an email address and entry in the university’s staff directory.
Dr David Irving has expressed a number of vehemently and distressing racist and anti-semitic views as published on the Australian Supremacist Association web site. These views were further substantiated by the mX newspaper in an interview they conducted with him.
Monash University begins their vision and long-term strategy with:
Monash is a university of progress and optimism.
and continues with:
The areas of focus outlined by Monash Futures include:
- the ability to attract, recruit and retain the world’s best talent in both the academic and professional staff cohorts
- ensuring we have the reputation to attract the best students – to make Monash their university of first choice
Dr David Irving is a person with virulent, historically incorrect and disproven views on the Holocaust. If Monash is truly “a university of progress and optimism” then people with antisemitic, racist and nihilistic views toward the Holocaust are antithetical to this vision and have no place in the university’s ranks.
I contend that whilst Monash University continues the adjunct/honorary appointment of Dr Irving and whilst he has any opportunity to engage in any manner in the academic realm, through or on behalf of the university, Monash University are doing the greatest disservice to their students, their reputation, their vision and humanity as a whole.
I ask Monash University to make the continuance of Dr David Irving’s adjunct/honorary role conditional on him refraining from promulgating a nihilistic discourse on the Holocaust in any official and/or public capacity and to obtain from him a written assurance of this understanding.
If Monash University sincerely respects the dignity of all human beings, regardless of “racial purity”, they will ensure people with nihilistic attitudes toward the Holocaust have no voice on their campuses.
I suggest anyone who has a concern about the university’s ongoing association with Dr David Irving contact Professor Ed Byrne, Monash University Vice Chancellor and President directly.
If this scenario would outrage you, sign this petition.