The United States Consulate General Melbourne in association with the Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Australia held a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of September 11 2001 attacks on Sunday the 11th of September 2011 at the 9/11 Memorial Trees, Kings Domain, Melbourne.
The JCCV had a representative at this solemn occasion:
JCMA: "Mr Simon Tisher, Executive Member of Jewish Community Council of Victoria lays flowers."
On August 11 2009, 10 days after the Tel Aviv attack where two Israelis where brutally murdered in a youth centre, I sent out an email asking a number of community leaders to speak up and condemn some anti-gay sentiments being published on a Jewish blog in Melbourne. The response to my email from John Searle, JCCV President, was:
From: John Searle <email@example.com>
Date: 12 August 2009 11:38
Subject: RE: Gay hate is rife in Jewish Australia on AJNwatch (resend)
To: Michael Barnett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Geoffrey Zygier
I was thinking we should have a chat about this over a coffee one day next week. I might even ask Geoffrey to join us. Can you make it one morning at 7.30 or 8.00 in the Caulfield area or does it have to be in the city in which case I would suggest 10.00 or 10.30?
I was thinking Wed next week.
We ended up meeting at John Searle’s house, the evening of Wednesday August 19, 2009. I was accompanied by Colin Krycer, also from Aleph Melbourne. At this meeting I politely asked John Searle to issue a statement from the JCCV condemning the attack in Tel Aviv. His response was that the JCCV doesn’t issue statements for many issues, of which this was but one. At this meeting I handed John Searle a printed copy of this letter that I had written, outlining a draft proposal for an anti-homophobia strategy for the Australian Jewish community. I subsequently sent through an electronic copy of it.
I quote from the JCCV’s “About Us > Overview” page:
Through consultation, advocacy and working with government, other faith and ethnic communities, the media, service providers and the general public, the JCCV seeks to achieve the following goals:
And in partnership with the State Zionist Council of Victoria:
A more sophisticated public understanding of Israel’s efforts to achieve peace and security
Effective counteraction of misinformation on Israel, the Middle East and the Arab/Israel conflict
A more sophisticated public understanding of Israel in relation to contemporary Jewish identity.
I seem to be getting a number of messages from the JCCV.
- They are prepared to make a public statement about the terrible attacks in the USA on September 11, 2001.
- They are concerned about issues relating to peace and security in Israel.
- They are concerned about contemporary Jewish identity in Israel.
- They are not prepared to comment on the horrific death of two young Israelis killed in a youth centre in Tel Aviv.
I am really puzzled by the JCCV’s reluctance to be outspoken on an issue that is core to their agenda. What is so wrong with condemning an attack on young Israelis, given the Zionist and peace-loving nature of the JCCV? The only conclusion I can make, in comparison with their response to September 11, is that perhaps insufficient people were killed on August 1, 2009 in Tel Aviv to warrant a response from the JCCV.
I politely ask the JCCV to reconsider their stance on which international events they make statements on, especially when it comes to contemporary Israeli youth, and issue a belated and sincere statement about the 2009 attack. It’s not asking too much is it?