Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen a former Associate of Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation (ACJC)

February 28, 2012

20120217 Monash University tweet on Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen


From zero to front page in two weeks

February 23, 2012

The Jewish community is a funny animal.  Two weeks ago, on February 10, I brought to the attention of senior community leadership news of a story that was going to break that would put a spotlight on the Jewish community.  After some resistance, a statement was issued by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry distancing the Jewish community from the distasteful views of a certain ‘respected’ rabbi.

The following week saw the story get the front-cover on both the Melbourne commuter newspaper mX and gay community newspaper Star Observer.  Sydney’s Gay News Network also comprehensively covered the story as it unfolded.  GLBT community radio JOY 94.9FM and veteran journalist and broadcaster Doug Pollard was also swift on covering and helping to break the story both on air and online.  Even bloggers Mike Stuchbery and Torrents of Scorn took a stance on the issue.  The take-up and interest by these outlets was impressive.

This week’s edition of the Australian Jewish News sees a highly reactive cover-story response to the news that I brought to the attention of the Jewish community two weeks ago.  I am of the firm belief that if I had not responded to a tip-off from Doug Pollard on this story and set into place a chain of events, including bringing the developing stories to the attention of the Jewish News, that the paper would not have given this story the high-profile status that it has received this week.  Kudos to the AJN for the coverage of an important issue nevertheless.

The actual issue at play here is a deeply odious statement by Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen that challenges the ethics of an anti-bullying program that affirms homosexuality.   So offensive is the stance of this academic that both the ECAJ, the Monash University Faculty of Education staff and the Monash University media office have distanced themselves from his views.

Adding an extra dimension to this story, Monash University has been found to have an adjunct/honorary association with Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen, ongoing to 2015.  Monash University have advised that the academic is not an employee of the university and that they believe the association with him is meritorious.

I have petitioned the university to hold Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen to account for his homophobic views, such that he compares homosexuality to incest and bestiality, and put it to the university that they would not be so welcoming of an academic who’s speciality was Holocaust denial.

The issue of homophobia and bullying is firmly on the radar of the Australian Jewish community now.  It will be interesting to see the response from the community to an issue that makes so much of it deeply uncomfortable.  It will also be interesting to see how Monash University handles the uncomfortable situation they find themselves in.


Monash University. Dr David Irving – Holocaust Denier. Incompatible.

February 22, 2012

[SOURCE]

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.


Monash University. Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen. Incompatible.

February 21, 2012

Monash University has issued the following statement regarding Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen:

Monash University is home to freedom of expression amongst our diverse staff and student population and encourages expert academic views, however Dr Shimon Cowen 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 sexual preference.

They have further advised that Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen holds an adjunct/honorary role at the university, which entitles him to an email address and entry in the university’s staff directory.

Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen has expressed a number of vehemently and distressing homophobic views as published on the Australian Family 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

Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen is a person with virulent, unscientific and outdated views on homosexuality.  If Monash is truly “a university of progress and optimism” then people with negative and destructive views toward homosexuality 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 Cowen 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 Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen’s adjunct/honorary role conditional on him refraining from promulgating a negative discourse on homosexuality 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 “sexual preference”, they will ensure people with repugnant attitudes toward homosexuality have no voice on their campuses.

I suggest anyone who has a concern about the university’s ongoing association with Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen contact Professor Ed Byrne, Monash University Vice Chancellor and President directly.

If this situation outrages you, sign this petition.


Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen – turning harmony into division

February 20, 2012

[SOURCE]

Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen had a goal of bringing harmony to this world:

Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen received a PhD in social philosophy from Monash University, Melbourne and rabbinic ordination in the Kollel Menachem Lubavitch, Melbourne, of which he was Programme Director, and from the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Rabbi S.Y. Cohen. He also founded the Institute for Judaism and Civilization in 1998, helping to bring together the two worlds of religious tradition and secular society in discussion and, ultimately, harmony.

He completely missed the mark in achieving harmony.  In fact he’s succeeded in creating more social division and unrest than he probably ever have imagined he was capable of.

In just one week Cowen’s intolerant and bigoted views on homosexuality have led him to be shunned by the leadership of the Australian Jewish community and have caused Monash University, his Alma Mater, to distance themselves from him.

Time to rethink your strategy Rabbi?


Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen – Monash University alumnus

February 20, 2012

[SOURCE]

Name: Shimon Cowen, PhD
Title: Director of the Institute for Judaism and Civilization
Position: Con Two-State Solution to the question “What are the solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
Reasoning:
“There is no legal principle which can accord ownership or statehood in the biblically defined land of Israel to a people other than the Jewish people. In this it differs from all other nations which by differing criteria could establish jurisdiction over territories. None of these formal or pragmatic rules apply to the Jewish people’s relationship to the land of Israel. For the land of Israel is different in its essence from every other land, and pertains by virtue of its essence to the Jewish people. It is a Jewish land.”

“The Arab-Israeli Conflict – Part II,” Journal of Judaism and Civilization, 1999

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:  Experts
Members of Congress, Ambassadors, Counsul Generals, heads of government, heads of major government organizations, members of legislative bodies, and PhD’s with significant involvement in, or related to, the Palestinian – Israeli conflict. [Note: Experts definition varies by site.]
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Director of the Institute for Judaism and Civilization, 1998 – present
  • Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer, Australian Centre for Jewish Civilization, Monash University
  • Programme Director, Kollel Menachem Lubavitch (Melbourne, Australia)
  • Editor of three publications, the Journal of Judaism and Civilization, Monographs in Judaism and Civilization, and the Bulletin in the Noahide Laws
Education:
  • PhD, Social Philosophy, Monash University (Melbourne, Australia)
  • Rabbinic ordination in the Kollel Menachem Lubavitch, Melbourne
Contact Info: Phone: 61-3-9527 5902 (Australia)
Fax: 61-3-9527 5902
E-Mail: admin@ijc.com.au
Website: www.ijc.com.au
Select Publications:
  • “The Noahide Laws, Israel and Peace,” Bulletin in the Noahide Laws, Mar. – Apr., 2009
  • “Israel: State and Religion – Part I & II, a Discussion,” Journal of Judaism and Civilization, 1999
Other: None found
Quoted in:

Monash University wants it both ways. Not good enough.

February 20, 2012

On Friday I got word from Monash University that Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen “is no longer an associate at Monash University”.  Today I see on Twitter that “he holds an adjunct/honorary role (unpaid) at the uni”.

Perhaps it’s a case of semantics, but it strikes me as a little odd that someone who is not an associate of the university can hold an adjunct/honorary role at the same time.

20120220 Monash University responds via Twitter to query re Dr Cowen in staff directory

What this effectively amounts to is that Monash University has not distanced themselves from this homophobe and is willing to bestow upon him an official Monash University email address, thereby continuing an association with him.  In doing so they potentially tarnish their reputation by affording him and his disreputable views some credibility.

Not good enough, Monash University.  If you want to look like you are distancing yourself from Cowen, it would be helpful to actually do so.


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