11 May, 1999
In a momentous and shameful vote of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, on Monday 10 May, the Jewish Gay support group, ALEPH was refused membership of the JCCV. It has been only a generation since Jews and Homosexuals were forced to wear badges of coloured cloth – how quickly we seem to forget that we are inseparably linked by a very common but tragic history.
The criteria for acceptance onto the JCCV – the roof body of Victorian Jewry are simple indeed: A Victorian Jewish organisation aiming to advance Jewish ideals for its membership.
In an unusual secret ballot, affiliate organisations including Synagogues, Sporting groups, Youth Organisations, Cultural, Political and Women’s groups were asked to vote after some months of debate. Many expressed their dismay that they were forced to vote against their consciences by their affiliates. History does not accept such lame excuses when what was required from our community representatives was compassion and understanding, not religious bigotry.
The meeting voted clearly on religious lines – with the Orthodox representatives vehemently rejecting the view that Jewish Gays have a legitimate place in the Community! This despite an impassioned plea by Dr Phillip Bliss, president of the JCCV for Aleph’s acceptance.
The week prior to this opprobrious vote, Aleph published in the AJN an impressive and impassioned plea for acceptance – only to be refused and have the door to the closet slammed in their faces once again!
I can only say how ashamed I feel to be part of such a community that has turned its back on our fellow Jews.
Perhaps wearing a Pink Triangle with a yellow Star of David on it as a symbol of solidarity will finally bring the message home to the bigoted minority.
The Australian Jewish Democratic Society
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