Responses in the AJN to Bill Leak’s “Waffen-SSM” cartoon

A selection of responses to Bill Leak’s Waffen-SSM cartoon that were published in the Australian Jewish News.  Click on each to enlarge.

Leak's SS and SSM comparison repulsive

“Leak’s SS and SSM comparison ‘repulsive'” by Yael Brender (Sep 30, 2016)


Geoff Bloch letter

Letter by Geoff Bloch (Oct 14, 2016)


Paul Winter letter

Letter by Paul Winter (Oct 21, 2016)


Gregory Storer letter (part 1)

Letter by Gregory Storer (part 1) (Oct 28, 2016)

Gregory Storer letter (part 2)

Letter by Gregory Storer (part 2) (Oct 28, 2016)

Protecting minorities

IT’S a bit rich for Paul Winter (AJN 21/10) to talk about society only protecting noisy, aggressive minorities subverting democracy.

Part of our democratic society is to protest about things we see as wrong. Signalling disapproval to a supplier, such as a hotel, is a legitimate way to make it known that you disapprove of their business practices.  Threatening people is never acceptable and every protest has those on the fringe.  It’s unfair to suggest that all protesters hold the same opinions or use the same actions.  Similarly, overlooking that a vast majority of Australians support marriage equality and that it’s a small minority of religious people who object is to ignore reality.

As a society we must look after our minorities and listen to their needs so that people aren’t simply ignored or regarded as insignificant.  The gay population is about two per cent, while the Jewish population is around 0.5 per cent.

Minorities always struggle to have their plight seen as important by the larger population and struggle to gain recognition and relevance in a world that mostly considers minorities unimportant.

In his letter, Geoff Bloch (AJN 14/10) downplays the obvious Nazi connections with the Leak cartoon.  He said that the cartoon did not depict marriage equality advocates as Nazis, seeming to avoid the only words written on the cartoon “Waffen-SSM”.

Speaking as a man who is gay, I found Leak’s cartoon to be in extremely bad taste and Bloch’s letter equally objectionable.

GREGORY STORER
Carnegie, Vic

Posted in GLBTIQ, Human Rights, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aleph Melbourne presents documentary DVD to Glen Eira Council

Aleph Makes Doco - Australian Jewish News Oct 28 2016Australian Jewish News, October 28 2016

Follow the progress of our documentary on Facebook: Aleph 20 Project

Posted in Culture/Tradition, GLBTIQ, Jewish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Protected: Aleph Documentary – Press Kit

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in Culture/Tradition, GLBTIQ, Jewish | Tagged , | Enter your password to view comments.

JIFF 2016 – The Queer Sessions

This year’s Jewish International Film Festival includes a selection of films to tempt those looking for queer themes.  Click on the film title for the offical JIFF page and session details in Melbourne and Sydney.*

Barash

“…fresh, frank look at coming out and coming of age in contemporary Israel” — Variety

“A female-focused Israeli rebel romance” — The Hollywood Reporter

Described as the Israeli Blue Is the Warmest Color, Barash vividly captures the heady energy and infatuation of youth, set against the backdrop of the Arab-Israeli conflict. With conservative, detached parents and an older sister who has mysteriously vanished from the IDF, 17 year old Na’ama is bored of her sleepy suburbia. But when a new girl appears at school, she sends shockwaves through Na’ama’s rigid domestic sphere, propelling her headlong into a dizzying world of sex and drugs.

A vibrant coming-of-age tale, Barash premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival, and won Best Script, Best Actress and Best Actor at Haifa International Film Festival.

85 MINS / HEBREW (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
DIRECTOR — MICHAL VINIK

 

Family Commitments (Familie Verpflichtet)

David and Khaled are happily in love, poised to marry. Their attempts for matrimonial harmony are thwarted by family foibles: a homophobic father, a pseudo-orthodox Jewish mother, and an unexpected pregnancy. The two men have a few things to straighten out before they can say their vows and live happily ever after. An endearing and wacky family comedy.

85 MINS / GERMAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
DIRECTOR — HANNO OLDERDISSEN

 

The People vs. Fritz Bauer (Der Staat Gegen Fritz Bauer)
[contains some LGBT themes; * screening nationally]

“…riveting and revelatory” – Forward

Germany, 1957. Attorney General Fritz Bauer receives crucial evidence on the whereabouts of the so-called ‘Architect of the Holocaust’, Adolf Eichmann. Bauer, himself Jewish, has been trying to take crimes from the Third Reich to court ever since his return from exile, but has been stymied by an unforgiving German government. Bauer covertly elicits the help of the Israeli secret service to bring Eichmann to justice, and, in doing so, commits treason against Germany.

With fast-paced direction from Lars Kraume (Tatort), The People vs. Fritz Bauer is a historical thriller that exposes the elusiveness of evil while celebrating the tenacious heroism of Bauer. Audience Award winner at the Locarno International Film Festival, and winner of six 2016 Lolas (German Oscars), including Best Film, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay.

IN HONOUR OF Peter Sharon Ivany for their support of Jewish Film in Australia

105 MINS / GERMAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
DIRECTOR — LARS KRAUME

 

Tikkun

“A heady, sometimes headlong blend of fable and nightmare, with overtones of David Lynch and Franz Kafka…” — NY Times

Compelling, memorable and visually spectacular, Avishai Sivan’s sophomore film tells the story of a young Hasidic student who undergoes an immense spiritual crisis. Haim-Aron is the son of an overbearing butcher, and a devout and methodical follower of the scriptures: adhering to rituals and traditions of his faith with a bored detachment. A freak accident and a (near) death experience change everything, as Haim-Aron finds himself at odds with his sexuality and religious beliefs.

Magnetising audiences with its bold depictions of sexuality and faith, Tikkun is a stylish and unsettling film that offers a visceral and tumultous experience of a man struggling against repressive forces. Winner of Best Feature Film, Best Cinematography, Best Script and Best Actor at Jerusalem Film Festival, and the Silver Leopard Prize at 2015 Locarno Film Festival.

121 MINS / HEBREW, YIDDISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
DIRECTOR — AVISHAI SIVAN

 

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me (Lama Azavtani)

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me doesn’t just have all the elements of a cinematic feat; it is one.” — Nisimazine

Muhammed is a young Israeli Palestinian man, meandering along the fringes of society. He is sexually and culturally confused and is drifting aimlessly through life. He is drawn in by the enigmatic Gurevitch, a motorbike-riding mechanic and the two begin an illicit and dangerous relationship. With a cast composed of non-actors, Israeli director, Hadar Morag, has created a visceral and immersive landscape, and a filmworld permeated by a sense of unease. Premiered at Venice Film Festival in the Orizzonti Competition.

94 MINS / HEBREW, ARABIC (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
DIRECTOR — HADAR MORAG

Posted in Culture/Tradition, GLBTIQ, Jewish | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

ADC responds to Bill Leak’s “Waffen-SSM” cartoon

Out in Perth has published a response from the Anti-Defamation Commission in response to Bill Leak’s “Waffen-SSM” cartoon:

Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) said he understood why cartoonists are drawn to the Nazi analogy but described the comparison as repulsive.

The ADC describes itself as one of Australia’s leading civil and human rights organisations. The Australian Jewish community organisation aims to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of racism.

“I recognise how irresistible the Nazi analogy is for cartoonists looking to generate shock and headlines and grab attention. But no matter how strong Leak’s objections to marriage equality advocates, to compare them to the Waffen SS, part of Hitler’s demonic regime and responsible for the murder of millions, only adds to the cynical debasement, twisting and abusing of the Holocaust so prevalent today.” Dr Abramovich said.

“To  draw such repulsive equations is deeply offensive, shows a gross  lack of understanding of the historical truth, and only fans the flames of hatred and demonisation of the LGBTI community. It also insults the memory of the victims, which included gay people, as well as hurts the survivors and all those who fought valiantly against the Nazis in WWII.

“Such analogies are totally unacceptable, even in satirical cartoons,  and only serve to coarsen public debate. They  have no place in Australia’s civil discourse and must be repudiated.” Dr Abramovich concluded.

This is the original cartoon:
20160921-the-australian-bill-leak-waffen-ssm

Posted in Human Rights | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ECAJ responds to Bill Leak’s “Waffen-SSM” cartoon

The Australian has published a letter from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry in their September 22 letters column, in response to Bill Leak’s “Waffen-SSM” cartoon:

I refer to Bill Leak’s cartoon (“Waffen SSM”, 21/9). It can be readily accepted that hyperbole is a stock in trade of any cartoonist, and Leak is entitled to give satirical expression to his opinion that certain advocates of same-sex marriage are intolerant to any contrary point of view. Yet to compare them to Nazi SS divisions does little credit to the point he was presumably trying to make.

To liken any advocate of SSM to the perpetrators of mass murder and cruelty in the Nazi era is an inversion of history. In Nazi Germany, about 100,000 suspected homosexuals were arrested and up to 15,000 of them were interned in concentration camps where many were killed.

As a political cartoonist, it is Leak’s job to be provocative and controversial, but this was not his best work.

Peter Wertheim, Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Sydney, NSW

This is the original cartoon:
20160921-the-australian-bill-leak-waffen-ssm

Posted in Human Rights | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thank you very much Alan Goldberg

Aleph Melbourne remembers Alan Goldberg QC for his part in making Tasmania, and all of Australia, a better place.  Our deepest condolences to his family on their loss.

“And proudly, perhaps most proudly, he acted for Mr Croome, in the attack on Tasmania’s anti-homosexuality laws, an attack which lead to their repeal.” — Ray Finkelstein reflecting on the achievements of the late Alan Goldberg

This clip is a 10 second extract from Ray Finkelstein’s address (at around the 27 minute mark) from the MCK recording of the service of Alan Goldberg’s funeral on July 25 2016. Ray Finkelstein’s address starts around the 20 minute mark.

From the postscript of Rodney Croome’s 1995 article “Sexual (mis)conduct: The High Court and gay law reform in Tasmania“:

“Senior Counsel in the case will be Alan Goldberg QC, immediate past President of the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties. Alan Goldberg has offered his services pro bono, because his clients were unable to obtain Commonwealth or State legal aid, despite fulfilling the criteria for funding as a public interest test case. It was also despite a legal opinion from Mr Goldberg which addressed concerns about standing. Toonen and Croome have both expressed concern to the press that the decisions not to fund their case have been made for political and not legal reasons.”

Posted in GLBTIQ, Human Rights, Jewish | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gender-diverse? Get noticed in the 2016 Census.

With the increasing visibility of gender diverse people in the Australian Jewish community, it’s important to get an accurate understanding of how many identify beyond the gender binary of female and male.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has advised that in the 2016 Census, respondents may identify a non-binary gender if they so choose.  This applies to people who do not always identify just as either one of male or female.

There are two official ways to achieve this:

  1. If you are using a paper census form, leave the Female and Male box boxes blank and write in your preferred gender identity in the space next to them.
  2. If you are using the online census form, call the Census Inquiry Service on 1300‑214‑531 and request a special online form that has an Other option for gender on it.

Source: Australian Census to offer ‘other’ option for gender question | SBS

UPDATE 03/08/16: Official ABS instructions here.

Posted in GLBTIQ, Jewish | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Media Release: Aleph Melbourne welcomes Mount Scopus Inclusivity Statement

ALEPH MELBOURNE
MEDIA RELEASE
JULY 22 2016

Aleph Melbourne welcomes the “Inclusivity Statement”[1] issued to parents by Mount Scopus Memorial College on June 20 2016.

This statement is the first public acknowledgement by the school for the need to offer specific support to same-sex attracted and gender diverse students, as well as students from rainbow families.

Whilst the school has not yet adopted a comprehensive program such as that offered by the Safe Schools Coalition Australia[2] (SSCA), this is an important first step, as it offers a foundation for the school to build on.

Increasingly, the Australian school landscape is understanding that the era of marginalising same-sex attracted, intersex, and gender diverse students is over and is seeking better ways to include and value the diversity of these students.

Strong leadership has already been demonstrated in the Victorian Jewish school community, with The King David School, Sholem Aleichem College and Bialik College being long-standing members of SSCA.

As Mount Scopus finds its feet in supporting their previously neglected students, it will discover a fantastic surge in performance from those students it enables to be authentic to themselves.  The more support these students receive, whether at school, at home or in the community, the more they will thrive.

Aleph Melbourne looks forward to further initiatives from Mount Scopus Memorial College that actively demonstrate support for their LGBTIQ students and wishes the school a hearty congratulations for taking this first brave step.

Media contact: Michael Barnett – 0417-595-541

[1] http://aleph.org.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2016_07_20_-_Mount_Scopus_Inclusivity_Statement_Letter.pdf[2] http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org.au

Posted in Education, GLBTIQ, Jewish, Youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

R. I. P. Elie Wiesel | HRC

“Those who are bigots do not stop at classes, at races, or again, at gays or lesbians.”

Posted in GLBTIQ, Human Rights | Tagged , | Leave a comment