Statement to Port Phillip on LGBTIQA+ inclusion

STATEMENT: A diverse coalition of residents’ associations, LGBTIQA+ advocacy groups, and faith groups have joined in a united call for Port Phillip to reconsider its stance on LGBTIQA+ inclusion. Read more here: https://bit.ly/3aq1Jd4

https://twitter.com/VicPrideLobby/status/1384355676651024384

“Aleph Melbourne offers support to and advocates for the well-being of LGBTIQ Jews and their families, many of whom live in the City of Port Phillip. It is vital that they understand their city council fully values and includes them, and understands their needs,” said Aleph Melbourne Co-Convenor, Michael Barnett.

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Letters: Tackling vilification | AJN

Tackling vilification

I am deeply grateful to David Southwick MP for personally extending an invitation to Aleph Melbourne to provide a submission to the Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections.  I am also grateful to the committee of the inquiry for accepting our submission.

For many years I have witnessed vilifying comments originating within the Jewish community, directed at Jewish LGBTIQ+ people.  These hateful comments, which appeared in Jewish print, broadcast, online and social media outlets, formed the basis of Aleph Melbourne’s submission to the inquiry.

The committee found our submission sufficiently compelling that they quoted from it in their report.

The Jewish community does not tolerate an iota of hate directed at it, and it should not tolerate an iota of hate emanating from it.

The committee recommended strengthening anti-vilification laws, including adding protections for LGBTIQ+ people and those with HIV/AIDS.  Doing so will make Victoria a safer place for all people, whether they are Jewish, LGBTIQ+, or any other category.

Michael Barnett
Co-convenor, Aleph Melbourne

Australian Jewish News, March 19, 2021, page 19

LGBTIQ groups call for Holocaust museums’ recognition of Nazi atrocious committed against homosexuals | J-Wire

Ban Nazi Swastikas, Protect Queer People From Hate Crimes, Recommends Inquiry | Star Observer


Inquiry into Anti-Vilification Protections 

In addition to commentary on race, religion and ethnicity, the Committee also heard evidence that disproportionately negative media commentary has serious consequences for various other groups, such as the LGBTIQ community. For example, in its submission, Aleph Melbourne stated: 

Since 2001 there have been numerous hateful and vilifying attacks on LGBTIQ+ people in print and social media, originating in or closely connected to Melbourne’s Jewish community. Had such attacks been anti‑Semitic in nature it is likely there would have been justified outrage from the Jewish community and attempts made to seek legal remedy under anti‑vilification legislation. At present there is no equivalent protection available for attacks on LGBTIQ+ people.64 

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SEE ALSO

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Rabbi Claims COVID-19 Vaccine Can Make People Gay | Star Observer

See also: Religious leader claims COVID vaccine turns people gay

Correcting the record

Whilst grateful for the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s sincere apology to Aleph Melbourne in 2019, the apology was not exactly for “[Aleph’s] 1999 exclusion from the JCCV” as stated here by outgoing President Jennifer Huppert:

Oboler takes the reins from Jennifer Huppert, who served two three-year terms. The lawyer and former Labor MLC told The AJN the JCCV’s role in the Victorian Jewish Community Bushfire Relief Appeal and in the Jewish Community COVID Taskforce were key developments on her watch, as was obtaining funding for communal security. Bringing in LGBTIQ group Keshet and the apology to gay-rights group Aleph for its 1999 exclusion from the JCCV were milestones. She noted, “Gen17 showed that Jewish people identify in many different ways.”

“Andre Oboler takes the JCCV reins” | AJN (Nov 19 2020)

The exact wording of the JCCV apology, as taken from the Motion to JCCV Plenum – April 2019, is:

Accordingly, this Plenum now apologises unconditionally to all members of our community who were impacted by the rejection of the membership application and for the unacceptable homophobic views expressed during the debate.

We apologise for the deep offence and humiliation caused by the hateful words spoken in the course of the debate.

We apologise for the subsequent distress, further marginalisation and stigmatisation caused by the rejection of Aleph Melbourne’s membership application.

Candidate statement: David Zyngier Greens for Camden Ward – Glen Eira Council

The following political statement has been supplied by David Zyngier who is running as a candidate for Camden Ward – Glen Eira Council in the 2020 Local Government elections.

Aleph Melbourne will endorse all political candidates who unconditionally support equal rights for LGBTIQ+ Jews and whose values align with ours.


David Zyngier, Greens candidate for Camden Ward, Glen Eira Council: Supporting our LGBTIQ+ Community.

I am running for elections for Camden Ward in the forthcoming Glen Eira Council elections and will be an advocate for the LGBTIQ+ community in Glen Eira. I am requesting the support of Aleph and its members.

Beginning with my university days at Monash in the 1970s, I have been an advocate for the equal rights of LGBTIQ+ people and for members of the Jewish LGBTIQ+ community in particular.

As far back as 1999, I wrote a letter of support for Aleph Melbourne which was published in the Australian Jewish News (and featured on Aleph website). I condemned the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s bigoted behaviour in rejecting the membership of Aleph Melbourne. I wrote at that time:

“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. … I can only say how ashamed I feel to be part of such a community that has turned its back on our fellow Jews.”

Twenty years later, in 2019, I was contacted by Aleph Melbourne to support their efforts to right this wrong. I worked together with Aleph Melbourne to write and facilitate a formal public apology from the JCCV. This was a bittersweet victory – yes, an apology had been received, but only after two decades of struggle by the LGBTQI+ community and its allies.

In my role as an advocate for public education, I led a campaign together with Fairness in Religious Education (FIRIS) to remove the bigoted and homophobic Special Religious Education program from our public primary schools. I have been a strong and loud public advocate of the Safe School Program. I have joined the call for the scrapping of the federally funded School Chaplains Program. Along with other activists, I have called for those funds to be invested in secular, unbiased and inclusive support for students through counsellors and through antibullying initiatives such as the Safe Schools Program.

The Greens, more than any other political party, will always advocate for the rights of LGBTIQ+ residents in Glen Eira and beyond, championing diversity and calling out discrimination, bias, and bigotry. As the first party to support and actively campaign to remove discrimination in marriage, we are so proud of what a strong and united community campaign can do to make positive change.

Yet, we recognise that there is so much more to be done. Our MPs, councillors, and members are committed to stand at the forefront of efforts for equal rights, social acceptance, and human dignity for all.

The Greens Party is proud of our strong and active LGBTIQ+ membership who have led the way in developing the detailed statement of policies outlined here, https://greens.org.au/vic/policies/sexual-orientation-gender-identity-and-intersex-policy

Authorised by M. Shields 1/45 William St. Melbourne Vic 3000

Australian Jewish organisations demand end to cruel treatment of ‘boat people’

Australian Jewish organisations demand end to cruel treatment of ‘boat people’ 

Seven years have now passed since the then Australian government announced that all people seeking asylum who arrived on unauthorised boats would be processed offshore and that none would ever be resettled in Australia, a policy that has been continued by all Australian governments since. 

A July 2020 report by the Refugee Council of Australia shows again the immense suffering thus caused for thousands of despairing men, women and children, including self-harm, 12 deaths offshore, by suicide or for want of medical care, and other deaths while in limbo in Australia. Despite the passage of seven long years and expenditure of $7.6 billions of taxpayers’ money, hundreds of people still remain trapped in Papua New Guinea or Nauru or, having been brought to Australia for proper medical care, are in detention and not receiving it. 

Only last century, thousands of Jews fleeing persecution in Europe were denied entry to other countries, or escaped only by recourse to ‘people smugglers’. As a result, all states, including Australia, now have obligations under the Refugee Convention of 1951, its 1967 Protocol, and international humanitarian law, to receive people who claim asylum because of well-founded fears of persecution and to process their claims expeditiously and compassionately. Australia has repeatedly breached those obligations and shamefully continues to do so in respect of the asylum seekers still in Papua New Guinea and Nauru or evacuated for medical reasons and detained in Australia. 

Together with many fellow Australians, we demand that our Government take immediate and effective action to resettle these people safely and give them some hope again in what remains of their interrupted and damaged lives. 

Signed as of 30 July 2020 

Aleph Melbourne | Ameinu Australia | Australian Jewish Democratic Society | Betar Australia | J-Greens (Vic) | Jewish Labour Bund Melbourne | Jewish Lesbian Group Victoria | Jews for Refugees (Australia) | Jews for Refugees (Sydney) | Jewish Voices for Peace & Justice (NSW) | Kehilat Koleinu | Habonim Dror Australia | Hashomer Hatzair Australia | Inner West Chavurah | Meretz Australia | Music for Refugees | NIF Australia | Progressive Judaism Victoria | SKIF

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