Melbourne Jewish radio J-AIR finds March 30 broadcast was “contrary to Australian law” and “vilified members of the homosexual (and LGBTIQ+) community”

On May 5 2020 Melbourne’s Jewish radio station J-AIR published the findings of their inquiry into the March 30 2020 incident where they aired an interview stating “the pandemic is an exact designer drug … that will remove … problems … in the form of homosexuality and gays”.

The publication of these findings follow an unreserved apology from the station on April 2 2020.

J-AIR COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE FINDINGS

Approved Committee of Management on May 1 2020

Published results of J-AIR inquiry (forwarded to Michael Barnett via email on 5 May 2020).

1) The J-AIR complaints resolution committee, comprising J-AIR radio’s executive committtee, inquired into comments by Rabbi Mendel Kessin on The Tamar Yonah Show (30 March 2020) broadcast and podcast by J-AIR. Rabbi Kessin’s comment were originally aired on 24 March on the INTR program The Mystical Meaning of the Coronavirus with Rabbi Mendel Kessin. The complaints resolution committee found Rabbi Kassin’s comments were contrary to Australian law in that they vilified members of the homosexual (and LGBTIQ+) community.
2) An unreserved apology was issued immediately to the homosexual (and LGBTIQ+) community via Michael Barnett, who wrote about the TYS broadcast on the Aleph.org website on 4 April. The apology was distributed to The Australian Jewish News, J-Wire, JMedia and J-AIR’s Facebook group and page.
3) The apology was posted on the landing page of J-AIR’s website (j-air.com.au) and the apology in audio form was broadcast for several days following the original broadcast.
4) Michael Barnett, who brought the TYS broadcast to J-AIR’s attention, was engaged by telephone by the J-AIR assistant station manager.
5) Tamar Yonah was contacted for her comment. She noted in part: “Israel News Talk Radio is an Israeli Jewish station based on Torah values. We have on a variety of guests including rabbis who express different opinions on current or historical/biblical issues. Guests and listeners may, and do, hold very diverse views. Our live shows offer listeners to call in and agree, disagree, ask a question, or make a comment. Live talk-radio is very dynamic and is not a closed forum, and knowing that people express very diverse views, we have a disclaimer on our site stating that the many different views and opinions expressed on INTR do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Israel News Talk Radio or its staff.”
J-AIR carries a similar disclaimer hourly.
6) J-AIR will begin an updated education program for all presenters about Australian vilification laws, and advise them to remind guests before interviews to be wary of what they say.
7) Tamar Yonah has requested her program be replaced by other programs from INTR. J-AIR’s programming committee is looking into replacement programs.

Aleph Melbourne is pleased to hear that J-AIR are reinforcing anti-vilification requirements to their presenters, and also that the station is replacing the problematic Tamar Yonah Show syndication with alternative content.


Related coverage

Melbourne radio station J-AIR replaces program after homophobic broadcast | OUTinPerth

MEDIA RELEASE: In memory of Anton Hermann

Aleph Melbourne is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Anton Hermann in a cycling accident on July 6 2019.

Anton was Vice President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV). In this capacity Anton was key in formulating the JCCV apology to Aleph Melbourne in April 2019 – an apology in response to the JCCV voting to reject Aleph’s membership to the JCCV 20 years earlier, in May 1999.

Anton was proactive in listening to the concerns of Aleph (including meeting with Aleph representatives Michael Barnett and Shaun Miller) and also reviewing the minutes of the JCCV meeting from May 1999 at which Aleph’s membership to the JCCV was rejected.

Anton came to understand the hateful and hurtful language of some delegates at the JCCV meeting of 20 years ago, and the long term negative impact this had on many LGBTIQ people in the Jewish community and also on their allies.

With conviction, compassion and consensus, Anton ensured that the JCCV apology was genuine, meaningful and unconditional.

This is just one of many actions of Anton’s that had a positive and uplifting social impact in relation to the Jewish community, the LGBTIQ community, and the broader community.

Anton’s untimely death is devastating to all who knew him and who were helped by him. We extend our sincere condolences to his family

Aleph will always remember his values and value his memory.

For further comment contact Michael Barnett on 0417-595-541 or michael@aleph.org.au.

Aleph Melbourne is a social, support and advocacy group for same-sex attracted, trans and gender diverse, and intersex people (and allies) who have a Jewish heritage, living in Melbourne, Australia.

ENDS

JOY Saturday Magazine: Michael Barnett discusses the JCCV apology to Aleph Melbourne

Macca and Tass interview Michael Barnett from Aleph Melbourne regarding the May 2019 apology from the Jewish Community Council of Victoria

Saturday Magazine / Current Affairs / Michael Barnett from Aleph Melbourne

Michael Barnett from Aleph Melbourne

Presented by David ‘Macca’ McCarthy & Tass Mousaferiadis

Michael Barnett is the co-convener of Aleph @AlephMelbourne. They recently received an official apology from the Jewish Community Council Victoria for exclusion over 20 years ago. This is an historic occasion, because this is the first time a Jewish organisation has apologised, worldwide, for such things. 20 years of this hurt has been wiped away by this apology. JCCV have agreed that it was not just harmful but hateful.

Podcast: Download (Duration: 8:26 — 5.8MB)

Coverage of JCCV apology to Aleph Melbourne

Coverage of the April 2019 JCCV apology to Aleph Meebourne

This list of articles will be updated as new coverage is identified.

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Michael Barnett from Aleph Melbourne
JOY 94.9 Saturday Magazine / April 14 2019
https://joy.org.au/saturdaymagazine/2019/04/michael-barnett-jccv-apology

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JCCV’s ‘sorry’ to Aleph 20 years on
Australian Jewish News / April 5, 2019
https://www.jewishnews.net.au/jccvs-sorry-to-aleph-20-years-on/88233

[Note, there are a couple of mistakes in the second last paragraph of this story.  Aleph is not currently a member of the JCCV LGBTIQ Reference Group, although there are ongoing discussions about this.  Also, back in 1999 Aleph did not lose members after the failed vote.  The group went into hiatus and when it reformed it didn’t reinstate dues, which means there are no financial members, a prerequisite of becoming a JCCV affiliate.]

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MEDIA RELEASE: Aleph Melbourne receives historic 20 year apology from Jewish Community Council of Victoria
Aleph Melbourne / April 2, 2019
https://aleph.org.au/2019/04/02/media-release-aleph-melbourne-receives-historic-20-year-apology-from-jewish-community-council-of-victoria

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JEWISH LGBTI GROUP ALEPH MELBOURNE RECEIVES ‘HISTORIC’ APOLOGY FROM JEWISH COUNCIL
Star Observer / April 2, 2019
http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/national-news/victoria-news/jewish-lgbti-group-aleph-melbourne-receives-historic-apology-from-jewish-council/180333

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JCCV makes historic apology to Aleph Melbourne
J-Wire / April 2, 2019
http://www.jwire.com.au/jccv-makes-historic-apology-to-aleph-melbourne

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Sorry seems to be the hardest word
Australian Jewish News / March 7, 2019
https://www.jewishnews.net.au/sorry-seems-to-be-the-hardest-word/87175

MEDIA RELEASE: Aleph Melbourne receives historic 20 year apology from Jewish Community Council of Victoria

On April 1 2019 the Jewish Community Council of Victoria delivered an historic 20-year apology to Aleph Melbourne for past injustices.

MEDIA RELEASE
Aleph Melbourne receives historic 20 year apology
from Jewish Community Council of Victoria
April 2 2019

Last night the Jewish Community Council of Victoria issued an unconditional apology to Aleph Melbourne for denying it membership of their council in May 1999, and for hurt arising out of the debate that transpired.

Aleph Melbourne welcomes the apology and thanks the JCCV Executive and those members of their council who turned up to vote in favour of the motion.

Whilst the JCCV Executive has always been supportive of Aleph Melbourne, the words of the apology and their actions have demonstrated they are committed to supporting the full and unconditional inclusion and acceptance of all same-sex attracted, trans and gender diverse, and intersex people in the Jewish community.

It was significant that this apology was issued alongside a discussion on anti-Semitism and racism.  The JCCV have further demonstrated their integrity by acknowledging that hate from within the Jewish community is as unacceptable as hate directed toward it.

Aleph Melbourne acknowledges the involvement of the Australian Jewish Democratic Society in the formulation and passage of this apology and is grateful for their long-standing and ongoing support.

Aleph Melbourne believes this is the first apology ever from any Jewish community in relation to the mistreatment of LGBTIQ people.

The JCCV apology is attached below.

A photograph of the formal presentation of a framed copy of the apology is available below and online here: http://bit.ly/jccv-aleph-apology-photo; L to R: (JCCV reps) Anton Hermann, Doron Abramovici, Jennifer Huppert; (Aleph Melbourne reps) Michael Barnett, Shaun Miller, Colin Krycer.  Photo by Gregory Storer.

Michael Barnett & Shaun Miller
ALEPH MELBOURNE

ENDS

For further information contact Michael Barnett  on 0417-595-541 or michael@aleph.org.au


 

Motion to JCCV Plenum – April 2019

To acknowledge the 20-year anniversary of Aleph Melbourne being denied membership of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria

On the occasion of 20 years since the failed attempt by Aleph Melbourne to join the JCCV, this plenum places on record that:

  • Aleph Melbourne submitted a valid application for membership of the JCCV in January 1999
  • The Executive of the JCCV supported admission of Aleph Melbourne as a member
  • On 10 May 1999 the JCCV Plenum debated the motion and voted (39 votes in favour and 46 votes against) to deny the application for membership
  • In the course of the debate, homophobic views were expressed by some delegates which caused long-term harm to members of our LGBTIQ+ community

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.

We now recommit ourselves to welcoming and embracing LGBTIQ+ Jews in all our work, as part of our broader commitment to social inclusion for all members of the Jewish community of Victoria.

Through our genuine commitment to equality and diversity we seek to ensure that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated.


 

20190401 JCCV present historic apology to Aleph Melbourne
L to R: (JCCV reps) Anton Hermann, Doron Abramovici, Jennifer Huppert; (Aleph Melbourne reps) Michael Barnett, Shaun Miller, Colin Krycer.  Photo by Gregory Storer.

Australian Jewish News apologises for Rabbi Chaim Ingram

Last week the Australian Jewish News published an article by Chaim Ingram in both their Sydney and Melbourne editions in which they inadvertently included this grossly offensive statement on the issue of homosexuality:

Non-Orthodoxy embraces it while Orthodoxy sees it as a sin for which one must be prepared to give up one’s life if necessary.

This week the AJN have published an apology in both editions for this editorial oversight:


27 Jul 2012
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

Apology

IN last week’s AJN (20/07), Rabbi Chaim Ingram expressed an opinion on homosexuality held by certain sections of the Jewish community. The AJN apologises for any offence caused.