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

1999 AJDS letter re Aleph Melbourne membership denied by JCCV

19990511 AJDS JCCV letter

AJN May 14 1999 p33 Letters re Aleph defeat

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.

David Zyngier
The Australian Jewish Democratic Society
Publicity Officer

 

Statement from Monash University Faculty of Education Members Against Homophobia

[PDF]

Statement from Monash Education Faculty Members Against Homophobia

We are writing as members of the Faculty of Education because we have been disturbed by
an article written by a Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen in the journal of the Australian Family
Association. Cowen notes in this piece
(http://www.family.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=442) that he is an affiliate of Monash University. We are supportive of people’s freedom to express religious and cultural difference on issues of sexuality. However, we think that Cowen’s homophobic diatribe which particularly targets school programs aimed at prevention of homophobic bullying is both unscholarly and unacceptable. This sentiment has also been expressed by members of Melbourne’s Jewish community
(see http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/2012/02/16/anti-bully-advocates-fightback/
72052
).

Cowen mounts a bigoted argument against programs which target homophobic bullying in
schools. He asserts that opposition to homosexuality dates from “the dawn of time”, and that homosexuality is a mental illness. He further claims that acceptance of homosexuality in schools is abnormal, unethical, unconstitutional, and psychologically damaging. Cowen’s views are based on neither historical record nor credible scientific literature.

We condemn the uninformed opinions expressed by Cowen, which are foreign to the goals,
values, and standards of scholarship we proudly represent as researchers and teacher
educators. Such views are also profoundly damaging to the young people in schools Cowen
seeks to influence.

We call on Monash University to also distance itself from homophobia, reaffirm the values of tolerance and inclusivity upon which it prides itself, and explain what positive contribution Rabbi Dr. Shimon Cowen’s affiliation makes to our institution.

Dr. Joel Windle
Dr. Mary Lou Rasmussen
Dr. Miriam Faine
Dr. David Zyngier
Dr. Marc Pruyn
Dr. Anne Harris
Dr. Richard Smith
Dr. Jenny Miller
Dr. Scott Bulfin
Professor Jane Kenway

17 February 2012


Note: as of 15 May 2013 the first link in this statement stopped working. The replacement link is: http://family.org.au/index.php/afa-journal/112-afa-journal-vol-32-no-2-2011/180-the-homosexual-anti-bullying-program-for-schools-an-unconscionable-strategem