Aleph Melbourne received the following clarifying statement from Glen Eira Councillor Dr David Zyngier on April 4, 2022, issued in response to the tweet from @StrewthQueen below:
As a member of the Greens I fully support and endorse the non-negotiable rights of all people to their fundamental human rights. I fully support the Greens policy on trans rights. I acknowledge as a cis male there is much that I do not fully understand and am open to being educated about issues that impact and effect our LGBTQI+ community. I look forward to future productive conversations with members of the LGBTQI+ community and especially those members of the Greens who identify as trans. If there are transphobic or trans exclusionary members of the Greens, they do not represent Green values or mine.
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.
AUJS and the AZYC, in partnership with the Australian Jewish News, are proud to present The Great Debate for the federal seat of Macnamara. In the lead up to the federal election, it is vitally important for our community to ask questions and receive answers about the most pressing issues concerning us. This year, we’re giving YOU the power to ask those most burning questions on your mind. We’re opening up submissions now, so click here to submit your questions. Venue will be announced closer to the date. Confirmed to attend are: Josh Burns (Labor) Kate Ashmor (Liberal) Steph Hodgins May (Greens) This event is open to members of our community of all ages. We’re looking forward to stimulating debate and thoughtful dialogue!
Question by Michael Barnett:
“What is your party doing to ensure that all students, and also all teachers and other staff members, at religious schools are fully protected from both direct and indirect discrimination on the basis of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or intersex status?”
Listen to the question followed by responses from Steph Hodgins-May (Greens) @ 1:10, Josh Burns (ALP) @ 2:19, and Kate Ashmor (Liberal) @ 3:47:
.@josh4macnamara: "It is my belief and the belief of the @AustralianLabor that no one should be discriminated based on religion, gender or sexuality. Labor will help build the Pride Centre in St Kilda." #auspol#greatdebatemacnamara
Al M Fein Michael Barnett asking a question about religious discrimination against LGBTQI people.
Hannah Aroni Next qu: what is your party doing to ensure all students and teachers at religious schools are protected from direct and indirect discrimination re their gender, sexuality or intersex status
Al M Fein People in the audience are talking and giggling. How gross. But good applause.
Hannah Aroni Clarifying this is about uniforms, bathrooms, discrimination re parents, hiding relationships or identity, being forced to attend religious ceremonies w hurtful statements
Al M Fein Steph Hodgins May talking about support for Safe School and oppose religious based discrimination.
Al M Fein Talking more about funding mental health.
Al M Fein Huge applause.
Hannah Aroni Steph noting Greens are long time advocates of safe schools and oppose teacher exemptions from protection against discrimination. Also coming back to mental health funding and hoping to continue working w schools and community to keep kids safe. Big youth applause on that!
Al M Fein Josh Burns talking about most of the Jewish schools making statements condemning homophobia.
Hannah Aroni Josh referencing statements from many specific Jewish schools re not wanting the power to discriminate, saying he’s happy about that, saying we shouldn’t be able to discriminate against students or staff.
Al M Fein Josh sinking the boot into Scomo for bringing religious based discrimination back – funding a Pride Centre in St Kilda
Al M Fein Kate Ashmor talking about being in the Midsumma Pride rally.
Hannah Aroni Josh saying last year the PM sent kids home after reversing onthis issue. Says people should imagine kids going home for summer thinking about that. Noting in this electorate 82% voted for marriage equality, noted Labor commitment to building Pride Centre in St K
Al M Fein And Kate says she voted ‘yes’ in the marriage equality debate BUT she’s saying that she will ensure freedom of religion – and institutionalised homophobia.
Al M Fein Talking about funding in the budget for mental health – to applause.
Hannah Aroni Kate saying she voted yes bc as a Lib she supports freedom and human rights. But saying freedom of religion is a cornerstone of the comm and that parents should be able to choose the values taught in schools and saying she will be a strong voice for that. Saying she was happy w the 720 mil funding and 30 new headspace centres, 4 new ED clinics
Hannah Aroni Being pulled back on this to topic by the moderator. Moderator correcting Kate – Kate tried to claim changes to law didn’t pass parliament bc labor refused, Mod says no, this was bc Libs refused to pas Lab changes
Hannah Aroni Kate saying she supports law to protect students, but stands w the PM re teachers and is … wow how do I do justice to this
Al M Fein More men yelling over women.
Hannah Aroni She’s going on about not being a typical pollie and the crowd thinks she’s full of shit, and Josh has pushed back to say this shows where she stands on the issue
Al M FeinJosh just put Kate back in her box after she claimed that she was talking shit because she is not a ‘staffer’
Hannah Aroni Next qu is about pill testing and harm reduction re drug users
Pre-election polling and analysis suggests the Australian Greens party is likely to pick up one or more lower house seats this election – on top of retaining the seat of Melbourne. This gives it the potential to not only hold the balance of power in the Senate, but if a hung parliament results from this election, also determine who forms government – with very significant leverage over the minority government thus formed.
and concluded with the following section on domestic policy:
A further issue in the Greens platform likely to concern many in Australia is its policy of removing clauses granting limited exemptions to religious organisations from anti-discrimination laws. This would likely impact significantly on Jewish schools and other communal institutions and concern has been expressed about this policy by Jewish community leaders.
Aleph Melbourne approached AIJAC for clarification of the “significant impact” and the “expressed concern” referred to in the article.
Colin Rubinstein, AIJAC Executive Director, provided the following explanation:
In response to your query I refer you to the story below in the Australian from May 24.
While it may be that there was not much Jewish reaction in the press on the Greens plan, the reaction that was published was top-level.
Peter Wertheim does not comment on every story he is approached for, and his decision to comment here, I would say, well reflected his confidence and our feedback too that he was conveying the community’s sentiment expressed anecdotally behind the scenes.
At any rate, our mention of this plan took up a very small part of our overall report on the Greens, and should be put in proper perspective.
Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders are objecting to the Greens plan to remove the religious exemptions, saying it could force people to act against their faith.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry director Peter Wertheim said: “It would be wrong and unworkable for the law to compel people to do things that are contrary to their religious beliefs or conscience.’’
Independently, Aleph Melbourne had contacted Peter Wertheim, Executive Director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, on May 24 2016 about the aforementioned article, querying if he had been quoted accurately. Peter provided the following response:
Here is the whole quote I gave to The Australian.
It is appropriate for the law to ensure that people are not discriminated against at work or in accessing education, housing and other services, because of their race, gender, sexual preference, age or disability. However, it would be wrong and unworkable for the law to compel people to do things that are contrary to their religious beliefs or conscience.
My comment would therefore not apply to a proposed change to the definition of marriage in section 5 of the Marriage Act. But it would apply to a proposed repeal of section 47 of the Marriage Act. My understanding is that the proponents of marriage equality are only seeking the former, not the latter. I didn’t refer specifically to the Greens, but given the vagueness and generality of Senator McKimm’s statements I couldn’t work out what he was proposing, and therefore thought it was right to comment.
It is evident that AIJAC was not aware of Peter Wertheim’s full quote supplied to The Australian, and by inference was similarly unaware that Peter was referring to issues relating to the Marriage Act and not anti-discrimination legislation.
AIJAC was lobbying their interest groups to vote unfavourably for the Greens in the July 2 2016 Federal election. Religious exemptions to anti-discrimination legislation directly impact LGBTIQ Australians, some of whom are Jewish, who are employed by Jewish organisations. It is deeply disappointing that AIJAC targeted the Greens anti-discrimination policy based on an unsubstantiated claim, more so when it has the potential to hurt some of the most vulnerable members of society.
It is also deeply disappointing that AIJAC attempted to minimise the significance of mentioning the paragraph about the Greens policy on removal of religious exemptions to anti-discrimination legislation. The damage to people’s lives due to this exemption is amply significant.
An apology from AIJAC to the Greens and to LGBTIQ people for their unfair criticism of the Greens policy would be appreciated.
The Anti Defamation Commission has joined calls for former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s sister to apologise over an anti-gay marriage remark.
Loree Rudd is lobbying federal MPs and threatening to quit Labor if the party backs gay marriage at its national conference in December.
She accused some Labor members of being brainwashed by a “global gay Gestapo” this week.
The ADC, Australia’s peak Jewish human rights body, said she should apologise.
“It is completely unacceptable for anyone to co-opt and trivialise the name of one of the most active and feared arms of the Nazi machinery for their own political purposes,” ADC chairman Anton Block said in a statement on Friday.
“The Gestapo was directly responsible for the murders of Jewish, Romani, homosexual and disabled people.
“To use its name in this context shows a level of ignorance and insensitivity that has no place in contemporary political discourse.
“It is highly offensive, and we call upon Ms Rudd to apologise immediately and unreservedly.”
Four state ALP conferences have endorsed changes to legalise same-sex marriage under federal law. NSW Labor last week refused to back the proposal and referred the issue to the national conference.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she does not have any plans to change the marriage act.
The coalition also opposes legislating for same-sex marriage but the Greens support it.