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

Jews of Pride 2020: Stars! Camera! Action!

Enjoy the photos, videos and media coverage of Jews of Pride 2020.

Photos mainly of the Jews of Pride contingent at the 25th Pride March.

Posted by Michael Barnett on Monday, February 3, 2020
Henry Greener @ The Shtick and Helen Shardey discuss Pride March and Jewish Queer diversity (to 3:20 in the video). Video and photos of “Jews of Pride” by Michael Barnett.

MEDIA RELEASE: “Jews of Pride” huge success at 25th Pride March
J-WIRE: The sun shines on Jewish pride
J-Wire: Marching with pride
Australian Jewish News: A celebration of diversity

Australian Jewish News – February 14 2020 (page 8)

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

Jewish Care Victoria and Jewish Community Council of Victoria: Standing against Conversion Therapy

 

STANDING AGAINST CONVERSION THERAPY
A unique piece of research from La Trobe University, in conjunction with the Human Rights Law Centre and Gay & Lesbian Health Victoria, has highlighted the impact and harms of LGBT conversion therapy.

At its core, conversion therapy asserts that individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are ‘sexually broken’ or ‘psychologically damaged’ and therefore in need of redirection and reorientation to repair their sexual orientation or gender identity. To achieve this purported aim, conversion therapy imposes a range of practices such as electroconvulsive therapy, exorcism, hypnotherapy, intensive group prayer and other psychological strategies. The impacts according to those who have experienced such therapies include severe trauma, stress and often long-term psychological damage.

Of concern is the report’s finding that these practices continue today in a broad range of faith communities.

Jewish Care and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria firmly condemn the principles and assumptions that underlie the practices of conversion therapy, and we are proud to acknowledge and celebrate diversity and hold strong to the belief that it is a human right for all individuals, including those who identify as LGBTIQ+, to live free from prejudice, harm, harassment or abuse.

 

Jewish Care Victoria and JCCV stand against LGBT Conversion Therapy | J-Wire

A unique piece of research from Melbourne’s La Trobe University, in conjunction with the Human Rights Law Centre and Gay & Lesbian Health Victoria, has highlighted the impact and harms of LGBT conversion therapy.

The Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice: Responding to LGBT conversion therapy report explores the history of LGBT conversion therapy in Australia through the lens of 15 LGBT individuals with lived experience, with a focus on the use of conversion therapy in faith-based communities including the Jewish community.

At its core, conversion therapy asserts that individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are ‘sexually broken’ or ‘psychologically damaged’ and therefore in need of redirection and reorientation to repair their sexual orientation or gender identity. To achieve this purported aim, conversion therapy imposes a range of practices such as electroconvulsive therapy, exorcism, hypnotherapy, intensive group prayer and other psychological strategies. The impacts according to those who have experienced such therapies include severe trauma, stress and often long-term psychological damage.

Of concern is the report’s finding that these practices continue today in a broad range of faith communities.

Jewish Care and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) firmly condemn the principles and assumptions that underlie the practices of conversion therapy, and we are proud to acknowledge and celebrate diversity and hold strong to the belief that it is a human right for all individuals, including those who identify as LGBTIQ+, to live free from prejudice, harm, harassment or abuse.

“It is a dark day to think that individuals are still not accepted for who they are and how they identify,” says CEO Bill Appleby. “Conversion therapy is a violation of the principles of social justice and human rights, and Jewish Care condemns such practices as archaic and harmful. They should not be tolerated.”

The value of inclusion or hachlala underpins the work of Jewish Care and is at the heart of all service delivery. “If we are truly to embrace diversity and work together for a just and equitable society, we need to stand up for those who are marginalised in our community. For an individual to feel forced to choose between their sexuality or gender identity and their religious community is extraordinarily painful. It is for this reason that I felt compelled to take a stand on this important issue,” said Mr Appleby.

JCCV President Jennifer Huppert said, “We must ensure that our community is inclusive for all community members and that our community organisations maintain inclusive practices and procedures to ensure LGBTI individuals and their families feel welcome, respected and valued.”

In addition to other activities to ensure the inclusion of LGBTI community members, Jewish Care is currently working to achieve Rainbow Tick accreditation.

For further information on the Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice: Responding to LGBT conversion therapy report, visit https://www.latrobe.edu.au/news/articles/2018/release/report-on-lgbt-conversion-therapy-harms

Wentworth 2018: Candidate responses to ECAJ “Religious Freedom” question

2018 Wentworth by-election candidate responses to ECAJ “religious freedom” question.

[ The information below is drawn from the four linked J-Wire pages.  We have ordered the candidates alphabetically by surname. ]

In the interests of ensuring that our community is properly informed and engaged in the political process The Executive Council of Australian Jewry asked the four candidates currently polling at over 10% of the primary vote (as per the Reachtel poll published on 17 September), to state their positions on matters of special concern to Jewish Australians.

Religious Freedom

The same-sex marriage survey last year has led to claims that religious freedom is not adequately protected in Australia, and that religious institutions and organisations should have enhanced rights to discriminate in favour of members of their own faith, or to promote their own beliefs.

  1. Do you agree?

Licia Heath (Independent) [web site]

The same-sex marriage debate was about removing the state-supported discrimination that was enshrined in law (within the marriage act).  This had no impact on the rights of religious institutions to continue their faith-based practices in the existing manner including practice or promotion of their beliefs.

The Australian community, including the Wentworth community, strongly voiced its support of removing discrimination in Australian law and in civil practice.

To legislate in a manner that establishes, in law, a right to discriminate against a segment of the Australian community is against the majority of strongly held community sentiment and should not be supported.

Allowing a religious, or religiously-affiliated institution to discriminate against one minority group would open the door to other forms of discrimination that are against community values – such as religious discrimination.

If religious schools or institutions practice discrimination outside of the law, and outside of community standards, then they forfeit the right

Tim Murray (Australian Labor Party) [web site]

I am comfortable with the marriage equality legislation passed last year and the protections it provides.

Dr Kerryn Phelps (Independent) [web site]

I believe that all Australians should be free to practice their religion, provided that does not impinge on the rights or freedoms of others.

More than any other group, the Jewish community understands the consequences of discrimination on the basis of religion.

I do not believe in any form of discrimination.

At a time when their only worry should be whether they get their homework done in time, some children have to worry that they may be expelled from school because they are gay or transgender.
We know the consequences of marginalisation and rejection are serious and potentially fatal, with high rates of suicide and attempted suicide in children and young people who are rejected or lack social support if they think they are gay or transgender.

Schools should provide supportive environments for these children and young people.

I believe that religion and faith communities should provide comfort and protection for vulnerable young people, not be the source of distress and despair.

As a doctor I am deeply concerned that after the bruising marriage equality campaign, yet another debate about the personal lives of LGBTQI people will open those wounds again.

Dave Sharma (Liberal Party of Australia) [web site]

Wentworth is quite a progressive community. 80% voted for same-sex marriage, as I did.

I would be opposed to any new measures that impose forms of discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, or anything else.

It is important to many, right across Australia, that people be free to choose their religion and express and practice their beliefs, without intimidation – so long as they practice their beliefs within the framework of the law.

The Government is considering the report of the expert panel chaired by Philip Ruddock, which received 15,000 submissions on this issue. I’m confident the Government will get the balance right.

More Jewish homophobia from Rabbi Chaim Ingram and Paul Winter on J-Wire

Repeat Jewish offenders Rabbi Chaim Ingram and Paul Winter post their homophobia on J-Wire.

The following comments appear on a J-Wire article beneath a photo gallery captioned:

Around 150 guests attended the panel discussion dealing with Marriage Equality in Australia at NCJWA NSW.
 Moderator: Dr Justin Koonin; Panel: Justice Stephen Rothman, Professor Kerryn Phelps, Tiernan Brady & Lauren Reinhardt, organised by NCJWA NSW Social Justice Chair Nadene Alhadeff. 

 

Rabbi Chaim Ingram says:

Enough with the euphemisms. The forum was dealing not with marriage equality but with same-sex marriage. Even if, G-D forbid, SSM is legalised in Australia, we shall not have marriage equality. Polygamists, polyandrists devotees of menage-a-trois and advocates of the right of bisexuals to be married to a man AND a woman simultaneously – not to mention other exotic varieties I would rather not name – will still feel disenfranchised. No doubt at least one of the above will be the next great cause for the so-called equality brigade to champion.

  • Paul Winter says:

    I absolutely concur. The call for same sex marriage on the basis of equality is deceptive. People who are fixated or regressed to that point in life when children play with those of their own sex are not equal to people who have attained psychosexual maturity. Many have many admirable qualities and abilities – and here Alan Turing comes to mind – but they have a developmental flaw.

    And then there is the appeal to love – homosexual love is the same as the love of anyone else. But we do not know how others love, we only know how we ourselves love. And if the issue is love, why deny that to children, to siblings or to those who love many people. What makes same-sex relations so special?

    And then we also hear of the gender fluid. How any person can feel like a person of the opposite sex was a mystery to me until my youngest grandchildren then 7 and 5 1/2 commanded my wife and me to “pretend” in a game they were playing. People wanting to marry should be beyond the pretending stage.

    And then, why call it marriage? Why not a commitment contract? I submit, the same sex people are uncomfortable with their sexuality and by appropriating the term marriage, they seek to diminish their anxiety by their pretense that they are no different to anyone else.

    My advice to them: accept yourselves before you demand acceptance by others; you are not disadvantaged in Australia – you are accepted as equals as human beings – so stop your agitation, fit in and grow up.

  • Sam Goldmansays:

    Rabbi I am in full agreement with you. You forgot to mention child bride marriages, so frowned upon by society. Those participating in that form of marriage, that are jailed now, will also want equality in marriage too.

POSTSCRIPT – 11-Aug-2017
J-Wire have unpublished these comments after they received a complaint about them.  See the comments on an archived copy of the article here.

Media Release: Government gives $20K grant to promote inclusive communities to homophobic organisation

ALEPH MELBOURNE
MEDIA RELEASE: GOV’T GIVES $20K GRANT TO PROMOTE INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES TO HOMOPHOBIC ORGANISATION
JULY 13 2012

J-Wire reports [1] the Institute for Judaism and Civilisation (IJC) [2] has been awarded a $20,000 grant to produce a teaching manual of the shared values of Christianity, Islam and Judaism to strengthen resilience against violent extremism.  Aleph Melbourne welcomes government grants of this nature and sees them as a valuable opportunity to further relationships between religious communities.

Attorney General Nicola Roxon describes of the Building Community Resilience grants program [3]:

We want to support local projects to build stronger, more inclusive communities. … Grants such as this will fund practical new activities to assist individuals and communities to resist and disengage from intolerant ideologies and encourage positive community participation.

Director of the IJC, Rabbi Dr Shimon Cowen, is on the record in his 2012 submission to the Senate on “homosexual marriage” [4] as inferring that homosexuality is prohibited by God and that to allow any recognition of homosexuals is to show defiance to the universal ethics of God.

Cowen was also embroiled in a controversy earlier this year where he openly advocated for reparative therapy for gay people and that the anti-homophobic anti-bullying program Safe Schools Coalition Victoria be de-funded. [5]

Cowen’s stance is clearly at odds with this shared values program, which is described as funding “practical new activities to assist individuals and communities to resist and disengage from intolerant ideologies and encourage positive community participation.”

Cowen and the IJC have blatantly demonstrated an intolerance of homosexuality.

Michael Barnett, Convenor of Aleph Melbourne said, “By allocating this significant grant to such an organisation that fosters intolerant homophobic ideologies is a slap in the face to all same-sex attracted Jews, Christians and Muslims who are trying to gain acceptance in their respective communities.  Further, it sends the message that homophobic intolerance is acceptable.”

Federal MP Michael Danby has commended Cowen and said that this grant will allow the faith communities to explore their similarities and avoid extremism.

Barnett said, “The irony of the situation is that followers of ultra-conservative religious perspectives common to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, people like Shimon Cowen, believe that practitioners of homosexuality are sinners who should be shunned and actively discouraged from acting on their innate sexual orientation.  Some extremist viewpoints of these religions go so far as to say such people are worthy of death.”

Barnett calls on Danby and Roxon to revoke the $20,000 grant allocated to the IJC on the grounds that the IJC is a proponent of intolerant ideologies and to reallocate the funds to organisations that embrace diversity.

Further comment available from Michael Barnett on 0417-595-541.

[1] http://www.jwire.com.au/teaching-manual-to-be-produced-on-shared-values/
[2] http://www.ijc.com.au/
[3] http://www.livingsafetogether.gov.au/newsandblog/Pages/Building-resilient-communities.aspx
[4] http://aleph.org.au/2012/04/03/jewish-submissions-to-senate-enquiry-on-marriage-equality/
[5] http://aleph.org.au/2012/02/10/the-homosexual-anti-bullying-program-for-schools-an-unconscionable-strategem-afa-journal-vol-32-no-2-2011/


Update – January 5 2013 & October 5 2015

Since this media release was issued the AG web site link has changed. The new grants program page can be viewed http://www.livingsafetogether.gov.au/newsandblog/Pages/Building-resilient-communities.aspx. Details of the grant application in question can be viewed in full here and summary here.