AJDS Motion to JCCV Plenum – March 2019

The following motion was put by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society to the Jewish Community Council of Victorian Plenum meeting on March 4 2019.  After significant debate at the meeting it was decided that the motion not be voted on, but rather, redrafted through a consultation between Aleph Melbourne, the AJDS and the JCCV.


Motion to JCCV Plenum – March 2019

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

Moved by AJDS:

1. 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 an application for membership of the JCCV in January 1999 with the backing of the then President Phillip Bliss and the executive of the JCCV.
  • Aleph Melbourne met all requirements for membership of the JCCV.
  • Aleph Melbourne’s membership of JCCV would have given the Jewish LGBTIQ community visibility, within the Jewish community and provided them an important support base.
  • When the application was brought to the Plenum on 10 May 1999, much was said that was supportive and welcoming for Aleph Melbourne but much was remarkably hurtful, shameful and homophobic, including remarks from some leading Melbourne rabbis at that time.
  • When the Plenum voted on the application, the vote was 39 For and 49 Against, resulting in the application being denied.

2. Accordingly, this Plenum:

Apologises to Aleph Melbourne, its past committee and members, and to all LGBTIQ Jews for the denial of the safe space at the JCCV Plenum on the day of that vote as well as the subsequent distress, further marginalisation, and stigmatisation caused by the rejection of membership by the JCCV, and for the subsequent decade of inaction by the JCCV in terms of any outreach to LGBTIQ Jews.

Acknowledges Aleph Melbourne’s significant efforts to encourage us all to speak out against hate and intolerance of LGBTIQ people, and that as a direct result, and following the attack on the LGBT Youth Centre attack in Tel Aviv in 2009, the JCCV then undertook its first actions in support of LGBTIQ Jews.


Correction: the 1999 vote was actually 39 For and 46 Against


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Sorry seems to be the hardest word | Australian Jewish News

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

ajn-20190308 Michael Barnett and Shaun Miller
Michael Barnett (left) and Shaun Miller.

OLD wounds were scratched at the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) plenum on Monday when it failed to formally apologise for denying affiliation to gay advocacy and support group Aleph Melbourne 20 years ago.

On May 10, 1999, the JCCV plenum rejected 46-39 with three abstentions a proposal by its own executive to invite Aleph to affiliate. But 20 years on, a motion calling for today’s JCCV to apologise has been taken back to the drawing board, after it became clear the plenum would not pass it without modifications.

Sivan Barak of the Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) proposed the apology motion, on which the JCCV had first been approached late last year, condemning the roof body’s 1999 spurning of Aleph.

The motion described responses of some delegates at that time as “hurtful, shameful and homophobic, including remarks from some leading Melbourne rabbis”.

It proposed the JCCV “apologises to Aleph Melbourne … and to all LGBTIQ Jews for the denial of a safe space at the JCCV plenum on the day of that vote, as well as the subsequent distress, further marginalisation and stigmatisation caused by the rejection of membership of the JCCV and for the subsequent decade of inaction by the JCCV in terms of any outreach to LGBTIQ Jews”.

It also called on the JCCV to acknowledge it did not actively support LGBTIQ Jews until after a 2009 attack on an LGBTIQ youth centre in Tel Aviv.

Various views were aired, from supporting an apology to drafting a compromise deleting references to the JCCV’s “decade of inaction” and the role of the Tel Aviv attack, which some delegates said were factually incorrect, to simply acknowledging the damage caused in 1999 and belatedly inviting Aleph into the JCCV.

Some delegates spoke of the very different track record in the past decade, with the affiliation of LGBTIQ support group Keshet to the JCCV, and formation of the JCCV’s LGBTIQ reference group.

After that, the apology motion was withdrawn by Barak – and Aleph’s Michael Barnett and Shaun Miller declared that without an apology, mere acknowledgment would be pointless.

John Searle, a former JCCV president, who founded its LGBTIQ reference group, described the 1999 decision as “an absolute disgrace” and proposed a meeting to demonstrate that in 2019 “the doors here are open to everybody”.

The proposal was accepted and a meeting with Aleph and AJDS – to be spearheaded by Doron Abramovici, JCCV executive member for social inclusion and community engagement – hopes to formulate a revised motion for next month’s plenum, or in May, exactly 20 years after Aleph’s rejection.

After Monday’s plenum, JCCV president Jennifer Huppert told The AJN the session provided Aleph members and others “an opportunity to express how they feel”, and the process now underway is “a good outcome”.

The plenum was themed “A Decade of Advocacy” and guest Ro Allen, Victoria’s commissioner for gender and sexuality, detailed proposed reforms by the state government to simplify altering gender status in birth, death and marriage records, and plans to ban gay conversion therapy.

Jewish Care CEO Bill Appleby spoke about his organisation’s process towards achieving Rainbow Tick accreditation, which demonstrates LGBTIQ-inclusive practice and service delivery.

The LGBTIQ-themed plenum preceded the 25th Jewish LGBT+ World Congress, to be held in Sydney from March 21-24, and the Australian visit of Rabbi Abby Stein, an American Jewish educator, writer, speaker and activist, who attended yeshivah in the US, has a rabbinical degree, and came out three years ago as “a woman of trans experience”.

PETER KOHN


ajn-20190308 Sorry Seems to be the hardest word

The Shtick: LGBTIQ inclusion + “Jews of Pride” @ Pride March

[The article Aleph Melbourne – Championing LGBTIQ inclusion and advocacy in the Jewish community provides critical background on the formation of the JCCV’s LGBTI Reference Group, further to the discussion in this video]

Put David Southwick LAST in Caulfield

Put David Southwick and the Liberal Party last in Caulfield in the 2018 Victorian State Education

Liberal Party candidate and Caulfield incumbent David Southwick declared at the Caulfield Candidates Forum that he will scrap Safe Schools, a program that specifically supports LGBTIQ youth.

Disappointingly he has fallen for the perfidy of ultra-conservative forces both within and beyond the Liberal Party.

David Southwick could have informed himself of the facts around the Safe Schools program, he could have spoken to young people who have benefitted from Safe Schools, and he could have spoken to Jewish Care and the JCCV about Safe Schools, but he didn’t.

David Southwick, Matthew Guy and the Liberal Party are not friends of LGBTIQ people because their policies will harm LGBTIQ people.

Put David Southwick Last

In the 2018 Victorian State Election Aleph Melbourne recommends voters in the district of Caulfield put David Southwick LAST on the Legislative Assembly ballot paper and favour a progressive party that prioritises LGBTIQ issues on the Legislative Council ballot paper.


Authorised by M Barnett 2/24 Winbirra Parade Ashwood VIC 3147

Caulfield Candidates Forum: What is the Liberal Party doing to strengthen support for LGBTIQ people?

At the Caulfield Candidates Forum David Southwick responds to a question about what the Liberal Party are doing to strengthen support for LGBTIQ people. Sorina Grasso and Dinesh Mathew follow up.

Caulfield Candidate Forum candidates

At the Caulfield Candidates Debate David Southwick responds to a question from Michael Barnett about what the Liberal Party are doing to strengthen support for LGBTIQ people. Listen here.  Sorina Grasso and Dinesh Mathew follow-up.  Listen to the question and answers here.

QUESTION FOR DAVID SOUTHWICK
CAULFIELD CANDIDATES FORUM
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 14 2018

David, last Wednesday Jewish Care Victoria and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria issued a combined statement1 entitled “STANDING AGAINST CONVERSION THERAPY”. This relates to the discredited and unscientific practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation.

The Liberal party has made an election promise to dismantle Safe Schools, an evidence-based program that reduces discrimination and stigma against LGBTIQ people.

Matthew Guy declared at the Australian Christian Lobby conference that a government he leads will abolish safe schools.2

Earlier in the year Graham Watt, Liberal MP for Burwood was at an Anti-Safe Schools Rally convened by far-right religious groups and declared that the Liberal Party would abandon Safe Schools. At this rally others spoke of transgender and gay people and our families as if we were evil and out to destroy society.

Bialik College, Sholem Aleichem and King David College have embraced the principles of the Safe Schools program because they know the program helps build a stronger and more inclusive Jewish community.

What are you and the Liberal Party doing to align with the values of the Jewish community’s leading organisations in terms of strengthening support for LGBTIQ people, not weakening it?

[1] https://www.facebook.com/jewishcarevictoria/photos/a.419042488166622/2329167573820761/?type=3
[2] https://twitter.com/MartynLloydIles/status/1055980527709089792

 

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

AGMC Conference 2018: Melbourne’s Jewish Community: Going from “gays not welcome” to “we support marriage equality” in under 20 years

An exploration of the transformation of attitudes toward LGBTIQ people within Melbourne’s Jewish community from the 1990s to current day.

2018 AGMC Natioal Conference - Register Now.png(Click above or here to register)

Melbourne’s Jewish Community: Going from “gays not welcome” to “we support marriage equality” in under 20 years
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Sat Sep 22, 2018
Training Room
Community groups in action

Description
An exploration of the transformation of attitudes toward LGBTIQ people within Melbourne’s Jewish community from the 1990s to current day. This session includes the screening of a 10 minute documentary “Aleph Melbourne – Celebrating 20 Years – 1995-2015”. It also includes an exploration of how the 2009 shooting at the Tel Aviv LGBT Youth Centre was the catalyst for a series of events that shattered the decade-long silence since the Victorian Jewish community leadership rejected the membership application of a gay men’s group to them endorsing marriage equality 8 years later.

Learning objectives/outcomes:A greater understanding and appreciation of the issues, sensitivities and nuances around LGBTIQ inclusion in Melbourne’s Jewish community.

30 minute Oral Presentation and Video

Speaker
Michael Barnett
Convenor, Aleph Melbourne

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JCCV marks decade of “strong advocacy”


SUMMARY OF JCCV’S LGBTI INCLUSION ACTIVITIES

2009 – formation of the LGBT (at the time) Reference Group.

2011 – release of report into discrimination and vilification of LGBT Jews in Victoria.

2014 – JCCV supports and encourages affiliates to support No to Homophobia.

2014 – JCCV wins Hey Grant from the Victorian Government.

2015 – JCCV 1st ever LGBTI Symposium held with approximately 80 attendees with panels from the LGBTI Jewish spectrum. Attendees were cross-denominational.

2015 – Keshet Australia admitted to JCCV as an affiliate – the first Jewish LGBTI organisation affiliate.

2016 – Launched JCCV LGBTI service directory https://bit.ly/2mviycZ

2016 – Youth video winner announced form previous year’s completion.

2017 – Mental Health Forum in light of RCV’s statement to the government’s plebiscite

2017 – JCCV supports civil marriage equality with motion moved by National Council of Jewish Women and seconded by AUJS.


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“A decade of strong advocacy for LGBTI equality and inclusion! I am very proud to have volunteered for the JCCV for a decade and served on the board for almost 4 years. We have achieved great things together! #lgbti #lgbtiinclusion #mentalhealthmatters #socialinclusion #lgbtijews Big shout out to John Searle, Anton Block, Nina Bassat, Jennifer Huppert, Original Reference Group members Julie Leder, Nathan Rose, Andrew Rajcher, Sally Goldner, Immediate part Executive Director David Marlow and the community for welcoming change.” — Doron Abramovici


Historic meeting between GLBT Jews and Jewish Community Council of Victoria – Dec 7 2009

MEDIA RELEASE
GAY & LESBIAN JEWS ENGAGE IN DIALOGUE WITH THE JEWISH COMMUNITY COUNCIL OF VICTORIA
December 7 2009

In an historic meeting on Thursday December 4 2009 at the Beth Weizmann Community Centre between the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) members of the Jewish community, discussions were had forging the way for increased inclusion, acceptance and visibility of GLBT Jews in the Jewish Community in Victoria.

In a letter to Aleph Melbourne, a social and support group for GLBT Jews, JCCV Executive Director Geoffrey Zygier wrote “The JCCV wants to get a better understanding of Gay Jews’ concerns” and added that “John [Searle] has made clear, under his presidency the JCCV has reaffirmed its opposition to vilification and affirmed its wish to [be] as inclusive as possible”. Zygier went on to add that “However the details of what form this might take have to be worked out; we’re still at the information-gathering stage.”

Aleph Melbourne co-ordinator Michael Barnett welcomed this opportunity for dialogue with the JCCV, particularly in light of recent incidents involving homophobic intolerance and hatred directed at GLBT Jews in Melbourne and in Israel.

Attending the meeting were gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews from a diverse range of religious and cultural backgrounds. A variety of issues were raised and discussed in a healthy and at times robust manner with the JCCV representatives. A seven-point list of suggestions (see attachment) of how the JCCV could increase the inclusion, acceptance and visibility of GLBT people in the Jewish community was presented at the meeting. In a positive step, JCCV President John Searle advised he would discuss the issues raised at the next Executive meeting of the JCCV in 2010 and report back as to how the organisation plans to approach the issue.

Whilst raising the issue of membership of the JCCV as a way for GLBT Jewish organisations to gain greater inclusion and visibility within the Jewish community, Barnett stated that this was not currently on the agenda and had not been since the JCCV rejected Aleph Melbourne’s initial membership application in 1999 due to the uncertain process by which the JCCV determines suitability of applicants.

Aleph Melbourne looks forward to further dialogue between the JCCV and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members of the Jewish community in 2010 and waits for homophobic intolerance in the community and barriers to equality, inclusion, acceptance and visibility to be identified and eliminated.


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

20091203 Suggestions to JCCV for increased GLBT inclusion

 

20091117 Daniel Baker response_to_JCCV_invitation for discussion re GLBT inclusion

David Southwick 2015 statement on Keshet gaining JCCV membership

18 AUG 2015

MEMBER’S STATEMENT: JEWISH COMMUNITY COUNCIL OF VICTORIA

Mr SOUTHWICK — I would like also to congratulate the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) for voting in its plenum on 3 August in support of the affiliation of Keshet Australia, JCCV’s first GLBTI affiliate. I wish to offer my sincere congratulations to JCCV members, including their president Jonathan Barnett, on this historic moment. This is the first time a GLBTI organisation has joined a Jewish community roof body in Australia and one of the few that has done so around the world. It is fitting that it happened on the JCCV’s — —

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Angus) — Order! The member’s time has expired.

[ View on Hansard ]