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.
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.
J-AIR SORRY FOR PODCAST | AJN
April 10 2020
Note: contrary to what is stated in this article, Aleph Melbourne co-convenor Michael Barnett did not contact J-AIR. The station approached Michael Barnett after independent concerns about the broadcast were brought to their attention.
- Jewish broadcaster J-AIR airs interview stating “the pandemic is an exact designer drug … that will remove … problems … in the form of homosexuality and gays”
- J-AIR issues apology for broadcasting interview claiming the coronavirus pandemic was designed to eradicate homosexuality and gays
- J-AIR Talking to the Max interview with Michael Barnett – April 8 2020
Listen from 24:16 to 45:09.
On April 3 2020 J-AIR issued an apology for broadcasting content that vilified gay men.
Note: contrary to what is stated in the introduction to the interview, Michael Barnett did not raise a complaint with J-AIR regarding the offensive material. Station management chose to initiate their complaint handling process after concerns appearing on the Aleph Melbourne web site were independently brought to their attention.
FEBRUARY 3 2020
“Jews of Pride” huge success at 25th Pride March
Returning for the third year in a row, the award-winning Jews of Pride contingent brought song, dance and festivity to the streets of St Kilda, as part of the 25th annual Pride March, on Sunday February 2 2020.
Fielding it’s largest contingent ever, over 140 people came together representing ten organisations from the Jewish community proudly made their way along Fitzroy Street, to the tunes of traditional and Israeli music pumping from a brightly decorated sound truck, in support of LGBTIQ+ people and families.
Lead organisers Colin Krycer and Michael Barnett, having spent months planning the contingent, were overjoyed that a greater breadth of organisations from the Jewish community joined participated. First time attendees included the National Council of Jewish Women VIC headed up by President Miriam Bass, Zionist Federation of Australia headed up by CEO Ginette Searle, and Australian Jewish Democratic Society headed up by David Zyngier.
Contingent stalwarts included SKIF, Habonim Dror, Temple Beth Israel, Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria, Aleph Melbourne and Keshet Australia.
Jewish Care, returning for their second year, added two brightly decorated minibuses to the contingent, allowing an inclusive opportunity for those who could not walk along the parade route.
The weather was magnificent, breaking the trend of searingly hot days in recent years, and escaping flooding downpours the day prior, with blue skies and warmth adding to the joy of the event. Onlookers were thrilled with the Jews of Pride, many offering Mazal Tovs and L’chaims.
Although there has been a strong Jewish presence in Pride March for all of its 25 year history, this year’s Jews of Pride contingent saw more community leaders, community organisations, families and supporters standing up for the inclusion, celebration, acceptance, visibility and respect of same-sex attracted, trans and gender diverse, and intersex people, and rainbow families.
Jews of Pride will return in 2021, bigger, better and more beautifully Jewish.
Further comment available:
PHOTO GALLERY (31 high-res photos)
Credit to Michael Barnett
Note: photos will be available for a limited time
July 28, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
The Jewish LGBTIQ+ community in Australia has responded with “shock and revulsion” to news of a brutal attack against a 16-year-old youth at a LGBTIQ+ youth hostel in Tel Aviv on Friday.
According to reports, a teenager was seriously wounded just outside the hostel when he was stabbed in the chest and leg, apparently for religious reasons, by his own brother.
The incident comes within days of the 10th anniversary of the murder of a 26-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl and the injuring of at least fifteen others, most of them minors, at the “Bar-Noar” LGBTIQ+ youth centre in Tel Aviv on 1 August 2009. It is also five years since 16-year-old Shira Banki was stabbed to death at Jerusalem’s gay pride parade.
Commenting on the latest incident, Aleph Melbourne co-convenor Michael Barnett said, “The attack on a resident at an LGBTIQ+ youth emergency centre is a chilling reminder of how much harder we need to work to break down the intolerance and ignorance that exists in many communities”.
“The 2009 attack in Tel Aviv was the catalyst for a remarkable transformation in the Jewish community in Australia, and as a result our community has come to value the importance of including and embracing its LGBTIQ+ people” Barnett said. “We are a better, stronger and more cohesive community as a result, although we also know there is much more work to do. Beliefs and attitudes that incite hate and violence are never acceptable, and we must call them out in all their forms. Our thoughts are with the injured boy and wish him a full and speedy recovery.”
Co-CEO of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Peter Wertheim, described Friday’s stabbing as “extremely disturbing”.
“Israel has made great strides in recent years in encouraging respect for and acceptance of LGBTIQ+ people, and it is light years ahead of neighbouring countries”’ Wertheim said. “But there is still a long way to go. In Israel, as elsewhere, LGBTIQ+ people still face all too frequent acts of violence motivated by hatred in a social climate that is inflamed by bigoted statements from people in positions of authority. We hope the young man who was attacked makes a full and speedy recovery and that his ordeal serves to spur political and religious leaders to greater efforts to stamp out anti-LGBTIQ+ violence, and the hatred that gives rise to it.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Macca and Tass interview Michael Barnett from Aleph Melbourne regarding the May 2019 apology from the Jewish Community Council of Victoria
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)