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.
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
Aleph Melbourne welcomes the apology and thanks the JCCV Executive and those members of their council who turned up to vote in favour of the motion.
Whilst the JCCV Executive has always been supportive of Aleph Melbourne, the words of the apology and their actions have demonstrated they are committed to supporting the full and unconditional inclusion and acceptance of all same-sex attracted, trans and gender diverse, and intersex people in the Jewish community.
It was significant that this apology was issued alongside a discussion on anti-Semitism and racism. The JCCV have further demonstrated their integrity by acknowledging that hate from within the Jewish community is as unacceptable as hate directed toward it.
Aleph Melbourne acknowledges the involvement of the Australian Jewish Democratic Society in the formulation and passage of this apology and is grateful for their long-standing and ongoing support.
Aleph Melbourne believes this is the first apology ever from any Jewish community in relation to the mistreatment of LGBTIQ people.
The JCCV apology is attached below.
A photograph of the formal presentation of a framed copy of the apology is available below and online here: http://bit.ly/jccv-aleph-apology-photo; L to R: (JCCV reps) Anton Hermann, Doron Abramovici, Jennifer Huppert; (Aleph Melbourne reps) Michael Barnett, Shaun Miller, Colin Krycer. Photo by Gregory Storer.
Michael Barnett & Shaun Miller
For further information contact Michael Barnett on 0417-595-541 or email@example.com
Motion to JCCV Plenum – April 2019
To acknowledge the 20-year anniversary of Aleph Melbourne being denied membership of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria
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 a valid application for membership of the JCCV in January 1999
The Executive of the JCCV supported admission of Aleph Melbourne as a member
On 10 May 1999 the JCCV Plenum debated the motion and voted (39 votes in favour and 46 votes against) to deny the application for membership
In the course of the debate, homophobic views were expressed by some delegates which caused long-term harm to members of our LGBTIQ+ community
Accordingly, this Plenum now apologises unconditionally to all members of our community who were impacted by the rejection of the membership application and for the unacceptable homophobic views expressed during the debate.
We apologise for the deep offence and humiliation caused by the hateful words spoken in the course of the debate.
We apologise for the subsequent distress, further marginalisation and stigmatisation caused by the rejection of Aleph Melbourne’s membership application.
We now recommit ourselves to welcoming and embracing LGBTIQ+ Jews in all our work, as part of our broader commitment to social inclusion for all members of the Jewish community of Victoria.
Through our genuine commitment to equality and diversity we seek to ensure that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated.
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”.
David Southwick peddled misinformation about Safe School in his election campaign and owes the community an apology.
David Southwick was reported in the Australian Jewish News (Nov 23 2018), commenting on the Safe Schools program:
Southwick and Grasso clashed over the Liberals’ plans to scrap the Safe Schools program in which he said “really young children [are] being exposed to sexual education” and replace it with anti-bullying legislation, which she said would not teach respect for those with diverse sexual orientations.
One Nation Queensland leader Steve Dickson’s claim that the Safe Schools program “contains highly explicit material directed at young children in their formative years” is incorrect.
There is no discussion of the details of specific sex acts, sex aids or sexual health in Safe Schools resources.
Safe Schools is an optional resource for schools and teachers. Its aim is to help school staff create safer and more inclusive environments for LGBTI students and families.
It is apparent that the understanding David Southwick has of the Safe Schools program, held uniformly across the Liberal Party, differs markedly from the reality of the program.
Is it deeply concerning that David Southwick campaigned on misinformation and fear-mongering, rather than truth and honesty.
David Southwick owes the voters and residents of Caulfield, the Jewish and wider community who put their trust in him, LGBTIQ people and their families, and all Victorians a sincere apology for flagrantly peddling damaging misinformation.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.