Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) said he understood why cartoonists are drawn to the Nazi analogy but described the comparison as repulsive.
The ADC describes itself as one of Australia’s leading civil and human rights organisations. The Australian Jewish community organisation aims to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of racism.
“I recognise how irresistible the Nazi analogy is for cartoonists looking to generate shock and headlines and grab attention. But no matter how strong Leak’s objections to marriage equality advocates, to compare them to the Waffen SS, part of Hitler’s demonic regime and responsible for the murder of millions, only adds to the cynical debasement, twisting and abusing of the Holocaust so prevalent today.” Dr Abramovich said.
“To draw such repulsive equations is deeply offensive, shows a gross lack of understanding of the historical truth, and only fans the flames of hatred and demonisation of the LGBTI community. It also insults the memory of the victims, which included gay people, as well as hurts the survivors and all those who fought valiantly against the Nazis in WWII.
“Such analogies are totally unacceptable, even in satirical cartoons, and only serve to coarsen public debate. They have no place in Australia’s civil discourse and must be repudiated.” Dr Abramovich concluded.
posted by Peter Tatchell … on Mon, 28/10/2013 – 12:42
Feminist, lesbian and survivor of Nazi fascism
London, UK – 28 October 2013
Sharley McLean – Feminist, lesbian and survivor of Nazi fascism – died on 26 October 2013, aged 90.
“Born in Germany in 1923, both Sharley’s parents and many of her extended family died in the Holocaust. Her father was a socialist and her mother was Jewish. She fled to Britain as a teenage refugee from Nazi Germany in 1939, in one of the last transports of children allowed to leave Germany before the Nazis closed the borders. Her gay uncle, Kurt Bach, a left-wing activist, was arrested by the Gestapo in a gay bar in Berlin in 1937, and died in Sachsenhausen concentration camp,” recalls Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
“Sharley was a wonderful woman and campaigner. I was honoured to know her and, in the 1980s, to help publicise her remarkable personal story. She participated in my early campaigns to document and publicise the experiences of LGBT Holocaust survivors – and later to commemorate them and the service personnel who died fighting Nazi fascism.
“Until the mid-1980s, it was forbidden to lay a pink triangle wreath at the Cenotaph in remembrance of the LGBT victims of fascism and of LGBT service personnel who fought to defeat Nazism. The wreaths we laid were swiftly removed. She helped me and others overturn the wreath ban.
“Prior to the late 1990s, the Royal British Legion refused to acknowledge that LGBT people has served and died in the armed forces. It would not allow a LGBT war veterans contingent to march in the official Remembrance Day parade. Sharley worked with us to challenge this exclusion.
“She joined and spoke at our V-E (Victory in Europe) Day commemorations at the Cenotaph in the 1980s and, a decade later, at the Queer Remembrance Day vigils at the Cenotaph, organised by the LGBT campaign group OutRage! The last one she spoke at was on 2 November 1997.
“Sharley was a long-time activist in the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, and was a volunteer with the Terrence Higgins Trust in the 1980s. She was a passionate supporter of the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association.
“She will be long remembered with admiration and appreciation,” said Mr Tatchell.
Is it with extreme disappointment and dismay that a representative of an Australian religious organisation has invoked the name of one of the most feared people of the Holocaust, in comparison with a minority group who are campaigning for equal rights under Australian law.
Tens of thousands of homosexual men were murdered under the hand of Joseph Goebbels, alongside many millions of Jews and people from a variety of national identities and religious beliefs. To be compared to this person, in the pursuit of equality and human rights is unconscionable. It beggars belief that an individual with a respected career in the Australian Defence Force is incapable of comprehending the gravity and insensitivity of the words he uttered on national television.
As a support group representing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from a Jewish background, the words of Jim Wallace and the Australian Christian Lobby hit our members and those in the community who share a similar identity with a double punch, and they continue to reverberate through the families and friends of these people and the communities they belong to.
There is no excuse for hate and intolerance of people on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. Equal rights in marriage will only benefit the wider community and help show the commitment and love people in all relationships, irrespective of gender, express for each other. All Australians will benefit from equal marriage rights.
It is time for the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, and the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, to stop listening to those who peddle hatred and intolerance, and start listening to those people who want equality and love. It is only then that Australia will become a much better country and the political leaders can know that they have made a worthwhile contribution to the welfare of all Australians, now and into the future.
Convenor, Aleph Melbourne.
June 7 2012.
22 Jul 2011
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition
Kevin Rudd’s sister slammed over slur
JEWISH leaders have criticised Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd’s sister for comparing the gay-marriage lobby to Nazi mass murderers.
In comments made to The Australian last week, Loree Rudd threatened to quit the Australian Labor Party if it backs gay marriage at its national conference in December. The devout Christian also accused some of the party’s members of being brainwashed by a “global gay Gestapo”.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has repeatedly expressed her opposition to same-sex marriage and has indicated her Government will make no changes to the Marriage Act. Nonetheless, many ALP members and supporters are urging her to reconsider her position.
While not weighing into the political debate, the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), Australia’s peak Jewish human rights body, called for Loree Rudd to apologise for the comparison between policy advocates and Nazis.
“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 president Anton Block told the media.
“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.”
Roy Freeman, founder of J4ME, a Jewish group advocating for same-sex marriage, called Rudd’s comments “offensive and obviously untrue”.
“This kind of language is unacceptable in 21st-century Australia,” he told The AJN. “Those who glibly throw around such comparisons diminish the crimes committed by the Nazis and attempt to demonise the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community.”
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive officer Vic Alhadeff told media, “Drawing a comparison between advocates of gay marriage and the Gestapo is insensitive and counterproductive.”