Voice, Treaty, Truth – Jewish organisations reaffirm support for First Nations Australians

Voice, Treaty, Truth – Jewish organisations reaffirm support for First Nations Australians from the heart

We recognise the deep moral and political significance of the Uluru Statement from the Heart in our own hearts.

Jews have also experienced the deep silence that follows atrocity and genocide, the experience of being abandoned by humanity, the struggle for recognition of confronting truths, and the tormenting powerlessness of not being heard.

In this year of 2020, which marks the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the British in Australia and dispossession of its original inhabitants, it is very important to recognise how much work and structural change is still needed to heal the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The health crisis this year in Australia is but one of many issues that highlight the continuing vulnerability and powerlessness of First Nations in their own country.

We reaffirm our full-hearted support for:

  • amendment of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act to enshrine a First Nations Voice in the Constitution;
  • establishment by legislation or letters patent of a Makarrata Commission to oversee a process of truth-telling about our history as a path to reconciliation between First Nations and other Australians and to oversee the making of agreements between First Nations and Federal and State governments.

Despite what has happened over the past 250 years, the First Nations of Australia have shown great dignity, patience, tenacity and generosity of spirit, inviting all Australians to walk with them to create a fuller expression of our shared nationhood.

We accept the invitation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart with gratitude and pledge to work with First Nations, all Federal and State politicians, local and city authorities, religious, ethnic and civil society organisations, business leaders and our fellow citizens in moving together towards a better future.

All Australian Jewish organisations are invited to declare their support for this statement during 2020 and the following have done so as at 27 May 2020, the 53rd anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and three years after the release of the Uluru Statement from the Heart:

ALEPH Melbourne, Ameinu Australia, Betar Australia, Emanuel Synagogue, Habonim Dror Australia, Hashomer Hatzair Australia, Inner West Chavura, Jewish Voices for Peace & Justice (NSW), Jewish Labour Bund, Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria, Kehilat Nitzan (Melbourne), Meretz Australia, NIF Australia, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, SKIF, StandUp

View statement PDF here.

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Voice, Treaty, Truth – Jews support First Nations Australia

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Australian LGBTIQ+ and Jewish communities respond to COVID-19

A collection of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic from the Australian LGBTIQ+ and Jewish communities.

Responses to COVID-19 from the Australian LGBTIQ+ and Jewish communities

Thorne Harbour Health (Victoria)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) update and advice for people living with HIV [Feb 28 2020]
2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) [Mar 12 2020]
Update on COVID-19 for PLHIV [Mar 16 2020]
Sex, Intimacy and Coronavirus [Mar 17 2020]
COVID-19
COVID-19: Services Update

ACON (New South Wales)
COVID-19 and Our Communities
ACON Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement [Mar 15 2020]
Trans and Gender Diverse People and COVID-19 [Mar 18 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Casual Sex and Social Distancing [Mar 20 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Changes to ACON services, programs and events [Mar 23 2020]
Sex in the Era of COVID-19 [Mar 24 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Changes to ACON Regional Services [Mar 26 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Changes to ACON Head Office Opening Hours [Apr 3 2020]
Dealing with stress and anxiety during COVID-19 [Apr 3 2020]
ACON Publishes Online COVID-19 Clearinghouse for LGBTQ Communities in NSW [Apr 8 2020]
WATCH: LGBTQ Online Forum – COVID-19 & Our Communities [Apr 8 2020]
Support For Harmful Drug and Alcohol Use Available During Coronavirus (COVID-19) [Apr 9 2020]
ACON and Positive Life NSW statement on media report on spitting, Coronavirus and people living with HIV [Apr 22 2020]
ACON COVID-19 Update: Visiting other people at home, physical distancing & casual sex [Apr 28 2020]
Forum To Explore Impact of COVID-19 on Trans and Gender Diverse Communities [May 5 2020]
Virtual Forum to Explore Impacts of COVID-19 on LGBTQ People in Regional NSW [May 7 2020]

Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations / National LGBTI Health Alliance
LGBTI people, health and COVID-19 [Mar 17 2020]
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Hub

Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives
Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation [Mar 20 2020]

Community Security Group (Victoria)
Information on COVID-19 for communal leaders

Equality Australia
COVID-19 and Australian LGBTIQ+ Communities [Apr 16 2020]

Executive Council of Australian Jewry
ECAJ Statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic [Mar 12 2020]
Community response to Coronavirus [Mar 17 2020]
Australian Jewish community management of COVID-19 pandemic – National Bulletin #1 [Mar 20 2020]
COVID-19: ABC’s Dr Norman Swan with a special message for the Australian Jewish community [Mar 23 2020]
What coronavirus means for our school-kids, seders, and saftas [Mar 24 2020]
Australian Jewish community management of COVID-19 pandemic – National Bulletin #2 [Mar 27 2020]
Coping with isolation, fear and anxiety in a time of Coronavirus [Mar 29 2020]
NSW Jewish community opens Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to support community during coronavirus pandemic [Mar 31 2020]
Australian Jewish community management of COVID-19 pandemic – National Bulletin #3 [Apr 3 2020]

Hares & Hyenas Bookshop (Victoria)
UPDATE FOR CUSTOMERS & SUPPORTERS [Mar 19 2020]

Intersex Human Rights Australia
Intersex people and COVID-19 [Apr 12 2020]

Jewish Care (NSW)
JCA Announces COVID‐19 Jewish Emergency Relief Fund [Apr 2 2020]

Jewish Care Victoria
COVID-19 Helpline

Jewish Community Council of Victoria
Information for Victorian Jewish Communal Leaders on Coronavirus (COVID-19) [Mar 17 2020]
Information for Victorian Jewish Communal Leaders on Coronavirus (COVID-19) – UPDATE 2 [Mar 18 2020]

Leo Baeck Centre (Victoria)
LBC Weekly Update 11 March 2020

Living Positive Victoria
Coronavirus update and advice for HIV positive Australians [Feb 28 2020]
COVID-19 Update for People Living with HIV [Mar 17 2020]
COVID-19 is changing the way we interact with you [Mar 25 2020]
Looking after your mental health during COVID-19 [Apr 15 2020]
Casual sex in the time of COVID-19 [Apr 21 2020]

Minus18 (Victoria)
COVID-19 UPDATE FROM MINUS18 [Mar 20 2020]

New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies
NSW Jewish Community Response to COVID-19 [Mar 18 2020]
COVID-19 pandemic: Message from Board of Deputies President Lesli Berger [Mar 26 2020]

Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand
Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand Statement on Coronavirus COVID-19 [c Mar 12 2020]

Temple Beth Israel (Victoria)
COVID-19 update [Mar 18 2020]

Union for Progressive Judaism
Union for Progressive Judaism Statement on Coronavirus [c Mar 12 2020]


This page will be updated as further information comes to hand.
We invite readers to contact us with relevant community information.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Resolution on Brunei

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Resolution on Brunei passed at Plenum April 16 2019

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Resolution on Brunei passed at Plenum on April 16 2019.

RESOLUTION

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies:

  1. Reaffirms its policy and that of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ):
  • calling for respect for the sanctity of the lives and dignity of all people; and
  • opposing any public or private conduct that incites hatred, ridicule or contempt of another person or class of persons on the ground of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  1. Joins with the ECAJ and:
  • deplores the recent criminalisation of same-sex relationships between consenting adults under Brunei’s Syariah Penal Code, with punishments ranging from whipping and imprisonment through to death by stoning;
  • condemns the government of Brunei for introducing a law that mandates the brutal repression, persecution and death of LGBTIQ people;
  • commends Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong, among others, for publicly expressing to the government of Brunei their strong opposition to the new law; and
  • calls on the Australian government to make known its opposition to the legally-sanctioned persecution and vilification of LGBTIQ people to the governments of all countries in which such persecution and vilification occurs.

Dave Sharma, Neo-Nazism and the Jewish Community

Wentworth Liberal Party candidate Dave Sharma must condemn the white-supremacist “It’s OK to Be White” motion backed by over a dozen MPs in his party.

Dave SharmaDave Sharma is the Liberal Party candidate in the 2018 Wentworth By-election.

He proudly announced a $2.2million grant from the federal government for security infrastructure for the NSW Jewish community, welcomed by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (NSW JBD):

“The federal government’s grant will help ensure that the security risks faced by the Jewish community are reduced,” he said.

This “urgent” funding was “warmly welcomed” by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ):

“Ensuring the safety and security of all citizens is the first duty of any government”, Wertheim said. “Dave Sharma is to be congratulated for pursuing this matter so energetically with the Federal government. We thank him and the Federal government for recognising the importance and urgency of this issue for our community.”

Attacks on the Jews and LGBTIQ people by white-supremacist and neo-Nazi groups are nothing new, as we are reminded by the ECAJ:

The “racialists” are a more extreme version of the nationalists. They seek the violent overthrow of democracy and the imposition of an explicitly Nazi dictatorship by “Aryan” whites. The newest such group, Antipodean Resistance, whose Hitler-saluting members hide behind the anonymity of “death’s-head” masks in all their videos and photos, actively promotes and incites hatred and violence. Its anti-Jewish and anti-homosexual posters include graphic images depicting the shooting of Jews and homosexuals in the head. One poster called to “Legalise the execution of Jews”. Other posters urged homosexuals to commit suicide; one of these was widely distributed during the same sex marriage debate.

On October 15 2018 the Australian Senate voted 31-28 to narrowly defeat Senator Pauline Hanson’s “It’s OK to Be White” motion:

27 senators voted with Hanson, including ten government ministers.

Communications minister Mitch Fifield, trade minister Simon Birmingham, indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion, small business minister Michaelia Cash, deputy leader of the Nationals and minister for sport Bridget McKenzie, resources minister Matt Canavan, assistant minister for Home Affairs Linda Reynolds, assistant minister for treasury Zed Seselja, assistant minister for agriculture Richard Colbeck and the assistant minister for international development Anne Ruston all voted in favour.

Before the vote Ruston told the chamber: “The government condemns all forms of racism”.

Liberal senators Eric Abetz, Slade Brockman, David Bushby, Jonathon Duniam, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Lucy Gichuhi, Jane Hume, James McGrath, Jim Molan, Dean Smith, Amanda Stoker and National senators Barry O’Sullivan and John Williams also voted for the motion.

As did One Nation’s Peter Georgiou, Katter Australia Party’s Fraser Anning, Australian Conservatives’ Cory Bernardi and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm.

The “It’s OK to Be White” slogan has its origins in the neo-Nazi movement.  The US-based Jewish Anti-Defamation League documents this.

Dave Sharma clearly has the tick of approval from the Jewish community’s leadership.  Now he is aligned with a party from which at least a dozen MPs openly support a motion with its origins unambiguously founded in neo-Nazism.

It is not without irony that the $2.2million urgent security funding promised to the Jewish community, announced by a Liberal Party candidate, and welcomed by the NSW JBD and ECAJ, is likely going to be used to protect the Jewish community from white-supremacist neo-Nazi hate and bigotry fuelled by the very party the candidate belongs to.

Dave Sharma, the NSW JBD and the ECAJ need to urgently condemn the “It’s ok Be White” motion, the absence of which will amount to tacit support.

Australian Jewish community stands on the right side of history

Thanks go to the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry for standing on the right side of history in declaring support for marriage equality.

JCCV Media Statement – Same Sex Civil Marriage

MEDIA RELEASE: Jewish Community Council of Victoria declares support for same-sex civil marriage.

JCCV Plenum Marriage Equality vote - Oct 2 2017

Same Sex Civil Marriage
03 October 2017

The members of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) voted overwhelmingly in support of same sex civil marriage at their Plenum last night.  The National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Victoria) moved the motion below, which was seconded by AUJS (the Australasian Union of Jewish Students).  The motion was strongly supported with 41 votes in favour and 4 abstentions.

The motion was consistent with the recent resolution of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

JCCV President Jennifer Huppert stated, “The debate at the Plenum was respectful and positive, with a clear message sent in support of equality and inclusion, and against discrimination.  Speakers recognised that this was a civil matter and a human rights issue, and not a religious issue.  They were careful to reiterate JCCV’s commitment to religious freedom and remained respectful of those with an alternate view.”

The resolution:

“This meeting of the Plenum of the JCCV:

NOTES that the question before Australia at the upcoming postal survey is one relating to civil, not religious, marriage

SUPPORTS same sex marriage under civil law as part of its commitment to equal rights and respect for all people and the elimination of discrimination in all its forms.

URGES all participants in the public debate regarding same sex marriage to engage with respect and tolerance, and without personal rancour.

And resolves

1.              To call on the Federal Government to support the elimination of discrimination against same sex couples under Australia’s civil law by extending legal recognition to marriages between same sex couples who choose to marry;

2.              To support equal treatment under Australian law to same sex couples who choose to marry; and

3.              To call on its members and the wider community to take part in the postal survey and help ensure that the basic right to marriage is afforded to all Australians regardless of their gender or sexuality in order to create a modern, fair and just society.”


Listen to a 1:25 vignette of the 45 minute meeting:

Aleph Melbourne congratulates the JCCV for supporting marriage equality

Aleph Melbourne congratulates the Jewish Community Council of Victoria for passing a resolution at its Monday evening plenum meeting in support of marriage equality.

That the motion was voted on without opposition, by a significantly larger than normal number of delegates, speaks volumes to the importance equality means to the Jewish community.

Particular mention goes to the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia for proposing the marriage equality motion and speaking to it with such dignity and respect.

By supporting marriage equality the JCCV sends a message to all Victorian Jews, and the wider community, that no matter a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status, their relationships are valued equally and should be afforded equal dignity.

The successful JCCV marriage equality motion follows closely a similar successful motion from the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

Aleph Melbourne calls on the Executive Council of Australian Jewry to declare support for marriage equality at a national level, in line with its stated values of social inclusion.

[See JCCV Media Release]

 

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies: Marriage Equality Motion – Sep 19 2017

Page 10

AGENDA ITEM 3

Marriage Equality Motion

This meeting of the Plenum of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies

STRONGLY ASSERTS that Rabbis must continue to be able to conduct marriage ceremonies in accordance with Jewish Law as they see fit

REJECTS any attempt to impose a belief or value system on the Rabbinate or observant Jews or prescribe to them requirements that are in conflict with Jewish Law

OBJECTS to any attempt to silence or stifle legitimate and fair minded debate on the issue of marriage equality regardless of the position taken.

REAFFIRMS its commitment to freedom of religious practice and religious education in Australia.

ACKNOWLEDGES that that as a matter of Orthodox Jewish law (halacha), same sex marriage is not permitted

NOTES THAT:

  • The question before Australia at the upcoming postal plebiscite is one relating to civil, not religious, marriage.
  • Australian law and society has long allowed for same sex relationships between consenting adults.
  • Many Jewish people are already in marriages that are recognised as such under Australian law yet are not recognised in Jewish Law.
  • Current laws prohibit persons, other than religious organisations, from discriminating on the basis of homosexuality or gender.
  • The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies represents the whole Jewish Community in NSW, including those who are LGBTI and their families, friends and loved ones.
  • Many couples in our community who are in committed, loving relationships are unable to have their relationship recognised by the state as a marriage in the same way that committed, loving relationships between heterosexual couples may legally be recognised.
  • The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies is committed to fighting all forms of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, homosexuality, gender and disability and to supporting all members of our community as they strive for equality under the law.

AND RESOLVES

  1. To call on the Federal Government to ensure protections for practice of religious freedom and religious education;
  2. To support the elimination of discrimination against same sex couples under Australia’s civil law by extending legal recognition to marriages between same sex couples who choose to marry; and
  3. To support equal treatment under Australian law to same sex couples who choose to marry.

[Original document here and here]

BoD-resolution-19.9.2017

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies support same-sex marriage | Jewish News

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies support same-sex marriage

September 19, 2017

Joshua Levi

THE NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) has overwhelmingly passed a motion calling for “equal treatment under Australian law to same-sex couples who choose to marry” at its monthly plenum tonight (Tuesday).

The motion, which only one person voted against in a room filled with more than 100 people, stated that the roof body of NSW Jewry “strongly asserts that rabbis must continue to be able to conduct marriage ceremonies in accordance with Jewish law as they see fit”, “rejects any attempts to impose a belief or value system on the rabbinate”, “reaffirms its commitment to freedom of religious practice and religious education in Australia”, “acknowledges that as a matter of Orthodox Jewish law, same-sex marriage is not permitted” but then noted that “the question before Australia at the upcoming postal plebiscite is one relating to civil, not religious, marriage”.

The motion also noted that the JBOD is “committed to fighting all forms of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, homosexuality, gender and disability” and that it will support “all members of our community as they strive for equality under the law”.

And finally, it resolved, “To call on the Federal Government to ensure protections for practice of religious freedom and religious education; to support the elimination of discrimination against same-sex couples under Australia’s civil law by extending legal recognition to marriages between same-sex couples who choose to marry; and to support equal treatment under Australian law to same-sex couples who choose to marry.”

Former JBOD president Justice Stephen Rothman said that he was proud to speak to the motion at the plenum tonight.

“Some members of our community consider same-sex relationships and morally repugnant, and that is dealt with in the motion,” Rothman said.

“We don’t have to approve same-sex relations, in order to approve same-sex marriage.

“In my view, in the case of members of the same-sex community they should be free to enjoy their commitment to each other in the same way that other can.”

Rothman also noted that although same-sex marriage is not legal in Israel, the Jewish homeland does recognise same-sex marriages that take place in America or other countries were same-sex marriage is legal.

“If it’s good enough for the Jewish state, it’s good enough for Australia.”

Jack Pinczewski, who stepped down from the JBOD executive last month, spoke in support of the motion.

“We owe it to our friends and families to take a stance on this matter,” he said.

“It’s a matter of fairness, and a matter of separation between church and state.”

The motion was drafted by JBOD president Jeremy Spinak, however his wife is in hospital expecting twins so he was not in attendance.

In a written message, Spinak said the JBOD was obliged to act in what it considered the best interests of the community, which was to support marriage equality.

“This is about vital members of our community being recognised,” Spinak wrote.

“They have every night to be recognised as married.

“It’s about standing for gay families, so that even if they would not be accepted halachically, they would be accepted in the community in which they live.”

However, he reiterated that he respected rabbis and members of the community who took a different view and had a right to be heard, without being labelled as homophobic or derided for their opinions.

Only one person spoke against the motion at the meeting. He claimed that people who are gay are “not equal”.

JCCV, ECAJ & NSW JBD respond to homophobic comment on J-Wire Mardi Gras story

J-Wire posted a story “Mardi Gras rocks” about Sydney’s GLBTIQ group Dayenu‘s participation in the Mardi Gras Parade.  The following comment by Gil Solomon was approved by the J-Wire editor:

I don’t see a “Sydney Catholic GLBT Group” float (or any other denomination for that matter) so why do Jews have to overtly see the need to show to the world that they are both gay and Jewish?

The Jewish world has enough problems to contend with and I, being politically incorrect, categorically state I couldn’t care less what you people do behind closed doors but why do you see the need to hit us in the face that you’re a bunch of Jews. Go join some other float, as it nauseates me to think that you lot seem to think the Jewish community as a whole supports your blatant display of your sexual orientation.

I repeat, I couldn’t care less what you people do, but I am offended by the fact that you give your sexual preference a Jewish dimension.

Aleph Melbourne called for the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and prominent anti-homophobia advocate, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, to respond to this homophobic message:

Jo Silver from the JCCV posted this comment in response:

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) is proud to host a GLBTI Reference Group and support the No to Homophobia Campaign.

It’s wonderful to see that people feel ‘safe’ enough to openly participate in the Mardi Gras and express their unique Jewish identity as well. Well done!

The Reference Group is focused on raising awareness in our community that hurtful comments and nasty jibes can cause depression, anxiety and other well being issues for our GLBTI members. We are all people with feelings and emotions and we all have the right to open our door every day and face the world without feeling harassed.

A futher tweet from Aleph Melbourne reiterated the request for the ECAJ and NSW JBD to speak out:

ECAJ advised on Twitter that their response had been posted as a comment on J-Wire by their Public Affairs Director Alex Ryvchin:

The comment appeared on J-Wire accordingly:

Dear Gil

If members of the Jewish community wish to participate in the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, that is their right. If they wish to do so while openly identifying as Jews, that too is their right. Your comment that “[their] blatant displays of sexual orientation” should “remain behind closed doors” is an attack on their human dignity. It was not so long ago that Jews were being told that their ‘blatant displays’ of religious and national identity should ‘remain behind closed doors’. As neither you nor those you criticise act in any representative capacity, you and they are free to express yourselves as you wish. Australia as a nation has committed itself to mutual respect for the human dignity of all members of the community, despite any strongly held differences; recognition that disagreement is possible in ways that do not vilify other persons or their views; and avoidance of any public or private conduct that incites hatred, ridicule or contempt of another person or class of persons on the ground of their sexual orientation or gender identity. These are values that benefit all of us.”

– Alex Ryvchin

Finally, another call for the NSW JBD to respond:

Their reply, leaving ample room for improvement, came only by Twitter:

It’s good to see these three organisations speaking out, to varying degrees, against homophobia and intolerance of homosexuality.  They must continue to set a strong and positive example, to the entire Jewish community and to other faith communities, that all discrimination and intolerance is unacceptable.

Finally, take a few minutes to read the comment stream on the J-Wire story.  The author of the contentious post unconvincingly attempted to clarify/justify his initial message in follow-up comments.  Make of it what you will.