In the aftermath of the August 1 2009 shooting at the Tel Aviv GLBT youth centre and the subsequent AJN Watch hate blog against gay Jews I wrote a letter (Aug 23 2009) to the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ). Two days later (Aug 25 2009) I followed that letter up with a copy of a letter I sent the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV). It was a very tense time, given these events, both locally in Melbourne and overseas in Israel. It remains disturbing that to the present day neither the JCCV nor the ECAJ have spoken out against this homophobic intolerance and hate.
In my second letter I made mention that the ECAJ Policy Platform page on the ECAJ web site featured Israel at #1 (whilst Australia didn’t feature until at least #13):
The peak body of the Australian Jewish community, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), does not have a single statement on homophobia. I actually question its priorities and wonder it is it simply a self-serving bag of hot air or if it really gives a damn. First on it’s list of priorities is Israel. I would have thought that an organisation that spoke on behalf of the Australian Jewish community would actually put Australia first and place some importance on the welfare of Australians. Go figure.
You can see the ECAJ policy platform (“Confirmed in 2008”) here as it stood on September 8 2009. As of November 2009, just two months after my letter to the ECAJ, you can see here that not only have they moved Australia to the top of their policy platform list, but there are in fact two entire sections devoted to Australia, appropriately placed above a third section devoted to Israel. Well, that’s quite something. I’m pleased to see that the ECAJ is listening and has started to get its priorities right.
Sadly though there’s still not a single mention of anything closely resembling a policy on dealing with homophobic hate targeting people in the Jewish community. Nor is there a policy on the merits of accepting homosexuality as normal, given the overwhelming evidence of destruction religious intolerance of homosexuality has on young people.
I still maintain that topic #27 (Young Adult Representation) and topic #28 (Jewish Burial Rights) would be best combined and simply called “Jewish Young Adult Burial”, at least while there’s no policy dealing with homophobic hate and intolerance.
Wake up ECAJ. Every day you remain silent and don’t fight the intolerance and hatred of homosexuality in your community, the more blood you will have on your hands. Suicide amongst same-sex attracted youth is a very real problem in the Jewish community. One only has to wonder just how much you love your children.