ECAJ vocal on terror attacks in Norway

July 25, 2011

[SOURCE]

In March this year I wrote about the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) and their ability to write letters of support as it suits them.  Yesterday the ECAJ, through its president Dr Danny Lamm, published another letter of support, this time in response to the horrific attacks in Norway.

On behalf of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the elected peak national body of the Australian Jewish community, I extend our deepest sympathies to the Norwegian government and people following the double terror attacks in Oslo on Friday and especially to the injured and to all Norwegians who have lost loved ones.

I encourage the ECAJ to write these heartfelt letters for each horrific tragedy that happens around the world.  It is necessary to see communities supporting each other in times of hardship.  However if the ECAJ is going to write letters when there are terrorist attacks in Norway, tsunamis in Japan or bombings in Jerusalem, then it must also respond to violent shootings in youth centers in Tel Aviv.

The hypocrisy will become increasingly apparent the next time this morally bankrupt organisation remains silent when again the victims are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews, in Israel or anywhere else.


Danny Lamm – Philanthropist

July 14, 2011

[SOURCE]

I read with mild amusement that the Jewish community’s Danny Lamm has bought himself a shiny new library.  Wonderful.

A library is a place of learning.  A home to a collection of accumulated experience, wisdom, joy, suffering, marvel, art, history, mistakes, optimism and other expressions of the human condition.

It is strikes me as unusual that someone who wanted to exclude a support organisation for gay men from the Jewish community should become a philanthropist and major financial benefactor of a library.  But despite that blot on his good name I think I’ll let Wikipedia(*) have the last say on the matter of philanthropist Danny Lamm:

Some believe that philanthropy can be a means to build community by growing community funds and giving vehicles. When communities see themselves as being resource rich instead of asset poor, the community is in a better position to solve community problems.

However, some believe the purpose of philanthropy is often tribute and self-aggrandizement, as arguably shown by the prevalence of self-titled foundations, rarity of large anonymous donations, and lack of support for unpalatable causes such as the treatment of diarrhea (which despite being easily treatable is the second leading cause of infant death worldwide.)

* as referenced on July 14 2011.


On the ECAJ, Itamar and a Zionist agenda

March 17, 2011

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry issues media releases and letters when significant events occur in Australia and around the world.  This week the ECAJ issued one statement on the Japanese tsunami and two on the Itamar shooting, one to the Israeli ambassador Yuval Rotem and the other to the Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.  So prolific is the ECAJ that going back to the beginning of 2009 one can find approximately 70 media releases on their website.

On August 1 2009 two Israelis were gunned down in a horrific attack in a youth centre in Tel Aviv.  Fifteen other people were seriously injured.  This was a serious event in Israel that was reported extensively in the Australian Jewish press and by numerous other media outlets globally.

The ECAJ ignored this shooting in Israel.  It turned a blind eye to the event and let it pass as if to say the deaths were insignificant and inconsequential.  It would appear that the ECAJ is not interested in the deaths of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Israelis.

Now when I see the ECAJ speak out against the brutal deaths of Israelis in this most recent, abominable situation, it sends me the message that they are shamelessly using these deaths to fulfil their Zionist agenda, and could actually care less about the victims or their family.

On behalf of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the peak national body of the Australian Jewish community, I write to thank you and the Australian government most sincerely for issuing a prompt, public condemnation of the shocking stabbing murders of an Israeli mother, father and three of their children late on Friday night, 11 March 2011, in Itamar, south-east of Nablus.

I commend you and the Australian government for your long standing friendship with Israel and for your firm and principled condemnation of these latest heinous murders of Israeli civilians.

I ask the ECAJ to explain why they were silent when Liz Troubishi and Nir Katz were murdered and fifteen of their peers injured in the most horrific of circumstances, at close range by a masked gunman.  Why did these deaths not see the ECAJ issue a statement of condolence to the families and a strong message of outrage and condemnation at the senseless waste of life of the two young Israeli Jews?

The ECAJ appears to be a cold, spineless and heartless organisation, driven by a blinkered Zionist agenda.  The ECAJ does not appear to be an organisation that the Australian Jewish community or wider Australian society can be proud of.


No joy in Jewish community heads gaining Lion membership

March 4, 2011

[SOURCE]

This week the Australian Jewish News (Mar 4 2011, p3) reported that heads of key organisations in Melbourne’s Jewish community faced difficulty gaining membership of embattled aspirant community broadcaster Lion FM (Melbourne Jewish Radio):

“MJR president John Kraus … submitted Lion FM membership applications for ECAJ president Dr Danny Lamm, JCCV president John Searle and Zionist Council of Victoria president Sam Tatarka. The executive, however, passed a resolution to defer membership deliberations – “a disgusting and disgraceful state of events”, according to Kraus, particularly given that Searle and Tatarka were present.

This comes two weeks after the JCCV issued a media release (covered in my blog here) stating:

Rabbi Rapoport contends that the GLBT community must accept that they cannot become official members of the JCCV as this would fracture the Jewish community.

In 1999 the JCCV refused membership to Aleph Melbourne[1], then a social and support group for gay and bisexual Jewish men.  Now in 2011 the JCCV unapologetically endorses the unsubstantiated view of Rabbi Rapoport that membership of the JCCV by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Jewish community would be harmful to said community.  In my opinion these two events overshadow the fraught membership application by the JCCV president of community radio station Lion FM.

There may be meritorious reasons for Lion putting on hold the membership applications of Searle, Lamm and Tatarka.  It is unhelpful that Searle endorses Rapoport’s claim the JCCV should not have GLBT membership.  This action further marginalises GLBT members of the Jewish community.  If any community organisation wants to be successful, it must work cooperatively with every member of the community it is a part of, not just those that fit its political agenda.

It’s worth noting that in 1999 that both the State Zionist Council and Danny Lamm actively spoke against membership of Aleph Melbourne to the JCCV.

By no stretch of the imagination do they [Aleph Melbourne] follow Jewish ideals and the motion [for membership] should not be put forward — Erwin Lamm, SZC delegate[2]

The organisation [Aleph Melbourne] … is not an organisation that ought to be represented at the JCCV. — Dr Danny Lamm, Mizrachi delegate[3]

If Searle, Lamm or Tatarka approached Aleph Melbourne for membership, they would be pleased to hear that membership would be approved without hesitation.  Aleph Melbourne doesn’t ask questions about how prospective members bat or the way they prefer to score goals.  The organisation welcomes all members of the Jewish community, with the only prerequisite being a Jewish identity or heritage.

Lastly, if any of the aforementioned wish to become members of a long-standing and reputable community radio station in Melbourne, they can approach JOY 94.9.  Their membership application process is especially transparent.  Apply here.

1 JCCV Plenum Meeting minutes – May 10 1999

2 “Gay group seeks to join the JCCV” [AJN, Apr 9 1999; p7]

3 “Could Aleph split the JCCV?” [AJN, Apr 30 1999; p7]


The JCCV gets a taste of it’s own medicine

August 25, 2010

[SOURCE]

The Age ignored the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and the JCCV had a foot stamping, huffy puffy hissy fit.

The JCCV, under its current leadership, has shown itself to be an arrogant organisation that demands everyone act on its own terms.  It is an organisation that has perfected the art of the Double Standard.

The JCCV formally broke off all communications with gay Jews last year.  It did this because important questions were asked of it that it was not prepared to answer, and it put up a pathetic smokescreen.  Read Searle’s letter to me here and some background on an earlier blog of mine.

So when The Age won’t rush to the JCCV’s beck and call why should anyone care?

The JCCV gets the respect it deserves.

Michael.

Community anger over The Age

Posted on 25 August 2010
Tags: , , , , ,

JCCV president John Searle. Photo: AJN fileJCCV president John Searle. Photo: AJN file

PETER KOHN

RELATIONS between The Age newspaper and the Jewish community leadership have further soured, amid claims of persistent bias in the newspaper’s reporting on Israel.

To make matters worse, Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) president John Searle said the newspaper’s editor Paul Ramadge appeared unwilling to conduct the most basic communication with the Jewish communal leadership.

A joint statement from Searle and Zionist Council of Victoria (ZCV) president Dr Danny Lamm on August 20, revealed that Searle had not heard back from Ramadge after a telephone message he left with his office on June 4 about the newspaper’s coverage of the Gaza flotilla crisis.

The JCCV and ZCV confirmed on Monday that the phone call, a June 8 letter from the ZCV’s public relations chair Sam Tatarka, and a June 10 letter from Searle had all been ignored by The Age.

Searle had written to Ramadge about his failure to respond to the phone message, advising the editor: “Your attitude bespeaks scant respect for the Jewish community.”

But following an AJN request to The Age this week for a comment, Ramadge responded to the JCCV and ZCV on Tuesday, apologising for the delay.

In last week’s statement, the JCCV and ZCV said The Age coverage of Israel ranged from journalist Michael Backman’s 2009 “smear job” on Israeli backpackers in Nepal, to biased reporting of the flotilla incident, to “the more subtle and insidious”.

As an example, the organisations pointed out the sub-editing of a story from UK paper The Daily Telegraph, in which The Age version changed “Jewish settlements” to “illegal Jewish settlements” and “West Bank” to “occupied West Bank”.

“I think the fact that they take a report from somewhere else and they republish it but add certain words or phrases that further colour the message is an indication of ill intent,” Dr Lamm said when contacted by The AJN.

Searle and Dr Lamm accused the Melbourne broadsheet of “steering its readership to a more anti-Israel position” which has resulted in “legitimising anti-Semitism”.

“We make this statement with regret. However we have spoken to Mr Ramadge on a number of occasions, both privately and in public forums. While he is adept at making the right noises about The Age’s impartiality, his follow-through leaves a great deal to be desired. We believe that The Age’s record speaks for itself. Quite simply The Age is not a friend of our community.”

In a belated response to the JCCV and ZCV, The Age editor Paul Ramadge this week defended his newspaper’s Middle East coverage.

JCCV letter to The Age

HERE is the letter sent by JCCV president John Searle to Age editor-in-chief Paul Ramage:
I write once again to express the concerns of the Victorian Jewish community on The Age’s reportage of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Firstly, I refer to a letter to you dated 8 June 2010 from Sam Tatarka of the Zionist Council of Victoria. Mr Tatarka’s letter complains in the strongest possible terms about an article by Paul McGeogh published in The Age of 4 June, 2010.

In his letter Mr Tatarka cogently and compellingly reveals the anti-Israel bias in the article, as demonstrated particularly by its language and by omission.

There is no need for me to repeat his arguments, but it is important that you know that the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) endorses them in their entirety.

Secondly and more importantly, Mr Tatarka makes the point that The Age has form on this general issue. It is not a matter of the occasional article or letter, but there is a clear and consistent vilification of the world’s only Jewish State in the pages of The Age.

The JCCV has had ongoing communication with you for a number of years on The Age’s bias. Predictably you have consistently stated that The Age is even-handed and that your door is always open to the Jewish community.

I will remind you that these were your exact words when you addressed an audience at the Beth Weizmann Jewish Community Centre on 5 October 2009. You soberly assured audience members that The Age was interested in their concerns and that you would always be responsive to them.

In this regard, I will also remind you that you took certain such concerns away with you. To this day, you have not responded, despite our follow-up request that you do so. And indeed, I am still awaiting your reply to my telephone call to you of 4 June 2010. Your attitude bespeaks scant respect for the Jewish community.

I am not requesting your response to this letter – because frankly your assurances are no longer seen as credible by our community – other than a clear policy change to even-handedness as evidenced in The Age’s future content.

Until this is forthcoming I have no doubt that those of your readers who value Israel receiving a fair go will dwindle even further.

Yours truly

John Searle
President
JCCV


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