Home » Almoni, Community Life

CSG Advert – What the?

September 23, 2009 – 10:20 am55 Comments
CSG advertisement, Rosh Hashana 2009

CSG advertisement, Rosh Hashana 2009

By Almoni

What the *&@%&*!!

First it came in a personally addressed envelope (where did they get my address from?!). Then it fell out of the Jewish News.

You know what I am talking about. That flyer from the Community Security Group, meant to scare the hell out of me and everyone within an eruv distance of Caulfield. And not just to scare me, but to scare me to hand over money, anything from $18 (chai) to $5,000 and up.

If you haven’t seen the leaflet, there’s a bull’s eye on one side, with a kid’s face showing through, and a picture of some gratuitous anti-Semitic vandalism. I’ve seen other CSG ads playing off the natural fear of grandparents for their grandchildren.

What is going on with an organisation that markets fear and weakness rather than a positive message of community capacity or trust and support in professional law enforcement authorities?

There are definitely crazies out there, but that is not the point. Should we be supporting a secretive, unaccountable, and privatised approach to what appears to be anti-terrorism policing?

There is no public information available on a number of issues including:

  1. How is this organisation governed?
  2. What and who provides training whether in Australia or overseas, including firearms training?
  3. What are its financial accountability processes?
  4. By what code of professional ethics does it abide?
  5. It is a registered security agency?
  6. Does it have oversight and complaint mechanisms? And what are they?
  7. What contact is there with foreign security agencies, including conflicts of interest?
  8. What mechanisms are there to protect data integrity?

Of particular importance, is the CSG able to show that it has prevented what it deems to be anti-Semitic incidents? Or, is it all for show for wannabees with earpieces?

Don’t expect any answers: it’s run by the JCCV and it is hard enough to find out accountability information about the JCCV. It’s far easier to find out information about ASIO.

I’m concerned.

Editors’ note: Right of reply from an appropriate member of the CSG or JCCV is welcome. Please contact us by email: editorial at galusaustralis.com

Print Friendly


  • ariel says:

    “What is going on with an organisation that markets fear and weakness rather than a positive message of community capacity or trust and support in professional law enforcement authorities?”

    It’s my understanding from talking to community leaders over the years that CSG was founded precisely because the willingness from law enforcement authorities to protect us has not always been forthcoming. In fact, most police are slow to act on a community alert unless they are contacted by a CSG member directly. That is how seriously CSG is taken by the police and the government authorities.

    Your concerns about accountability are completely unwarranted.
    Why would you be concerned about trusting a member of your own family?
    I’d put my life in the hands of CSG before the police or an overweight, middle-aged, uniformed security guard on any day of the week and twice on Shabbat!

    And the fact that it is far easier to find out info about ASIO makes me worry about Australia’s national security!!

  • Almoni says:

    For ASIO accountability, see http://www.asio.gov.au/. I am sure your IP address will be logged, of course.

    The Jewish Security Trust UK provides much more information. http://www.thecst.org.uk/ and the publications on the site. If there is such information in the UK, is it provided in Australia?

  • Orly? says:

    “Or, is it all for show for wannabees with earpieces”

    I wonder are there easier ways to be seen and feel important. Ways that take less time and effort than standing on the streets for hours and hours.

    Perhaps one of those ways is to become a psudeo intellectual paranoid blogger?

  • eli says:

    Putting ones trust in anyone or any organisation does not abrogate responsibility for making sure that no matter what the outcome, the process of achieving it was performed professionally and with due diligence.

    Accountability is paramount for any person or organisation that deems itself as a representive either implied, by proxy or directly engaged to perform a service.

    If you consider that the issues raised by Almoni as being prohibitive to the performance of duty,if you are prepared to hand over unlimited power,and relinquish your rights to any group that in effect answers to no one except it self and or unelected, self proclaimed officials and governing bodies, then do so , but not on my behalf.

    This is not a criticism of the work performed by the CSG, but about the manner in which the community and its representatives organise themselves in a way that should allow for transparency and review.

    We demand no less from our governments and financial institutions, how much more so then from a group that is responsible for security.

    If we are unable to work within that framework, then when things go wrong and they always do, the ultimate blame will lay with us for not insisting on the correct governance.

    Anything less is akin to a feudal system that ended over 300 years ago.

  • ariel says:


    I am sure that CSG is accountable, but they don’t publish annual reports, nor should they.

    As I implied earlier, I think ASIO is giving out way too much information about itself.

    The following quotes from Yes, Minister beautifully sum up how I feel about national security:

    Bernard Woolley: Well, yes, Sir…I mean, it [open government] is the Minister’s policy after all.”
    Sir Arnold: “My dear boy, it is a contradiction in terms: you can be open or you can have government.

    Bernard Woolley: “But in a democracy, surely the public have a right to know.”
    Sir Arnold: “No they don’t. The public have a right to remain ignorant”

  • ariel says:

    PS if any of us can know what CSG is doing, then so can Abu Bakkar Bashir…

  • I largely agree with this post – CSG could definitely do more with regards transparency and accountability. There are certainly some things that must be kept confidential so they can do their job, and people accept that. There is plenty of room between reporting nothing and everything.

    Not sure that the JCCV “runs” the CSG; the web site says that it operates “under the auspices”. The leadership of the CSG is a different group of people with little or no overlap.

    BTW, when you go to shul this Yom Kippur, don’t forget to say thank you to the people out the front who are not in shul because they are looking out for your safety. Perhaps even have them in mind in your prayers.

  • Almoni says:

    In the interests of more informed discussion, those who take the issue seriously may care to read the following research reports on research into Victorian counter-terrorism policing and perceptions of security. Yes, this is public information!



    I am sure that the first complaint will be why wasn’t the Jewish community the target of research? I suggest the answer will be (and conspiracy theorists will condemn me), is because the Islamic community is overwhelmingly the ‘person of interest’ in prevention of terror (including hosing down alienated people, and second, like it or not, they cop the flack from racists more than Jews). But it would be good to see some rigorous research on perceptions and reality of the local community to sort out the issue.

    The question also arises, what is an anti-Semitic or anti-Arab incident as distinct from straight-out yobboism, political protest or anger etc? I know it is hard to untangle the two, but perceptions and realities are a tough, and political issue and then, are linked into what an organization such as CSG can do (and where the Anti-defamation Commission of Bnai Brith) takes over as a public voice against prejudice and racism.

    Thus the horrid Vorchheimer incident was a contemptible act of opportunistic racism by white yobbos (including the passive acquiescence of an off-duty cop), but can it be considered in the same class, as has ve-halilah, an inspired fanatic assembling some form of bomb and driving it into…you know the rest.

    But I await an intelligent response from the CSG. If the police can cooperate with academic researchers, there is no reason why CSG cannot be more transparent and particularly, offer a justification for its scare campaign.

  • Lola says:


    It’s a shame that the CSGs latest flyer insulted your comfortable, intelligensia sensibilities by showing but a couple of incidents that occur in around Melbourne on a weekly basis. Behind every one of these attacks is a like-minded group or person with networks who think like they do. It’s a good thing that CSG aren’t more transparent with people such as yourselves or you might be genuinely scared and even more paranoid if you were aware of the extent of these (real) incidents.

    “There are definitely crazies out there, but that is not the point”.

    I think it is the point. Because the number of ‘crazies’ (read: anti semite crazies) is only increasing. Last week CSG were on high alert for the annual Neo Nazi gig in Melbourne. Also last week, other than protecting the very visible targets of our shules, the group was also on alert for the group behind a mass letter that went out to most of the ‘Jewish’ suburbs calling people to ‘claim back Caulfield from the Jews’. I could give you countless examples such as these that occur on a weekly basis. CSG’s role is to stay abreast of these threats, assess their risk, and assess if, where, how and for whom protection should be provided.

    “The natural fear of grandparents for their grandchildren”?

    No – not natural fear – but the fear of grandparents who know better – who know what it means to think you can trust the “law enforcement agencies” you mention, and become complacent as a result. History should tell us that it doesn’t hurt to have a few Jews who know how to fight for themselves – and not always expect that someone else will look after you.

    “Or, is it all for show for wannabees with earpieces?”

    Knowing many CSG volunteers, who stand outside our shules & community centres getting drenched in the winter and burnt in the summer, I can assure you there are easier things people can do to show off. Knowing the growing number of religiously observant young men and women joining the group, I can assure you there is a more compelling argument that ‘being on show’ for being outside the shule instead of inside, where they know they belong. The level of training required to protect Israeli ambassadors dignitaries when they visit from Israel is not just for show. Committing majority of your spare time to training at the age when you could be out partying every night with your friends is not just for show.

    “Should we be supporting a secretive, unaccountable, and privatised approach to what appears to be anti-terrorism policing?”

    Well the police support them wholeheartedly, openly admitting that they do not have the network or resources to do it alone. The police work with CSG collaboratively – sharing information, resources and time to protect this community better.

    “Don’t expect any answers: it’s run by the JCCV and it is hard enough to find out accountability information about the JCCV”.

    Have you tried? Because it sounds to me like you would prefer to sit here defaming one of our most valuable organisations, and complaining about how you ‘can’t get any information’ instead of actually talking to CSG and trying to.
    Get your facts straight: It is not run by the JCCV (not that there is anything wrong with that) – JCCV is the umbrella body of many Jewish organisations in Victoria, and allows for transparency and sharing of resources across these organisations. That’s how they got your address genius.

    There is a lot more that I could say but I think I will leave it at that for now.

    Enjoy your naivete whilst it lasts…

  • Almoni says:

    Lola, I have still not seen any information from the CSG outlining the procedural concerns I originally posted and its accountability. This is not defamation. I appreciate security. I have been through it here and in a number of other countries. I also assumed that the CSG is part of the JCCV–since info is on their website, and it is auspiced by the JCCV.

    I’m also concerned that you think violence is part of your role in the CSG.

    So again, we need to ask, is the CSG a licenced security agency?

    But public accountability is a reasonable request. There is nothing on the JCCV website but a phone number. A reason why I am not going to ring the CSG is because I have no confidence that my inquiry about its governance will be kept confidential and not treated as ‘problematic’ and end up being inappropriately shared or put on a little list.

    Your sarcasm isn’t appreciated in a serious discussion. I am also a parent.

  • Lola says:

    I am glad you appreciate security – you will hopefully also appreciate, then, what it takes to keep our shules safe.

    I have suggested your post is defamation because you are implying that CSG is an incompetent, poorly goverened, badly trained bunch of Rambos running around with no accountability to anyone, when in fact you have put in next to no effort to find out the truth.

    CSG is indeed a licensed security agency. Their volunteers are trained strictly using well-researched lesson plans, in collaboration with other CSGs around the world. Only those deemed physically & mentally fit enough are allowed to enter higher levels of training such as those involving firearms, with accredited Australian training schools. They must earn their progressive certificates and qualifications in accordance with the law, and in the same way as any other Australian security agent that is entitled to carry a firearm. Their teachers are required, at the upper levels, to achieve a certificate of training that would allow them to teach to TAFE level.

    Again I refer to your naivete – “I’m also concerned that you think violence is part of your role in the CSG” – On the one hand I wish to say to you: do you think the community should be protected with teddy bears or just dialogue? I’ll make sure to volunteer you onto the first group of people who have meaningful ‘dialogue’ with the Neo Nazis. Enjoy that. It just isn’t realistic.
    On the other hand, in reality, the group is more about intelligence gathering, being prepared & collaboration with Police, than actually carrying out any operations or ‘violence’ as you would call it.

    I support accountability. I would also like to know what The Group does about data security and what their complaint mechanisms are etc. But I will broach that with them in a constructive manner – directly and/or through the JCCV. Not by publishing my complaints in a non-constructive forum.

    I work in research – the first thing we learn is:
    “if you ask the right questions, in the right way, to the right people – you are likely to get the right answers”.

    I likened your original comments/questions to defamation because you and everyone knows that the nature of CSG requires it to keep much of its operations secret – and they would never post openly on a forum such as this all the mechanisms of how it works. Your post does not appear to be a genuine search for answers but yet another opportunistic mudslinging act that this community so enjoys.

    Posting the CSG’s operative principles etc in a place such as this not only opens it up to malicious slandering from within the community (which it cops a ridiculous amount of considering it is there to look after you), but also to a greater society of people, some of whom may have more sinister objectives.

    Simply by you doing this you are framing yourself as a person not to be trusted with such information, and one who appears to want this information just for the sake of picking holes and pointing fingers at all the things they did ‘wrong’ in your books.

    I do kind of agree with you that the current marketing/ fundraising material is a bit over the top, but I suggest anyone with such skills as can help them improve it for next time, to offer those skills and help – don’t just sit here complaining.

  • Ittay says:

    Lola, in writing about fear that some people in this community have you say,

    “No – not natural fear – but the fear of grandparents who know better – who know what it means to think you can trust the “law enforcement agencies” you mention, and become complacent as a result. History should tell us that it doesn’t hurt to have a few Jews who know how to fight for themselves – and not always expect that someone else will look after you.”

    Are you suggesting that Melbourne 2009 is akin to Berlin 1938? Are you suggesting without “jews who know how to fight for themselves” that we should not feel safe in this city?

    If you are, then that perhaps is the greatest point of difference between you and almoni, who believes that we have come a long way both in terms of our physical security and the way we see ourselves within society since those dark days in europe.

    Melbourne is one of the most tolerant and diverse cities in the world. I can barely think of a safer place to be a proud and practicing Jew today. If that is true, then getting a letter in the mail telling me that me, my children and grandchildren are target is an exaggeration.

    If it is false, and we really are at such a threat level as the CSG claims us to be, then I personally think we should be protected by Victoria Police, just like every other minority community is.

    Melbourne has no Muslim Security group, and no Sikkh security group, despite these communities being attacked far more often then the Jewish community.

    I am not sure that if every minority group in victoria had its own security group, violence , racism or intolerence would decrease.

    I don’t mean for this to be taken as criticism in any way of dedication and the commitment demonstrated by CSG or any of its volunteers. Rather, please read this as an ideological question about how different or similar we should see ourselves in regards to every other citizen in Victoria?

  • Almoni says:

    Lola, what I have been asking is not defamatory, but it is clear that I have touched a nerve.

    Please see http://www.thecst.org.uk and what they provide in terms of accountability.

    Saying that “your post does not appear to be a genuine search for answers but yet another opportunistic mudslinging act that this community so enjoys” is wrong. Governance and accountability are critical in a democracy, and so is the reaction to perceived and real threats.

    I see that Ittay has taken up the discussion in a much stronger way, so I am going to be quiet now and I would be interested in rational and fact-based discussion about his comparison of security issues for the Jewish community and other communities.

  • Larry says:

    “Of particular importance, is the CSG able to show that it has prevented what it deems to be anti-Semitic incidents?”
    Are you able to show that the locks and alarm system in your house have prevented it from being burgled? Can you prove that driving responsibly actually prevented you from crashing your car today?

    The CSG is a registered security company. As such, it is regulated by the same Victorian and federal laws that regulate all private security companies with respect to training, licensing and financial accountability. It operates according to Australian law — what more oversight do you want?

    The mutual respect and collaboration between Victoria Police and the CSG should put to rest most of your conspiracy theories.
    And your reasons for not simply picking up the phone and calling the CSG are completely disingenuous. You clearly don’t care about your inquiries being kept confidential if you’ve published them on the internet! And you’re afraid of being “put on a little list”? Get real. I suppose you also wear a tin-foil hat to stop the CIA from reading your thoughts…

  • Lola says:

    Hi Ittay,

    Thank you for your comments and you raised some interesting points.

    I am not suggesting that Melbourne 2009 is akin to Berlin 1938, but that in Berlin in 1925 – a peaceful, tolerant, prosperous city – they had no idea what was going to be on their doorsteps in Berlin 1938. That is just a thought – not how I feel on a daily basis – but a thought I think we owe to ourselves to keep in the backs of the backs of our minds.

    I agree with you that Melbourne is one of the safest places to live and be a Jew – but I also feel that it used to be safer. ADC statistics support this. Similarly for other cities in the world. Biblically & historically we know that our fate as a people goes in repetitive cycles. I would not have such a micro mindset as to believe that our generation is exempt or unique from our 5,500+ year old history.

    As I said in my previous post I agree that the leaflet was a bit over the top – you are probably not under direct violent threat at this given moment. As I also said in my previous post, the group works in close collaboration with the Victoria Police and they support each other in their protection efforts – primarily to share intelligence and stay informed as the police are under-resourced for these tasks.

    I don’t know if there is a Muslim security group that works with the police. And what facts or statistics do you have to support your statement that all the minority groups you mentioned are attacked more often than the Jewish community? I’m not sure about that…

    All I’m suggesting, and I think the key thing that CSG is aiming for – is to not brush realities under the rug. We have security threats, however minor they may seem to many people. I personally would like to know that someone who really cares about me (the CSG volunteers) know what they are. It serves no-one well, even less greater society, when people pretend that things don’t happen just so they can sleep better at night. I don’t know about you but I would prefer to think that there is a group dedicated to staying abreast of these issues (not just our under-resourced police force who I know from personal experience do not take anti-semitic attacks seriously most of the time) – instead of it all creeping up on me one day if it ever were to become serious.

    The joys of being a third-generation holocaust survivor.

  • Ittay says:

    Hi Lola,
    Thank you for responding honestly. I appreciate that as a community of first, second and third generation descendants of holocaust survivors, south African apartheid, Russian anti-semitism, the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries, and so many other disasters that have befallen our people in the places where they have resided, it is understandable that we tend to look at the glass that is half empty when it comes to our personal security.

    What I am suggesting is that now, with so many positive things happening in the world this should change. Today the entire continent of Europe shares a joint government and currency (who could have imagined this 50 years ago). The Australian Parlminent has within it members who are Jewish, gay, aborginal, muslim, male and female, and almost all of these members of parliament are judged more on the words they speak then the ethinitcites they belong to. Finally, most powerful nation on earth has as its president a man who is the product of a family that is comprised of several people who were on the losing side of history, and yet despite this, this man has convinced the world that another reality is possible.

    The psychologist Will Maslow once observed: “If all you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like nails.”

    I think it’s time for the Jewish community to develop a new outlook that stops seeing ourselves as targets who require defense. There will always be fringe elements in society who seek to harm Jews and all minorities out of their fear, hatred and ignorance. We must not let them shape how we define our identity or how we allocate our valuable community resources

  • Almoni says:

    The issue of perceptions of racially based crime or religiously motivated crime and the reality of hate crime is a controversial one, as reliable statistics are very hard to come because definitions are so open and causes are hard to attribute in all cases. One person’s security threat can be seen by another as street graffiti. But a bomb threat is of course a bomb threat, not to trivialise the situation.

    If you are seriously interested, you can see a report from the Australian Institute of Criminology, Ethnicity and crime: an Australian research study, which is available online, especially p 105ff.

    Of course, one could regard research and reflection as just a waste of time, but such work is important for informed policy on dealing with threats to community safety and cohesion, including the justification for the CSG’s modus vivendi.

    Given the complexity of hate crime and its connection to much more complex issues of law enforcement and criminality, the police should be resourced on this role.

  • eli says:

    May I suggest that the issue is not about results but the method by which they are obtained.
    No one here doubts the dedication of those volunteers that provide their time and resources .To emotionalise the argument by enumerating the many qualities of the representatives rather than focusing on the structural and governance issues is simply distracting.

    Lola says that
    “CSG is a licensed security agency.”
    Does that mean it’s a private company hired by the community? If so then its financial matters are certainly not required to be made public. If they are not a “firm” and if the funding is from general community funds via donations, then they (and this is the question….who are “they”) certainly have a responsibility to be transparent and accountable.
    Larry suggests that
    “The CSG is a registered security company. As such, it is regulated by the same Victorian and federal laws that regulate all private security companies with respect to training, licensing and financial accountability. It operates according to Australian law — what more oversight do you want?”

    Those regulations are not an “oversight” In relation to financial accountability; it merely requires that they conform as most private companies with the tax laws and accounting standards.

    As to the training aspect, surely that attribute if documented and published would provide a genuine level of comfort for the community at large. There is no reason to keep that information a guarded secret.

    Oversight is generally used to make sure that the manner and reasoning for the use of in this case ,community resources has not been misguided or misused. That those in control, have to answer to someone. And here in lays the problem. We know almost nothing as to the process, guidelines and if necessary avenues for recourse of the CSG. Even government security agencies must report to those who entrust them with power and resources to carry out their operations.

    Operational matters are not the issue. Obviously to disclose those would perhaps jeopardise the effectiveness of the CSG. But that is not the issue, and using that as a coverall to maintain a blanket cover on all matters is deficient.

    As to the comment by Lola “JCCV is the umbrella body of many Jewish organisations in Victoria, and allows for transparency and sharing of resources across these organisations. That’s how they got your address genius.”

    There is a privacy concern that if membership of one organisation, allows the umbrella organisation to share that information as a data base without the strict permission of the member. I would very much doubt that any application that a member of say Maccabbi signed, states anywhere that the information provided may be freely distributed to others, nor an opt out clause as to marketing material. That is not transparency that is a breach of the privacy laws.

    There are many questions that need answering, not all of them pose a threat to the effectiveness of the CSG. Like many other issues there are rarely public forums for those who wish to know and to obtain answers. That is why blogs like this are important because they put the onus of reply on those “leaders “ in our community who till now have only had to answer to their own committees .

  • Almoni says:

    CSG is asking for public donations–and they are tax deductible.

    This means that it has what is known as DGR status by the Australian Tax Office and yes, they are listed by the Tax Office. One would consequently expect some form of public financial accountability for money from the public. That is reasonable and no a security issue.

  • I shouldn’t have to read on this blog that CSG is a licenced or registered security company. It should be part of their collateral. CSG can be a lot more open to the community about what they do without compromising themlseves in any way.


    Having a CSG isn’t defining ourselves as victims – it’s just dealing with the facts on the ground. Maybe our shuls are attacked less because we have visible protection.

    Are you suggesting that if we just engage the world and stop “oppressing” people, they will stop hating us? Let’s see if that strategy works for Obama …

  • Orly? says:


    I can’t think of any ASIC /ATO ruling or AIFRS standards that would require the CSG to lodge public financial information. If you find one please let me know. If you can’t would you like one set of laws for the CSG and another for all other not for profit orginisations in Australia?

    You will point out that for the sake of the people donating, they should disclose the financial information, this is a matter of the individual orginisations policy and not of law.

    From what I understand orginisations with DGR status do not have to lodge financial reports but rather that they are subject to audit by the ATO. If the ATO find that the orginisation is not acting according to the requirements of a DGR they may revoke the DGR.

    Please find attached the ATO requirements for a DGR

    The fact that they are a registered company and a licenced security company means that they have to follow the same laws as all other register and licenced security companies how they obtain and are subject audits and checks by the relevant authorities.

    I assume the majority of the funding comes from the JCCV/JCA, therefore one can make a strong assumption that the JCCV has ultimate control and the CSG would be answerable to them.

    I belive your issues are more to do with the JCCV/JCA and how it spends communal funds. For some reason you like to go after the CSG. Perhapsyou had a run in with one of the “Maxwell Smarts” that left a sour taste in your mouth.

    Also if you did phone up the CSG and started asking alot of questions you probably would be listed and your details passed onto the relevant authorities (State & Federal Police/ASIO) for further screening, if you have nothing to hide I dont see what the problem is?

    I appologise for my snarky remarks earlier but, I responded in an emotional way to your original comment which itself used emotive language.

  • Almoni says:

    Orli–spoken like an accountant? tax lawyer :)

    I was pushing it a bit in my original post, but there has been some useful discussion. I am aware of the DGR regulations. We could get into a long dicussion about the CSG corporate status, but that I think is not the point. I will leave JCCV issues to other people. My concern was the leaflet, its call for money and basic information about it to satisfy reasonable probity questions.

    There is also the relationship between what it does, policing, and perceptions, and relaties of crime (for which we all need a lot more empirical information that is probably the subject of a long academic seminar). But there is not doubt that one incident (e.g. Vorchheimer) has massive psychological effect, even though it is just ‘one’ assault stat, and the relationship of such events to the felt need for community security.

    Notwithstanding such issues, as others seem to agree, it’s basic accountability and transparency for a multi-million dollar operation–for which people are also asked to donate extra funds. I am sure a lot of people reading this blog are nodding in agreement.

    And then there is their ‘marketing’ strategy, which we seem to have got away from…

    I don’t know if you were being ironic or not, but all the more reason not to ring the CSG and start asking questions if you too believe they are going to report me onwards and upward. It’s not a matter of having ‘nothing to hide’. That’s a problem that started in the 1930s.

  • Orly?,

    Being accountable to the community that funds you is not a requirement of law, but rather a basic principle of decency. After raising funds for the construction of the Tabernacle in the desert, Moses spent an entire parsha on what was an auditors report of where all the donations went. If it’s good enough for a trusted leader like Moses, surely it should be standard practice for any not for profit org.

    CSG fundraises directly, and to my knowledge, does not depend on the JCCV for too much nor is particularly accountable to them (gee, wouldn’t that be ironic? someone accountable to the JCCV).

    Again, this sort of information should be publicly available rather than the subject of conjecture on blogs.

  • Jason says:

    Eli, Eli, Eli
    “if you are prepared to hand over unlimited power, and relinquish your rights” – What power is this that has been stripped from you by the volunteers of CSG or by the organisation, by them spending hours and hours a week training and then more hours actually protecting our shules, our schools and our community events? What rights have been violated by this monumental effort being undertaken? Not to mention your sensationalism – “unlimited power”. What kind of an absurb choice of words is that? As has already been said, the CSG is goverend by state and federal law in all regards (meaning security, financial, etc.). I wonder what this power is that you believe you have that you are so cautious to protect.

    You wrote “As to the training aspect, surely that attribute if documented and published would provide a genuine level of comfort for the community at large. There is no reason to keep that information a guarded secret” I agree that knowledge of their training and abilities would provide comfort and confidence in what they do but as for you latter comment, you could not be more wrong. It must, must, must be kept a guarded secret if it is to remain effective and that is why I am content with the assumption that the volunteers would not stand out on the street were they not sufficiently trained to carry out their responsibilities and the group would not put in so much effort and use so much funding to do a job to a sub-standard level.

    Almoni, what’s clear is that you have well and truly exercised your right to remain ignorant. Every single tiny piece of information that may seem to you to be harmless and just a matter of transparency is a piece of the CSG puzzle. Anything at all be it about budgeting and admin and especially information about training and about “ally” organisations is information that people who don’t like us (Jews in general, our community, whatever) collect and sit on. If they know how or with whom the CSG trains, they know (or can find out) what techniques/procedures they use and can then plan an attack that will be more difficult to stop. It’s laughable that you think first of all that you have a right to such information but also that you think that such information needn’t be kept completely confidential.

    To both of you, I would love to know what it is you believe qualifies you or anyone else in the community to be the judges of CSG’s policies and procedures. From the content of your comments, it’s obvious you both have little or no relevant/correct knowledge the matter but you also don’t know that the CSG isn’t subject to strict review by organisations who actually are in a position to do so – e.g. VicPol, ASIO, etc. (and no, you don’t have a right to that information either).

    Almoni, on your point about what you call “straight-out yobboism” – the community must be protected also from that. If I am walking to shule and am assualted, I will be equally injured and will have had my Jewish way of life and my safety equally invaded if the assualt was spontaneous by yobbos whose racist side was brought out by a few stubbies or if was a planned assault. Thus the CSG motto “Protecting Jewish life and Jewish way of life” and not “Protecting the community from organised crime and/or terrorism”.

    Furthermore, Almoni, having DGR 1 does not obligate them to give you all the specific details. Logic would dictate that donations received go to funding training, equipment, staff salaries (and other admin) and maybe lollies for the office. I think it’s been established that most information can be justifiably kept confidential and so the list above should suffice.

    The question I want answered by the rest of the community is “Why must we wait for a catastrophe before we say ‘do what needs to be done’?” I can all but guarantee there are no private jets and holiday houses. The money is used as necessary. You mentioned you are a parent – I wonder how your blog would read in a world where chas vechalilah lo aleinu (and I really mean that) there was no security group, a school or shule was attacked when your child was present and your child didn’t come home that day. G-d forbid that should happen but writing it drives the point home – history has taught us to be prepared in advance. In France, the community doesn’t demand answers to such pompous questions. I understand no-one is even remotely suggesting the group be disbanded, just that a little more info be made available but I still say, if the choice is to try and bend them to your (plural) will and force information out of them or to accept that they are doing what the rest of us are not prepared to do and are doing it well (as evidenced in the respect they have from state and federal agencies and the sheer number of hours they work to train and protect) and stick your noses somewhere else, I choose the latter.

    I dream of a day when there is no CSG because that day will be the day we longer require protection. Until that time, leave them be and better yet, tell your child(ren) stories of the Maccabim and the underground movements in WWII, about how in their time, those were the Jews that stood up and did what needed to be done. I realise that our time is considerably different from those I’ve mentioned above but in our time, it’s CSG that is doing what we need done right now and where I come from, it’s heroic, it’s certainly $18 well spent and it does not deserve pestering and infantile indignance – regardless of the images/content of the pledge form.

  • abcd says:



  • Jason,

    I don’t need to know the inner workings of CSG, nor am I or any other lay person an appropriate judge of your operating procedures.

    That is not what we mean by accountability. We the giving public, beneficiaries of CSG’s services, and financial supports of the CSG, have the right to know a bit more, and to hear it from the CSG itself.

    * what is the nature of the relationship between the CSG and the JCCV?
    * is the CSG licenced?
    * what oversight & governance does it have?

    These sorts of questions can be answered without compromising what the CSG does.

  • Orly? says:


    To answer one of your questions,
    next time you go to shul, look for the guy in the CSG uniform, is he/she wearing a security licence?

  • RA says:

    David Werdiger,

    Re your questions.

    So pick up the phone and ask them instead of posing here.

    If you don’t do this, and rest only with your comment, one is inclined to think you are therefore not really interested in the answer.

  • I’ve noticed the CSG badge, but never looked for a security licence.

    RA: surely the CSG could be upfront in communicating answers to these questions to the community rather than cloaking in a web of secrecy? This is the basics one would expect from any NFP.

  • Ayin Ra'a says:

    What a pathetic blog post.

    Jeeez, doesn’t the “holier-than-thou” attitude adopted by wannabe academics just stink to high heaven.

    1.) Firstly, it is absolute tripe to refer to the UK Security Trust website as a better example of so called “transparency” and “accountability”.

    Nowhere on the UK site of the CST does it provide even a minority of the answers that this self-ascribed blogger-for-ethics has demanded.

    2.) Secondly, how weak is this:

    “As to the training aspect, surely that attribute if documented and published would provide a genuine level of comfort for the community at large. There is no reason to keep that information a guarded secret.”

    Sure. And while you’re at it, our resident moralisers could also demand the SAS training routine be publicised as well. “Public entity!!”, could be the all-encompassing catch-cry.

    And we’ll forget that the crazies and nihilists might also benefit from such disclosures. Maybe we can also get ASIO to publicly reveal their training, too. After all, as our tut-tutting, finger-waving ethicists have pointed out here, they are accountable government agencies.

    Couple this with a bit of “Surely the broader community would then be assured knowing how professional they are” … and voila, we have an unelected, ANONYMOUS Watchdog emerging, helpfully putting our community-oriented CSG in the dock.

    What a moronic concept. Apparently, Victoria Police supervision is not enough, we have our bloggers-for-freedom to strive for the hidden truth right here.

    3.) I have some questions regarding accountability, too…

    – Talking about transparency, what are the real identities behind the people of this website, and this post?
    – Are any motivations related to number of web hits associated with this post?
    – Would this particular post be politically motivated?
    – How would this poster Almoni, asking the questions in this blog post, actually expect them to be answered? Via the same public internet forum?
    – Assuming no prior recourse to Jewish organisations has been made in order to attain his answers, has the author been “wronged” by any community organisation and seek this post as revenge? Has the author been “wronged” by an unpaid CSG volunteer?

    4.) A simpler question for Almoni … Before publishing this disgraceful post, did you simply call the CSG or the elected JCCV delegate responsible for community security ?

    Please tell us you did. Please.

    Don’t lead us to believe that far from the tireless CSG volunteers using the wonderful opportunity of getting drenched as a way of seeking attention or showing off, it is in fact you who is looking for some self-righteous attention.

    Disclosure: I do not serve in the CSG.

  • Shmuli says:


    I am quite distressed by the nature of this post. Please remember that this is not a Shabbos table, it is an open forum on the internet. I do not know who is right, whether the CSG should be more transparent or not, but I do know that this online discussion is not doing our community any favours. I am all for free speech and robust debate on the gamut of political and religious issues, but discussing our security in this type of open forum makes me quite distressed. Please chaverim, this is a very important issue, but we should be very careful to discuss it in a secure forum.

    Shana tova, and may all of um yisroel be happy and safe over the rest of the chaggim.

  • TheSadducee says:

    How about CSG leadership just hold some open meetings with sections of the community eg. through shuls, schools etc and outline what they do, how they operate, etc? Have an open house discussion about their organisation.

    Wouldn’t this sort of deal with or resolve a lot of the concerns here?

    I’m not sure why it hasn’t been done before?

  • rachsd says:

    Hi Ayin Ra’a,

    You can find the full names of the editors of this website here and more information on contributors here.

    Personally (as one of the editors) I strongly encourage contributors to use their real names, and the majority do that. However, I also recognise that there is a culture of using psuedonyms online and some people do not want to publish under their own names. Any contributor that writes under a psuedonym must disclose their real name to the editors, and may not criticise any individual whilst using a psuedonym.

    I note that you have not used your real name in your comment.

  • rachsd says:


    I think that the best thing about having a Community Security Group (rather than employing other people for security at Jewish events) is that it empowers us as a community. On a somewhat similar note, think self defence classes for women. Given that this is the case, I find it worrying that there seems to be such reticence around discussing even generalities of the CSG in a public forum. No sensitive security information has been disclosed on this forum.

    Are people scared that the fact that a Community Security Group exists, and that some Jews want to know more about how it is run is in itself a security risk? This seems absurb.

    I would also note that the article in question is a discussion of advertising material that has been distributed too widely to remain a secret. As soon as you do a mail out using community lists that can become outdated, and include an ad in a publically available newspaper, the advertisement is public.

  • Paroggan says:


    Galus is growing, gaining momentum, and rapidly approaching some sort of full-fledged responsibility for what it publishes, and for what’s discussed in these comments strings. Particularly when tackling genuinely sensitive issues.

    As a consequence, Almoni, you simply cannot excuse yourself from gathering information first-hand by intimating that you’d be put under surveillance or subjected to some sort of undue scrutiny.

    If you’re prepared to subject the CSG to public scrutiny, then you are obligated to give them an opportunity to speak for themselves.

    If you can’t contact them, write that. If they’re rude to you, write that. If they’re overly secretive and hypersensitive, write that. And if they’re open to your questions and answer you in full sentences, you write that. Simple.

    As a full-time writer myself, albeit one who rarely has the opportunity to deal with anything of substance, I am often frustrated by the attitudes of citizen journalists who take the truth-crusader’s high-ground without a skerrick of the commitment to working with proper information and standing behind what they write with some element of incontrovertible evidence.

    If Galus is going to be taken seriously, it needs to take its audience and civic responsibility seriously. It’s all well and good to be ‘controversial’, which is wonderful, because you get lots of hits and reads and attention, but its contributors have to do things properly.

    On the other hand, if all anyone wants to do is intellectualise, breathe virtual hot air about the perceived (key word: perceived) shortcomings of the community, then fine. Forget everything I’ve said, and throw research to the wind.

    But, personally, I would like this all to ratchet up a notch of respectability — if the Age were to start getting interested in writing about CSG (which would be a disaster for various reasons), we’d at least want to know that they had access to some facts.

    So, Almoni, if you’re worried about being added to some spook’s little black book of persona non grata, then I volunteer to take reader’s questions to CSG, and see what happens.

    I’m not part of CSG, but like many of you, I know people in CSG who might be able to put me on to someone who can quench the fires here. Or perhaps even fuel them. Who knows…

    Bottom line, people: Let’s have a think about what we’re trying to achieve here.

    Lots of love,


  • Paroggan says:

    Oh yes, before anyone picks me up, ‘readers”, not ‘reader’s’…bah, humbug.

  • Ayin Ra'a says:


    1.) As you tacitly imply, the majority of contributors, including those raising this issue, have remained anonymous.

    Firstly, it is imperative that the author’s real name be used in order for people to whether to know whether they are running a personal vendetta. You may recall that “The Sensible Jew” blog was pilloried until they revealed their real names, as they should have done from the start. Otherwise, there is no accountability.

    Anybody making submittions to government regarding public entities have to do so under a real name.

    If these self-righteous moralisers are demanding their ivory tower-levels of scrutiny from our community organisations, as using the public model, so they should start by following that model.

    Make a submition to the CSG or the JCCV under their REAL NAME.

    Anonymous Watchdogs are no more democratic or transparent than those they decry.

    What hypocrisy.

    2.) Finally, the CSG issue is one that may be sensitive due to the essential nature of security work. Refer above for understanding of this concept apropos ASIO or SAS. If you cannot understand such a concept, I fear you may be akin to a bull in a china shop. You can keep butting your heads, but you’ll get no anwsers.

    Go through the proper channels instead of running a cheap publicity stunt to bump up your site’s number of viewers. How selfish to undertake such a tactic for your short-term gain, at the entire community’s expense.


  • rachsd says:

    I said: “Personally (as one of the editors) I strongly encourage contributors to use their real names, and the majority do that.”

    Ayin Ha Ra’a said: “rachsd,

    1.) As you tacitly imply, the majority of contributors, including those raising this issue, have remained anonymous.”

    I explicitly said exactly the opposite!

    We may be using different definitions of contributor? I am using contributor to refer to people writing articles, and the word commenter to refer to people writing comments.

  • Ayin Ra'a says:

    Okay, let’s play semantics.

    Would it not be correct to say that ALMOST HALF of your article contributors (40%) are anonymous:


    Including, most crucially, the anonymous writer who ironically raises questions of transparency and accountability about the CSG.

    Refer above comment for transparency provisions surrounding those who make submitions (and through the correct channels, mind you).

  • Orly? says:


    If you are so concerned about the state of the CSG’s governance why dont you offer your services to them, it doesnt have to be in a security role, why not see if they are willing to take you on a corporate governance advisor, or community liason officer. After all it is a communal orginisation and you are entitled to offer.

    You will probably need to be screened before they allow you to help out, that is expected.

    As Ghandi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

  • Almoni says:

    The Last Post (by me, at least).

    I stand condemned or vindicated for opening up a sensitive issue, depending on your point of view.

    I was outraged by the sensationalist tone of that leaflet–that is what provoked me to write, rather than ring the CSG. And because I was/am unsure of what response and follow up I would get if I rang, I used the pen/keyboard, to which CSG had been invited to reply, by Galus btw.

    I have been anonymous on the post as a matter of self-protection so as not to associate my views with my family or anyone else–seeing the flack I have received I am glad I have not named myself, though it has provoked a few people, that is for sure.

    There is other writing on this site that I have also put up anonymously because I believe it to be controversial and I did not wish to embarrass anyone.

    Orly, as to the offer to work with the CSG, I am completely over- committed as it is already, and I did my stint in community relations years ago. So thanks for the offer.

    Ayin Ra’, I have not intended to be a self-appointed watchman or anything like that. I just like probity in such a critical area, particularly when public monies are involved. It’s not enough to just say ‘trust us’.

    I have no personal vendetta. I have just been around all sorts of organizations for too long, including exposure to security-related issues, to take assurances for granted. Confidence building, rather than scare campaigns are important.

  • Roy says:

    I have never accessed this site and I have no intention to access this site again. So there is no need for anyone to respond to this posting as I will not read it.
    It seems to me that whenever someone feels they need an excuse not to donate, they feel the need pile up a bunch of unsubstantiated criticisms without foundation and without proper or attempted due diligence. If you don’t want to donate. Don’t donate. But don’t come up with garbage to try to justify your decision.
    I have read some of the blogs that have been posted following the first anonymous posting, which set the whole chain and which was ultimately was brought to my attention.
    I am a member of the Advisory Board of the CSG and one of several people who personally contribute hard earned dollars and many, many long hours of personal time to raise much needed funds to ensure that our community is kept safe from many people who are committed to do us harm. We do not want Melbourne to be a Mumbai. Not scare tactics. Read the reports of the investigators who questioned the surviving terorist.
    What is most disappointing and upsetting in the top posting, is the insults directed at the volunteers who give up hundreds of hours of their private time to train and then to stand in all weather conditions to protect families in our community. Your insuts are vile and offensive and in this period of time between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, one whould have expected a little more introspection from someone who says he (or she) is “concerned”.
    The CSG does not get any funding from the JCCV and it is totally transparent with all of its fundraising and budgets.
    Our donors are invited to attend briefings that are held 4 to 6 times a year. These are held in an open forum environment and we allow Q & A time as well.
    I noticed that some of the people that did post their names and were critical had not taken up the invitation to attend these briefings and I find it amazing that they find the time to communicate in this blog forum but don’t find the time to attend a 90 minute CSG briefing.
    Let me make an open offer which is also extended to “I am concerned”.
    Contact the CSG office and register your interest to be invited to a briefing and we will contact you prior to the next briefing and offer you the opportunity to attend and get informed.
    Emaill your full name, address, email address and phone number to the email address below and we will contact you.

  • Mark says:

    The simple fact is:

    There are youg people in OUR community who volunteer their time to not only stand Shomer at our shuls, but also schools, community buildings but also scores of functions a year.

    Anyone from OUR community who is critical of CSG for any reason is a naive and confrontational ignoramus.

    Subjects like this SHOULD NEVER be aired publicly. If you dont want to give then don’t, if you don’t want to assist then don’t. If you fancy yourself as an aspiring community politician then get involved and air your opinion in the appropriate forum.

    But please Almoni, next time you are at Shul and it is more than 30 degrees spare a thought and take out a jug of cold water. Next time it is pouring with rain and of our young tzadikim is on duty, spare a thought when you are already sitting down to your chicken soup and kreplach. Next time you leave shul or a function make sure you thank the people that are there to protect you and serve our community.

  • Mark,

    Now you’re going to the opposite extreme, and that is equally unhealthy.

    Anyone from OUR community who is critical of CSG for any reason is a naive and confrontational ignoramus.

    We all have the right to ask and investigate. No publicly funded org is beyond reproach or criticism. I would encourage orgs to be upfront and provide information about their governance in a proactive way.

    Regarding whether or not this is an appropriate thing to discuss in a public forum, I disagree with you. Our community should have the maturity to be able to discuss and debate its problems (and no, we are not perfect) rather than whisper about them in the back of shul or push them under the carpet.

  • Orly? says:

    Egg on all our faces,

    If any of us had bothered to do research we would have known about the briefings.

    Those briefings are the appropriate places to discuss these security related matters, not an anonymous internet forum.

    How easy could it be for someone to collect information from our community? 1) Go online to said anonymous internet forum. 2) Pose as an outraged member of the community/public. 3) Slate the CSG a little. 4)Wait for a few well meaning but misguided people to blab, even a tiny bit it all adds up.

    The advert its self may not be sensitive information, but other issues were asked of in the original post could be considered sensitive, or lead inadvertently to the disclosure of sensitive information.

    I am not at all saying that Almoni is collecting information. I am saying that maybe we should wise up.

  • RA says:

    The authors of this website should remove this topic page from this blog.

  • Hmm. I didn’t really see anything so offensive about the original article, but then I know very little about the CSG and its operation. The last 2200 years of Jewish history have not been a Maccabean struggle for security and autonomy, so attempts to portray the CSG as carrying on a timeless Jewish tradition are fairly ridiculous. That said, I’m sure that they’re doing an excellent job, and I am criticising only those who suggest that their excellent job is rooted in Jewish tradition.

    As I see it, there is either a serious potential risk or there isn’t. You want to know whether or not CSG are worthwhile? Weigh up the worst-case scenarios. If there is no risk, then the worst case scenario is that you have a bunch of guys who spread concern throughout the community and who obstruct people from comfortably going to shul. Not so positive, but a great deal better than the worst case scenario if there is a genuine risk and we don’t let them do their job.

  • harry freedman says:

    my son has been involved with csg for a number of years. I have attended a meeting with CSG leaders explaining the groups philosophy,ideals, methodology, inter organisation relationships with state and federal police. I know a number of past and present members.

    Whilst I always have some concerns for secret organisations, I wish to share with your other readers my experiences in this matter, and in particular that I have nothing but the highest regard for the work that is undertaken by CSG, the commitment, integrity and dedication of not only a number of the founding members that I know but also many of the present personelis awe inspiring.

    we should always keep an eye on all organisations but in this instance our full support should be offered to this group

  • Fred Cohen says:

    I don’t know why everyone thinks it is fine to take the CSG for granted, then bash them whenever it suits…

  • anonymoustoo says:

    ** I will remain anonymous following the example set by the writer of the post. **

    This post is initially about the provocative tactics used by CSG in their brochure appeal; their use of extreme images and scary statistics designed to garner an emotional response. The anonymous writer doesn’t approve. This could have been an interesting topic for a post.
    However, without even a hint of irony, the anonymous writer then goes on to pose a series of provocative questions attacking the CSG designed to garner an emotional response from the post’s readers. His use of provocation is ok, CSG’s is not.
    The writer even later admits in a comment to being deliberately provocative:
    “I was pushing it a bit in my original post”.

    It is this kind of anonymous provocation that undermines the legitimacy of web publishing. Trying to be controversial in order to generate interest in your blog simply works against you. It makes it easy for skeptics to dismiss you as not serious, and in this case makes the writer look lazy and irresponsible.

    “There is no public information available on a number of issues…”

    This should in fact read: “I checked their website and googled them and couldn’t find this information easily. Instead of phoning the organisation and asking a real person these questions, I decided to turn this into a blog post that I knew would generate some controversy.”

    Turns out information is available publicly at meetings, as a comment finally explained, it’s just not available online. This post’s heading should really be: “CSG lacks decent web presence”. Not so exciting.

    Lastly, the almost vindictive tone of the post had me thinking there was something more to this. A subsequent comment by the writer confirmed for me that s/he has their own issues that are at play here:

    “A reason why I am not going to ring the CSG is because I have no confidence that my inquiry about its governance will be kept confidential and not treated as ‘problematic’ and end up being inappropriately shared or put on a little list.”

  • no fear says:

    is it really necessary for our schools to be doing this type of “security training”?

  • Former CSG Insider says:

    No Fear,

    It seems odd (or perhaps just stupid) that they would be doing these type security exercises in public view.

    When institutions (such as a police force or a military branch etc) conduct public security drills, it is usually for propaganda purposes, more so than genuine training.

    However, in the case of a school, well I’ve got no idea what they were thinking.

  • Almoni says:

    It’s interesting that I was so strongly attacked about 6 months ago for posting the original article when it appear, suggesting that there is a danger of cowboy culture and a bit of paranoia and distance from the reality of risk assessment and management.   We are not in Mumbai or Israel.
    To quote some pertinent parts of the article:
    “neighbour, Meredith Marshallsea, said the group screamed and used abusive language: “They were running around the playground pointing what looked like real guns.”

    Leibler Yavneh College head of administrations David Fisher said the sessions were for security staff to become familiar with school grounds because “there’s a real risk to Jewish state schools”.

    “There are countless examples of terrorist activities around the world,” Mr Fisher said.

    “We are acting prudently. However, the school decided to suspend training forthwith, as the relationship with neighbours is of paramount importance.”

    Caulfield police said they were not aware of the training sessions.
    All the more reason that such matters be put under very careful, and accountable scrutiny, as I  originally suggested.

  • Zedsta says:

    To all critics and abusers of the CSG.

    The point is, you know very little about the CSG. All your babble here is born of speculation just as every CSG debate has been on Galus Australis. Ranging from the debate regarding the photographer who intended on coming to Australia to “document” the shules of the world to your arguments regarding a CSG black list. And I thought there was no lower. Now I see this article and am amazed yet again.

    As soon as the brochure was sent out and that article appeared in the Leader I knew some little rat would use  both of these to criticize the CSG.   “And when the lights go out, where do the vermin hide?”. And voila! I was not mistaken.

    When I attend shule, the CSG member are in my thoughts and in my prayers. G_d bless such dedicated individuals.

    Leave the CSG alone. There is no intention more pure than wanting to protect the lives of the members of our community.

    Your stupid debates regarding accountability and scrutiny exist to make your life have some meaning. And so you post your little arguments here in the name of drama.

    Do something useful, such as joining the CSG. If you can that is. I’m not in the CSG however I imagine it’s beyond your league- it probably requires a level of determination which transcends beyond the power of sitting behind your keyboard and pressing buttons- which is what you do best.

    Remove this article, every single CSG debate on Galus Australis and leave the CSG alone! They don’t need this criticism from within their own community. The threat they deal with is real enough without needing to worry about a lack of support from the community they make a pledge to protect.

    Think to yourself carefully, what have you truly achieved with this post?

1 Pingbacks »

Leave a comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.