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Action Against Sydney BDS Academic; DNA Test for Birthright; Chief Rabbi’s Racism; Should Yeshiva pay up and More

August 1, 2013 – 4:40 pm5 Comments

From the editor:

bds2Tzedek calls for Yeshiva to set up a compensation fund for victims of sexual abuse. What do you think Yeshiva’s needs to do to right the wrongs of the past?


From a press release: “[Israeli advocacy group], Shurat HaDin, has filed a class action complaint under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 with the Australian Human Rights Commission over a Sydney professor’s [Jake Lynch] participation and public support of  boycotts of Israel including an academic boycott of  Israeli universities….

“In its letter sent to the Australian commission, Shurat HaDin pointed out that the Federal Racial Discrimination Act of 1975 made it unlawful for anyone “to do any act involving a distinction, exclusion…or preference based on race…or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose…of nullifying or impairing…fundamental freedom in the…economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”

According to solicitor Andrew Hamilton: “The BDS movement is racist by its own definition because it seeks to discriminate and impose adverse preference based on Israeli national origin and Jewish racial and ethnic origin of people and organisations. It does nothing to help Palestinians and indeed harms them. It is merely an excuse for the vilest public anti-semitic campaign the western world has seen since the Holocaust.”

According to Shurat Hadin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner: “….We are hopeful that this historic proceeding against
the BDS movement will serve as a model for battling it in other
jurisdictions worldwide.”

The text of the complaint can be found here:


On their website, the Anti Defamation Commission states, “The ADC is the Jewish communal organisation that works to ensure a safe and fair society for Australians of all faiths and cultures, by combatting antisemitism and racism in all its forms.”

What should the ADC‘s position be on asylum seekers, particularly with regards to their portrayal in the commercial media?


“Youth program reportedly casts doubt on Russian woman’s Jewishness because her father didn’t register her birth until age 3″ and now a DNA test is being demanded. What do you think are reasonable parameters for assessing Jewishiness? (hat tip to Seraphya Berin)


The new Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel is mired in controversy already for racist remarks. Is the Chief Rabbi’s racism part of a broader culture of intolerance? Or is it secular Zionism that is failing us?


A number of JCCV affiliated organisations have joined an anti-homophobia campaign. Is there a problem with homophobia in the community? If so, how best do we address it?


Wishing readers a Shabbat Shalom!

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  • Deborah Stone says:

    Re asylum seekers
    When I was Exec Director ADC was involved in campaigns to support asylum seekers (also other communities including Muslim and Indian when they were under attack. I firmly believe the Jewish community has a moral obligation to speak out and ‘remember when (we) were strangers’.

  • R B says:

    “to ensure a safe and fair society for Australians of all faiths and cultures”… Asylum seekers are not Australian – actually, I doubt whether most of them are genuine asylum seekers – and border protection should be in place regardless of the race, of those who are trying to enter Australia illegally.

    Re secular Zionism – as someone who was raised as such in Israel, I can tell you that secular Zionism is dead. Jewish nationalism is now almost-all religious, while secular Israelis (especially the elites) are in a process of disengagement from Jewish identity, and embracing cosmopolitanism.

  • ittayf says:

    From JCCV Executive Director David Marlow:

    “The Jewish Community Council of Victoria is proud to announce we now have 19 supporting organisations to join the ‘No to Homophobia’ campaign. Not only do these groups unequivocally say NO, the awareness raising in the Jewish Community, will go towards cultural change and education.

    1. Australasian Union of Jewish Students – National
    2. Australasian Union of Jewish Students – Vic
    3. Australian Society of Polish Jews & Their Descendants
    4. B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission
    5. J-air (Jewish radio)
    6. JCaM (communications and media)
    7. Jewish Aid
    8. Jewish Care
    9. Jewish Community Council of Victoria
    10. Jewish Ecological Coalition
    11. Jewish Museum of Australia
    12. Magen David Adom (MDA)
    13. Mercaz-Masorti Australasia
    14. National Council of Jewish Women of Australia
    15. Online Hate Prevention Institute
    16. Progressive Judaism Victoria
    17. Temple Beth Israel
    18. Union of Progressive Judaism (National)
    19. Young MDA”

    This is a positive development for GLBTI Jews.

  • Sol Salbe says:

    One should not shoot the messenger, but perhaps there is an aspect of the JCCV statement that you should have noted. The JCCV list organisations which are not affiliates but nevertheless support the campaign. (J-Air is the first example I picked.) Under those circumstances shouldn’t the JCCV also mention Aleph as I’m sure they support the campaign as well.

  • Bella says:

    Yes, Deborah Stone, Jews – as all decent human beings – need to support the down trodden of all ethnic backgrounds.
    However it is equally obligatory for the world’s communities, especially Australia’s multicultural communities to erase racism. Tribalism and anti-Semitism, still taught in some Australian communities has no place here. The ADC needs not only to lend a hand to outsiders but to ensure that their communities reciprocate.

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