The Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), which fights antisemitism and racism on behalf of the Australian Jewish community, has given quiet signals it will stand up to vilification of GLBT Jews.
A motion was unanimously passed at the April 13 ADC board meeting to include GLBT issues as part of the organisation’s overall agenda to stand up for human rights.
ADC chair Anton Block told the Star Observer the motion passed was more a “recognition” than a formal resolution.
“It wasn’t so much a resolution saying we’re now going to deal with GLBT issues,” Block said.
“It was a recognition that our mission extends to those issues, but primarily our purpose is to combat antisemitism and racism.
“Dealing with GLBT discrimination is part of, I suppose, our purpose of promoting human rights, speaking out against homophobia or vilification of members of the GLBT community.”
Block said the ADC decision was not made as a result of any particular case of homophobic or transphobic vilification.
“We have a new board and a new board brings a new approach,” he said.
“I’m a new chairman of the board and there are a number of new members of the board and I suppose the board has a number of younger members and with it comes a new approach,” he said.
Melbourne Jewish support group Aleph has cautiously welcomed the ADC’s moves, however, it says the organisation needs to let the community know it will stand up for GLBT people.
“Inasmuch as they haven’t passed a resolution, they’ve acknowledged they will sort of take on issues relating to GLBT people, I think it’s a step in the right direction that they’ve discussed this at board level,” Aleph convenor Michael Barnett told the Star Observer.
“I would like to see some language, some statement of support, or proactive publicity, indicating they actually want to do this.
“Because until they say they are going to take on areas where GLBT people are being attacked, there’s no way for anybody to know they’re going to do this.”
Barnett said it was also important the ADC take a stand against GLBT prejudice within the Jewish community.
“They need to make it known that their organisation is going to fight prejudice against GLBT people in a Jewish context and if the prejudice and discrimination comes from within the community, then they must take that as seriously as any other form of prejudice against people in the Jewish community, whether it be antisemitism or racism.”