The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) has revised its policy platform to include sexual orientation in its respect agenda.

Jewish gay support group Aleph has welcomed the inclusion. Aleph spokesman Michael Barnett said he was “thrilled” to see sexuality included on the list.

“It’s a good start,” he told Southern Star. “It’s certainly a step in the right direction and given we only started talking about this seriously 12 months ago it’s amazing something has been done about it and a reference group has been set up.”

Barnett has been critical of the JCCV, claiming it wasn’t doing enough to speak out against GLBT intolerance in the Jewish community — particularly in Orthodox circles.

The revised JCCV policy calls for “abstention” of any public or private conduct that incites hatred against a person’s identity, including sexual orientation, race, religion, colour, disability, gender or national origin.

JCCV president John Searle said the revised policy was about educating and guiding best practice.

“It is important to realise this particular policy is not intended to prohibit robust debate or to demand acceptance of all opinions or lifestyles,” he said.

“What it does do, however, is set parameters for the conduct of discussion of such matters, asking for respect for difference.”

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