The Jewish Community Council of Victoria has issued an apology to Jewish LGBTI organisation Aleph Melbourne over denying it membership in 1999.
Aleph Melbourne welcomed the apology, which was also issued for hurt caused by the debate that ensued over Aleph’s membership.
In 1999, Aleph Melbourne submitted an application for membership of the JCCV which was supported by the Executive, but in May the JCCV Plenum debated the motion and voted in down – 39 in favour to 46 votes against.
“In the course of the debate, homophobic views were expressed by some delegates which caused long-term harm to members of our LGBTIQ+ community,” the apology motion states.
“Accordingly, this Plenum now apologises unconditionally to all members of our community who were impacted by the rejection of the membership application and for the unacceptable homophobic views expressed during the debate.
“We apologise for the deep offence and humiliation caused by the hateful words spoken in the course of the debate.
“We apologise for the subsequent distress, further marginalisation and stigmatisation caused by the rejection of Aleph Melbourne’s membership application.
“We now recommit ourselves to welcoming and embracing LGBTIQ+ Jews in all our work, as part of our broader commitment to social inclusion for all members of the Jewish community of Victoria.
“Through our genuine commitment to equality and diversity we seek to ensure that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated.”
Aleph Melbourne said that while the JCCV Executive has always been supportive of the group, the words of the apology and their actions have demonstrated a commitment to supporting the full and unconditional inclusion and acceptance of all same-sex attracted, trans and gender diverse, and intersex people in the Jewish community.
“It was significant that this apology was issued alongside a discussion on anti-Semitism and racism,” they said.
“The JCCV have further demonstrated their integrity by acknowledging that hate from within the Jewish community is as unacceptable as hate directed toward it.
“Aleph Melbourne acknowledges the involvement of the Australian Jewish Democratic Society in the formulation and passage of this apology and is grateful for their long-standing and ongoing support.”
Aleph Melbourne says they believe this to be the first ever apology from any Jewish community in relation to the mistreatment of LGBTIQ people.
For more information about Aleph Melbourne, visit aleph.org.au.