Thursday, September 17, 2009

Was PM conned?

One has to wonder about the ABC. Was last Wednesday REALLY such a quiet news day that the best PM crew could come up with was to slake the attention-craving thirst of a pair of nonentities - serial kvetchers Fein and Barnett?

Were we the only ones shocked seeing how F&B were ‘featured’ on the ABC’s PM Report? Of course, as in their blogs, here too they attacked AJN Watch. (We take it as a compliment - as well as proof that our blog is working.)

But how did the national broadcaster allow itself to be so comprehensively conned by these publicity-hungry nobodies – whose connection to Jews and Judaism is almost zilch? Had the ABC done even minimal research they would have realized that the most Jews know nothing - and care even less - about the bleatings of these two individuals - who live on the far, far fringes of the Jewish community (or even beyond).

F&B's sole agenda is criticizing and attacking everyone and everything that doesn’t fit into the warped hallucination of their ‘Judaism’. Is it PM's role to assist them? Come on ABC, you can do better than that.

Here is a transcript of that PM program with AJN Watch’s comments in bold.

ABC Radio – PM Report

Jewish leaders accused of ignoring homophobia

Alison Caldwell reported this story on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 18:34:00

MARK COLVIN: A rift is developing in Australia's Jewish community over the treatment of homosexuals.

Rift? What rift? Only in the eyes of Michael Barnett and 2 or 3 of his mates. No one else in the Jewish community gives a continental about this non-issue.

MC: A major gay and lesbian support group claims Jewish community leaders are ignoring discrimination and hate language aimed at homosexuals.

“Major gay and lesbian support group”. Major? A group that at best can get a dozen supporters (and not all of them Jewish) to its parades and public gatherings is “major”?

MC: It wants Jewish representative bodies to come up with a clear policy upholding gay rights.

Yeah. Like what?

Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: When two young people were shot dead in Tel Aviv last month at a gay and lesbian youth centre, Melbourne-based Michael Barnett wanted nothing more than for the leaders of the Australian Jewish community to take a stand against violence towards homosexuals. But he says his calls for action fell on deaf ears.

Has there EVER been a case of violence in Australia against Jewish gays? Ever? Has any Australian Jew or Jewish group EVER incited violence against gays? Of course not! But that doesn’t deter Barnett from his ongoing ad-nauseum campaign.

MICHAEL BARNETT: The Israeli leadership, the Prime Minister, the President of Israel, they spoke out against intolerance and hatred and said you know, everyone deserves respect.Yet in Melbourne where there is the family of one of the two people killed, there wasn't even a single statement from the community leaders.

A 89-year-old great-aunt of one of the victims lives in Melbourne. Very sad for her. But since when do community leaders make statements for relatives of victims of overseas casualties? There are sadly many murder and manslaughter cases in Israel every year. No doubt some of them also have relatives in Australia. Do you expect John Searle or Danny Lamm to send them all condolences? Is that why they were elected to their offices?
Why should a gay murder victim be any different?.

ALISON CALDWELL: He says the silence from the Jewish leadership was symptomatic of a much deeper problem.

MICHAEL BARNETT: There's a lot of intolerance of gay people in the Jewish people. Calling gay people perverted and disgusting, comparing gay people to people who commit incest or bestiality, there's all this language that gets used from people like some rabbis in the orthodox world who speak out against gay people.

As he tends to, Barnett deliberately forgets to mention that the designations and comparisons are not individual views, but clearly detailed in the Torah. Religiously observant Jews – and indeed members of other faiths who are believe in the bible, will state what is written there – as the words of G-d. That is what G-d thinks of such individuals. Sorry about that. Address your complaint to Him – not the ABC.

ALISON CALDWELL: Michael Barnett is the coordinator of Aleph Melbourne, a support group for homosexual people in the Jewish community. He believes representative groups are afraid to express their support for homosexuals for fear of offending ultra-orthodox groups in the community.

He doesn’t even consider the other possibility, ie, that representative groups don’t wish to waste their time attending to the never-ending demands of a carping whinging micro-group – who don’t know what they want and in any case will never be satisfied.

MICHAEL BARNETT: I want every state and national Jewish peak body in Australia to have a specific, unambiguous policy addressing the persecution of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews in regard to homophobic hate and intolerance, irrespective of whether it originates from outside or inside the Jewish community.

And that will cure all ills? Who are you trying to kid?

MB: The policies must be enforced with the same zero tolerance afforded to anti-Semitism and holocaust rhetoric and other hate crimes.

You mean we shall no longer be allowed to state that the Torah considers homosexuality as a perversion? And for the weekly Kriat HaTorah in the Shuls, you will demand that the Baal Koreh omits all verses that the Aleph Society deems offensive? Where is YOUR tolerance for freedom of religion?

And in case you wish to learn exactly what the Torah states about your way of life, you can't do better than attend your closest Orthodox Shul this Yom Kippur and listen to the Torah leining prior to the Mincha service. (For the benefit of the surprisingly large number of non-Jewish followers of our blog - see Leviticus 18:22-30)

ALISON CALDWELL: Much of his anger is levelled at a Jewish blog which recently described homosexuality as "depravity and debasement" and extolled the virtues of reprogramming homosexuals.

The Jewish blog being referred to is indeed AJN Watch. (Thanks for the publicity, it would have been nice had you mentioned our name.).) We wonder if Alison Caldwell checked us out before making the above statement or did she simply believe F&B? We had another look but couldn’t find any reference to ‘reprogramming homosexuals’. We would appreciate if Ms Caldwell can point it out to us. Not that we have anything against such an idea – if it works. Of course only upon request. However a far better idea would be to give publicity-sick homosexuals psychological/psychiatric help to get over their mania of non-stop public blabbering of their proclivities and their incessant provocation of normal people. Maybe a brainy doctor could cure this malady and counsel them on ways to live their personal lives – privately.

AC: In July, a Sydney rabbi wrote to the Australian Jewish News, comparing homosexual intercourse with adultery, bestiality and incest.

Actually he was quoting the Torah. That is what rabbis are expected to do.

JOHN SEARLE: If it's a matter that's guided by religious laws, then those laws will presumably be applied. Now I can't say very much about those because I'm not an expert in those areas.

ALISON CALDWELL: John Searle is the president of the Jewish Community Council in Victoria. It describes itself as the roof body of Victorian Jewry. On its website, it says it shows zero tolerance towards anti-Semitism and racism but it has nothing to say about supporting or protecting gay or lesbian people within the Jewish community.

It also says nothing about supporting Jewish diabetics, asthma sufferers or road accident victims. There are enough organisations – government and voluntary - that help such people. There is no need for duplication. Especially in this case, seeing that there are so few of them anyway.

JOHN SEARLE: If we need to rewrite a policy that was written some time ago, we can certainly look at that and if it needs to be adjusted in any way, we can adjust that.

ALISON CALDWELL: John Searle says he's against vilification of any sort.

JOHN SEARLE: The JCCV has issued statements condemning vilification of all minority groups, including vilification based on grounds of sexual orientation, sexual preference.

ALISON CALDWELL: He says the council has sought advice from numerous sources on how to be more inclusive and will invite gay and lesbian support groups to events in the future.

Michael Barnett says it's not enough.

MICHAEL BARNETT: Lip service, motherhood statements, platitudes, rhetoric, anything but "yes, we're going to do this and take it seriously".

JOHN SEARLE: I reject the allegation or assertion that inviting people to participate in community events is simply lip service.

ALEX FEIN: My blog is called The Sensible Jew.

(Some may say that it’s not very sensible and definitely not very Jewish…)

ALISON CALDWELL: Jewish blogger Alex Fein has written about the issue in recent weeks. She says the vast majority of Jews support homosexuals and describes those who don't as minority extremists. But she says groups like the Jewish Community Council of Victoria need to be more proactive.

ALEX FEIN: It's not enough to say that homophobia is problematic. I think all people of good faith would like to see concrete action.

“Concrete action”? Like banning Torah quotes?

MARK COLVIN: Alex Fein the author of the blog known as the, ending Alison Caldwell's report.


  1. It is sad how intolerance rules either side
    How many gay young men and women have to leave
    the fold of their families and communities.
    Because of intolerance unremitting intolerance.
    Why not have a calm discussion of some toleration
    some understanding.
    I do not think the Tora is meant to be rigid. All through the ages interpretations have been made that allowed some leeway for life. I wonder
    how ths Tora is being worked over when in most cases the learning is done by rota and not by dicussions to find ways to overcome many flaws in our lives.Oi die Chachumen. God has created a beautifull world populated by crazy intolerances
    life is so short a bit of tolerance would not shorten ones life and even the Torah would show it has a heart. Sad very Sad

  2. "..far better idea would be to give publicity-sick homosexuals psychological/psychiatric help to get over their mania of non-stop public blabbering of their proclivities and their incessant provocation of normal people."

    You have just mocked, stimatized and trivalised a very serve symptom of bipolar disorder. Mania is characterised by heightened fast mood that is out of touch with reality. Some people think they are talking to Jeff Kennett, Elvis or even the Pope in their head and suicide is tragically common. Mania in no way compares to people's political or religious beliefs and it is deeply offensive that your should suggest so. How low will you stoop to get across your homophobic views?

    If the Torah is indeed the word of a god why does it need to be defended in such a nasty way as you have here. And why can't your god's word stand up for your community without such ridicule of a secular view on life? Why are you so insistent that the numbers of homosexuals are small when you clearly would need to state you are not in a position to know? Have not heard so much protesting since I last argued with a guy who was secretly playing with men in the bushes whilst pretending to be a pillar of the church. It is as if you see a Nazi in every homosexual and have forget that they instead died beside Jews in the Holocaust.
    Eric Glare, Living with bipolar type II

  3. AJN Watch's bigoted and hateful comments on "serial kvetchers Fein and Barnett" are a direct attack on anyone who does not believe that moral issues can simply be resolved by quoting a line from the Torah; that is to say, anyone who chooses to use our (God-given) gift to think for ourselves.

    Let's be clear. To argue against someone's point of view on the grounds that he/she belongs to a tiny minority group, suggests that the arguer does not have much more to say. Unbelievable that a Jew, of all people, should think that the majority is always right!

    You asked, rhetorically, "Has any Australian Jew or Jewish group EVER incited violence against gays?" However you answer your own question by insisting that labelling both homosexuality AND homosexuals as depraved, debased, disgusting and perverted, is justified in the name of the Torah ("clearly detailed in the Torah"). You and others like you must bear direct responsibility for actions that follow, quite logically, from these remarks. If I tried to live my life today according to the precepts of Leviticus alone, I would be out there hunting down gays as I would do any other abomination. No, you cannot wash your hands so easily on this one.

    I do go to shul on Yom Kippur, but I do not believe that Lev. 18 has much to say about anyone's "way of life". A proper Jewish (and human) response would be to see such a highly contextual statement as the start of a thoughtful dialogue, not the final word.

    Laurance JS

  4. Calling F&B ‘serial kvetchers’ is bigoted and hateful? What nonsense! It is the perfect description of 2 people who are beyond the pale of the vast majority of the Jewish community but who simply won’t accept that fact.

    While you may not be willing to accept the authority of the Torah, religious Jews do. And the Torah clearly states its attitude and judgment about perverts and perversions.
    We have the right (indeed, obligation) to publicise it. But we have no right to alter the words of G-d in any way.

    We repeat, "Has any Australian Jew or Jewish group EVER incited violence against gays?" The answer of course, is, NO. So we have no idea what responsibility you are trying to dump on us.
    And, no, the Torah does NOT demand that anyone go hunting down gays. So you can relax.

    We wonder what do you plan to do when Lev. 18 is being read publicly in your Shul on Yom Kippur?

  5. Shalom - You obviously know very little about how Torah is studied and how Halacha develops and widens.
    Notwithstanding that, the fact is – as we keep repeating - no one has the right to change anything that is clearly and unambiguously banned in the Torah.

    Next some fringe elements will be demanding the rabbis permit idol-worship …

  6. You incite hatred and abuse against gays. You condone and incite violence whenever a father raises his hand to hit his child because he said he was gay, you are guilty of assisting suicide whenever a young man who is jewish and gay kills himself because you are intolerant, homophobic and rely to heavily on a clearly outdated dogma that has no place in modern society.

  7. >>Eric Glare: You have just mocked, stimatized and trivalised a very serve symptom of bipolar disorder. Mania is characterised by heightened fast mood that is out of touch with reality.<<

    The last thing that we had on our minds was to mock or trivialise unfortunate person who suffer from manias. Anyone reading what we wrote can see that. But in any case we apologise to Mr Glare if if felt offended.

    Possibly we should have phrased it slightly differently, eg:

    "...a far better idea would be to give publicity-sick homosexuals psychological/psychiatric help to get over their obsession and craze of non-stop public blabbering of their proclivities and their incessant provocation of normal people. Maybe a brainy doctor could cure this malady and counsel them on ways to live their personal lives – privately."

  8. Llama, we do nothing of the sort. It is you and your ilk that cannot stop provoking, inciting and inflaming views for and - mainly against -homosexuality. 99.9% of the population are either not interested, annoyed or upset and the racket that the few of you make.

    Obviously normal family lifestyles and religion mean nothing to you. But for the vast majority it is as relevant as it always was.

  9. The Ancient Greek philosophers asked if something is good/bad because the Gods declare it so, or do the Gods declare it so because it IS good/bad? I wonder, can AJN Watch offer any plausible moral argument other than appealing to what the Gods (or God) declare? If so, then let's hear it. If not, then we must swallow all the ancient laws regarding stoning of adultresses and recalcitrant children, etc., etc., not to mention putting to death those who behave abominably. The truth, of course, is that even orthodoxy interprets and adjusts in the light of reason and context, except of course, for those phenomena of which it remains fearful and ignorant.

    Laurance JS

  10. AJN Watch, have you ever considered the spectrum in the Jewish community extends to further then those who are members of the orthodex section of the community.

  11. While it is nice to see you doing something besides defending Fein's honor, we really have no ideaa what your above comment is referring to.

  12. The rabid, ostentatious, highly inflated range of so called arguments employed by gay activists should be of concern for those within their group that preffer a discreet, private unfolding of their sexual preferences. As I do have an unquestioned respect for Torah, the way of applying Its percepts in a respectful manner is precisely what Jews of good faith are doing. As such, the imputation that, of all people, observant Jews agitate perniciously against what they perceive to be behaviour outside the noble observance of Torah is tantamount to accusing the same of inciting to unwanted behaviour against all other transgressions within the vast and varied Jewish community.Considering the painfull labor of devicing effective strategies in bringing Jews back to the values of Torah observance, accusations of the opposing nature are simply false, vicious, mean spirited. There is no ostensive platform of incitement against gays and lesbians, but civilised outlining of what observant Jews ragard as right. Accusing them of believing in the letter, and its proper interpretation, of our Book of Laws is denying a larger group of Jews than the respective homosexuals, their inherent right to striving for a world worthy of the coming of Moshiach, which is far more important than allowing all the hysterical whims of our Daeynu party "animals".


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