Community message from JCCV President, Philip Zajac.
AN EVOLVING COMMUNITY
As a community, we have seen a lot of changes since the devastating events in Israel on October 7.
So many of these changes have been positive: a renewed, stronger sense of Zionism and energetic participation in so many events, including by people who have not had an active connection to our community in many years.
Some of these changes have caused shocks: the virulence of contemporary antisemitism; the shameless lies spread by Israel-haters; and the difficulty of getting the truth about Israel out.
On February 7, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, in partnership with Zionism Victoria, will host a special community forum to discuss these changes.
Please join us as we discuss community voice and advocacy, security and safety, the situation at universities, interfaith dialogue post-October 7 and more. I urge you to RSVP soon to secure your place at the important discussion. Please see the flyer at the end of this message.
VICTORIAN MULTICULTURAL COMMISSION
The Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) is the government-appointed organisation that works to support and advocate for multicultural groups in our state. The JCCV, Rabbinical Council of Victoria and other Jewish organisations have worked closely and successfully with the VMC for many years and value the role it plays in our state.
However, the community has had ongoing concerns about the social media posts of Commissioner Mohamed Mohideen since October 7. Mohamed has had good relationship with many in our community who are active in the interfaith arena, but his recent public comments have undermined this good relationship and, more worryingly, may have put individual Jewish Victorians at risk.
As a community leader myself, I know we have a particularly important responsibility to ensure the conflict in the Middle East is not played out on the streets of Melbourne. The JCCV has been actively discussing this important responsibility with VMC and Government ministers and will continue to ensure all community leaders uphold their responsibilities.
TIME FOR PRIDE
This year, more than ever, the JCCV is pleased to again support the Jews of Pride contingent at the Pride March in February.
The JCCV represents the diversity of our community, and proudly stands with LGBTQIA+ Jews. We also note that Israel provides a safe and welcoming environment for those who identify as LGBTQIA+.
I have heard from Jewish members of the LGBTQIA+ community that many no longer feel welcome and safe within the Australian LGBTQIA+ community. Like other communities, some in the LGBTQIA+ have been spreading aggressively anti-Israel and antisemitic messages.
No doubt you will agree that it seems ironic that local activists are so poorly informed that they choose to align themselves with Hamas, a radical terrorist organisation that oppresses, tortures, and executes members of the LGBTQIA+ community, rather than Israel.
I urge you to attend the Pride March and show support for the Jews of Pride group.
OUR RIGHT TO ADVOCATE
I was surprised to read the article in The Age this week, describing a private, community WhatsApp group called “Lawyers for Israel” as using “aggressive lobbying” to try and influence the ABC. You, like me, may be a member of the many WhatsApp groups that have sprung up to connect likeminded members of our community in these challenging times.
It is baffling that the right to advocate for the Jewish community or Israel is being cast as somehow deceptive or malevolent. There is nothing wrong with standing up to hate, discrimination and vilification. There is no reason why we cannot, as Jewish people, share our opinions, like any other Australians.
We applaud the many grassroots initiatives we have seen spring up in our community. These groups are a testament to the strength of the Victorian Jewish Community.