The question of the response by the JCCV to the recent visit of former Knesset member Moishe Feiglin to Australia has been raised a number of times in the Australian Jewish News, but some of the key issues involved remain to be discussed.
The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) specifically (and uniquely) went on record as opposing Feiglin’s visit to Australia because he
“has expressed extremist views in the past regarding women, sexual orientation, and political issues which are inconsistent with the policies of the JCCV.”
claimed its President Jennifer Huppert,
“the JCCV is opposed to any homophobia, biphobia [sic], or transphobia [sic] by whomever or whoever expresses it.”
(Presumably this includes the authors of the Book of Leviticus, although Ms. Huppert wasn’t specific.)
Leaving aside the fact that the JCCV has never objected to left wing Israelis visiting Australia, whose stance on “political issues” is certainly at variance with that of the great majority of Australian Jews, there are glaring and disturbing examples of rampant double standards in its view. On many occasions, the JCCV’s website has boasted of its warm relations with the local Muslim community.
For instance, its website was beaming about the fact that on 1 June 2015 “nearly 100 people attended the Jewish Christian Muslim Association’s community forum in East Melbourne.”
On 7 April 2015 Ms. Huppert (“JCCV Condemns Racism and Religious Intolerance”), identified as “JCCV President,” stated that “the JCCV condemns any racial or religious vilification,” specifically attacking “the campaign against Halal certification, which is nothing more than an attack on religious freedom.”
On 23 March 2015, “the JCCV and the Islamic Council of Victoria celebrated Harmony Day by co-hosting a Jewish- Muslim Friendship Dinner. It was a wonderful celebration of multiculturalism and social inclusion.”
The egregious double standards demonstrated by the JCCV in its treatment of Mr. Feiglin on one hand, and Muslim adherents on the other strike me as blatant as they are deplorable.
Gays? Same-sex relationships are punishable by death in Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, northern (i.e., Muslim controlled) Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen, and are merely illegal, punishable by imprisonment, in Algeria, Kuwait, the Maldives, Qatar, Malaysia, and Somalia. Most Salafist ( an extreme school of Islam) “jurists” believe that homosexuals should be executed by throwing them off the tops of buildings. Polls have been taken in many Islamic countries which show that younger age groups almost unanimously reject gay behaviour, with only two per cent (in Pakistan) and seven per cent (in Malaysia and Turkey) regarding it as legitimate.
Women? Of 24 countries with less than 60 per cent female primary school enrolment, 17 are Islamic. Among countries with the highest “gender gap” in school enrolments (i.e., with more boys than girls), 17 of the 18 worst performers were Islamic states. Female literacy is less than 50 per cent in twelve Islamic countries. Every form of primitive and barbaric horror, from female infanticide to female genital mutilation, is higher in Islamic states than almost anywhere else, often de facto with official approval. This is to say nothing about, self-evidently, the threat of Islamic terrorism and antisemitism. Radical Islam is, needless to say, the most important disseminator of antisemitism in the world today.
Yet the JCCV rolls out the red carpet for the Muslim community, while condemning poor Mr. Feiglin. Local Muslims are not given an inquisition about their beliefs on gays, women, democracy and pluralism, or anything else, before wining and dining them (perhaps not the former), while Mr. Feiglin is treated as an outcast.
Anyone familiar with the JCCV (I sat on its Executive for ten years or so in the 1980s and 1990s) has surely noticed that it is increasingly pursuing a left-wing activist agenda, seemingly at the expense of its central role to defend the interests of the Jewish community.
Given the fact that Moishe Feiglin was here to drum up support for a political party he has founded in Israel (which, incidentally, I do not support), the JCCV’s stance was at best an inappropriate and partisan intrusion into Israeli domestic politics. At worst it was an abuse of its core purpose, marked above all by rampant hypocrisy.
Bill Rubinstein taught at Deakin University and at the University of Wales.