Policy Platform

Preamble

Tracing its origins to the Jews who arrived in Australia aboard the First Fleet on 26 January 1788, the Australian Jewish community is unique among Diaspora communities. Australian Jewry has played a prominent and recognised part in Australia’s history and has made positive contributions, out of proportion to its numbers, to the development of Australian society.

For the Jewish community, Australia has indeed been the lucky country bestowing upon us the blessings of freedom and respect for human life and dignity. Quite simply we are at home here, something that sadly has not always been the Jewish experience in other parts of the world.

We celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of talented and hardworking individuals and groups from within the Australian Jewish community and are proud of the part they have played in the many cultural, sporting, scientific, political, social and economic achievements of this great diverse country. Not least among our number have been Jewish men and women, many of whom paid the ultimate price, who have served at home and abroad in times of war to defend Australia and the principles of freedom and justice which our country cherishes.

What follows is the current policy platform of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ). These policies are derived from the beliefs and values of the Australian Jewish community, which we are confident enhance general Australian values of democracy and human rights; individual freedom and the rule of law; social justice and compassion; mutual understanding and respect; and a fair go for all.

1. Social Inclusion

This Council:
1.1NOTES that it is the vision of the ECAJ to create and support a community in which all Australians, including all Jewish Australians:
(a) feel valued and their cultural differences are respected;
(b) have a fair opportunity to meet their material and other needs; and
(c) are equally empowered as citizens to participate in and contribute to all facets of life in the wider community;
1.2NOTES that as Australians we take great pride in what we see as the uniquely Australian values of social egalitarianism, “mateship” and a “fair go”;
1.3REAFFIRMS our profound commitment on behalf of the Australian Jewish community to the dignity of difference, gender equality, and a belief in the equality of humankind;
1.4PROUDLY AFFIRMS our ongoing commitment to reconciliation with indigenous Australians, to a multiculturalism that draws people into, rather than separates them from, Australian life, and to an Australia that is inclusive for all Australians and respects gender equality;
1.5ACKNOWLEDGES that in the Jewish community, social exclusion may result from a number of factors including: lack of educational or vocational opportunities; low levels of income; mental or physical illness or disability; or immigration without social support, and that such exclusion most often results in individuals being prevented through no fault of their own, from building a better future for themselves and their families;
1.6NOTES that poverty amongst Australian Jews is no less prevalent than in other sectors of the Australian community and that aspects of inequality from which poverty stems and which require further investigation and support are:

  • Work opportunities particularly in the case of immigrants, families with young children, large families and religiously observant families and older people and people with a disability;
  • Access and Equity in the utilization of services – where members of the community do not have access to contacts, groups and opportunities which empower them to access the mainstream Jewish community and the wider society. This can arise from the inability to speak English, or lack of education and information, or lack of sufficient income to participate;
  • Social stigmas where individuals experience social exclusion from the community as a result of mental illness, disability, or choice of lifestyle;
1.7ACKNOWLEDGES that across Australia there are numerous Jewish organizations whose role is to assist members of the Jewish community to overcome social exclusion and ameliorate poverty. There are community services, aged care services, and disability services, and there are educational institutions and synagogues that, inter alia, contribute to this work;
1.8RECOGNISES that the role of the ECAJ is to encourage organizations across Australia to: identify and rectify gaps in services that ought to be provided; encourage such organizations to seek opportunities to reach out to and provide services for those who are marginalized, and to engage Federal government departments to assist the community to ensure that the most comprehensive services are provided;
1.9RECORDS its belief that the maximum benefit across Australia will only be achieved by the Jewish community working at both national and State levels;
1.10SUPPORTS the development of projects, especially in smaller and regional communities, which bring hope encompassing a range of policy and program domains at many levels: education, training, employment, affordable childcare, assistance with housing, a range of disability and aged care services – support for care-givers; and above all – building up at community levels a network of supportive services, amenities and accessible transport facilities and social mentoring which reduce stigma and social exclusion from the networks and vibrant life of our community;
1.11WELCOMES the efforts of the Federation of Jewish Aged and Community Service Organisations in assisting to achieve these objectives.

2. Racism in Australia

This Council:
2.1DEPLORES all manifestations of racist action and speech, including antisemitism;
2.2SUPPORTS the work of the Australian Human Rights Commission and other public programs to educate Australians regarding the irrationality and evil of racism;
2.3CALLS ON leaders of all mainstream political parties to consistently articulate a vision of Australia which embraces cultural diversity and in which respect for the dignity and rights of each Australian is guaranteed;
2.4CALLS ON all mainstream political parties to place racist divisive and extremist candidates in the last positions when allocating electoral preferences;
2.5CALLS ON political, civil and religious leaders to play public, leadership roles in emphasizing the unacceptability of racism;
2.6WELCOMES the appointment by the Australian Government of a Race Discrimination Commissioner within the Australian Human Rights Commission separate to other Commissioner roles.
2.7WELCOMES and supports the adoption and implementation of the National Anti-Racism Strategy launched by the Australian Government in August 2012

3. Anti-Racism Legislation

This Council:
3.1NOTES the activities of extremist organizations, the currency of certain racist myths, the proliferation of racist material on the internet and the tolerance given to racist commentary by some sections of the mainstream media;
3.2NOTES the incidence of racial vilification and racially-motivated violence in Australia;
3.3AFFIRMS that effective responses to racism include moral and political leadership from public figures, legislation to give victims of racism legal remedies, and on-going public education;
3.4COMMENDS those public figures who have taken a leadership position against racism, including antisemitism;
3.5CALLS ON the Federal Government to strengthen legislative measures to combat racial vilification in the public domain and especially on the internet and to provide more streamlined, expeditious and effective remedies to individuals and groups who are the targets of public acts of racial vilification.
3.6NOTES that the provisions of Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act have served the community well and have assisted in publically  exposing racist behaviour and in having  such behaviour proscribed.
3.7EXPRESSES CONCERN at proposals to amend those provisions in a manner that would reduce or remove important protections against racial vilification.
3.8RESOLVES to renew the efforts of the ECAJ to explain its support for existing legislative protections against racial vilification and to advocate the retention and enhancement of the those protections.
3.9OPPOSES any proposals for winding back the protections against offensive behaviour based on racial hatred presently provided under Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act, 1975 (Cth).
3.10COMMENDS the Federal Government for recognizing the need to reform the previous “urging violence in the community” offences in the Commonwealth Criminal Code BUT NOTES WITH DISAPPOINTMENT that, despite the Minister’s assurance that workable provisions would be enacted to address this need, the relevant provisions of the National Security Legislation Amendment Act 2010 are unlikely to be at all workable because:

  1. the elements of the proposed offences have been formulated so restrictively that it will be effectively impossible for a prosecutor to prove those elements to the criminal standard; and
  2. the availability of defences under section 80.3 to charges under these sections is completely misconceived;
3.11EXPRESSES ITS DISAPPOINTMENT that the Federal Government enacted the “urging violence” provisions in the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 in the same form in which they appeared prior to the inquiry conducted by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee in 2010 and without apparent regard for the written submissions and recommendations made by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the Australian Human Rights Commission and others to that inquiry;
3.12CALLS ON the Federal Government to review as a matter of urgency the provisions of Subdivision C (“Urging Violence”) of Division 80 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and to adopt the recommendations for reform of the legislation made to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry in its written submission dated 21 April 2010.

4. Aboriginal Reconciliation

This Council:
4.1RECOGNISES Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first Australians, with unique cultures, languages and spiritual relationships to the land and seas;
4.2PURSUES a vision of an Australia that provides equal rights and life chances for all;
4.3AFFIRMS the fundamental importance of reconciliation as the basis of an Australian Community which respects the diversity of values, cultures, ideas and the contribution of all people;
4.4SUPPORTS Reconciliation Australia’s National Program of Action which encourages organizations and individuals to turn their good intentions into action;
4.5AFFIRMS that the ECAJ will continue to develop and implement a Reconciliation Action Plan that includes actions, timeframes for implementation and performance measures;Areas for action may include the ECAJ using its networks to:

  • raise Community awareness and understanding of the historic, social and economic factors which contribute to the current levels of disadvantage confronting many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
  • influence governments and businesses to address the systemic issues that keep many Aboriginal and Strait Islander people and their communities in poor health and poverty.
  • support human rights based approaches to economic and social development programs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; and
  • lead inter-faith alliances to develop and provide targeted financial and capacity building support to selected projects which strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organizations’ governance, management, service delivery and professional development.
4.6ENCOURAGES the Jewish community in Australia to increase its knowledge and understanding of the identity and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and reflect this awareness in our social relationships and our support for their advancement;
4.7CALLS UPON the governments, business and civil communities and people of Australia to take action to reduce the relative disadvantage many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may face by improving education, health, housing, employment, governance, social and communal relationships and law and justice;
4.8CALLS ON Jewish organizations around Australia to speak out in favour of reconciliation, actively participate in the annual events, Week of Prayer for Reconciliation and National Reconciliation Week
4.9SUPPORTS amendments to the Australian Constitution which will:

  1. articulate the fundamental values of Australian society;
  2. recognise the distinct identities and rights of Indigenous Australians arising from their prior and unique relationships with their lands, territories and resources;
  3. repeal current provisions in the Constitution which are based on racial discrimination (sections 25 and 51(xxvi));
  4. provide for the insertion of an enforceable guarantee of racial equality that would apply generally to the Parliament’s power to legislate (the racial equality guarantee);
  5. empower the Australian Government, notwithstanding the racial equality guarantee, to pass laws with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for their benefit and advancement;
  6. empower the Australia government to negotiate and conclude agreements with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on matters that affect their communities, and for the terms of such agreements to apply notwithstanding any inconsistency with existing State or Federal laws, in accordance with this Council’s written submission dated 26 September 2011 to The Expert Panel on the Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians.

4a. Honouring William Cooper

4a.1RECALLS with gratitude and respect that on the 6th December 1938, several weeks after the campaign of anti-Jewish violence during Kristallnacht in Germany, William Cooper, the Secretary of the Australian Aborigines’ League and an elder of the Yorta Yorta people, headed a delegation of Aboriginal people to the German Consulate in Melbourne to deliver a petition which condemned the “cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government of Germany.” This was the only known private protest anywhere in the world against the Nazi regime following Kristallnacht;
4a.2RECALLS FURTHER that:

  1. the action taken by William Cooper and his supporters occurred at a time when Aboriginal people themselves were denied citizenship and other basic human rights in Australia and were frequently subjected to appalling physical, social and economic privations; and
  2. William Cooper was a fearless advocate for Aboriginal people in seeking direct representation in parliament, enfranchisement and land rights on their behalf;
4a.3NOTES with pride and satisfaction that the memory of William Cooper has been honoured by the Jewish community in Australia in ceremonies with his descendants in Melbourne and Sydney.;
4a.4APPLAUDS:

  1. the action taken by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Israel to commemorate the courage of William Cooper by displaying a plaque in a Memorial Garden in his honor; and
  2. the establishment by the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem of an academic chair (professorship) for the study of the Resistance during the Holocaust in tribute to William Cooper;
4a.5CALLS UPON the Australian government as soon as possible to introduce a suitable form of national commemoration of the life and work of this great Australian.

5. Multiculturalism

This Council:
5.1AFFIRMS its support for Australia’s policy of multiculturalism, which has served Australia well as a basis for the social harmony which for all Australians to enjoy;
5.2Welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment to multiculturalism as a policy which respects the right of all Australians to express their individual cultural identity, and to maintain and share their cultural heritage, within an overriding commitment to Australia and the basic values of Australian democracy and the rule of law;
5.3COMMENDS the Government’s policy of ensuring access and equity in the provision of government services, including the provision of mechanisms to address the barriers faced by immigrants who are not yet familiar with Australian culture and language; and
5.4WELCOMES the establishment of the Australian Multicultural Council as a body dedicated to articulating and promoting a distinctively Australian model of multiculturalism in accordance with clause 5.2.

6. On-Line Services and the Internet

This Council:
6.1NOTES the value of the Internet in communicating information, knowledge and ideas but notes also that the Internet is increasingly being abused by individuals and organisations for the purpose of propagating racism including antisemitism;
6.2RECOGNISES the complexities involved in any system of regulation of on-line services;
6.3AFFIRMS the view that any communication by traditional means which is unlawful is and should be equally unlawful if it is effected through on-line services;
6.4SUPPORTS moves to bring in a Code of Practice for Australian Internet Service Providers and other regulatory measures for the Internet based on the principles that:

  • Nothing that it is unlawful to print or broadcast should be able to escape legal prohibition merely because it is published or communicated through on-line services.
  • No person, entity or organization should be punished for an act they could not reasonably know has been committed.
  • The right to freedom of speech must be respected, bearing in mind that in democratic societies this right (as with all other rights) is not unlimited and, for example, does not permit the commission or promotion of unlawful acts, or other behaviour harmful to the community or any section of the community.
  • Governments have a responsibility to counter the activities of those who harass and/or promote contempt and hatred for any section of the community.
  • In these respects, the Internet should not be regarded differently to other means by which speech and ideas are disseminated.

7. Refugees and Asylum Seekers

This Council:
7.1NOTES with grave concern the increase in the number of people around the world who have been made refugees as a result of war and civil conflict;
7.2RECOGNISES the difficulties faced by successive Australian Governments in balancing the Government’s obligations to its citizens to carry out proper screening (including health and security checks) on all potential new entrants to Australia, in particular unauthorised arrivals, and the Government’s humanitarian obligations under the International Convention on the Status of Refugees (1951) (the Refugee Convention) and the 1967 Protocol to the Refugee Convention, as well as under customary international law;
7.3RECALLS WITH SHAME that especially prior to, but also during and immediately after, World War II many thousands of Jewish refugees attempting to flee persecution in Europe were denied entry into other countries or forced to engage “smugglers” to try to escape to freedom;
7.4RECALLS that the Refugee Convention came into existence in belated recognition by the international community of the great wrong that had been done by ostensibly civilised nations in refusing to grant asylum to Jewish refugees fleeing from Europe prior to and during World War II, and as a principled and compassionate response to the moral imperative of assisting European Jews in seeking new homes after the Holocaust;
7.5NOTES the important and positive contribution that Jewish and other refugees, from many countries, have made to Australian society and the development of Australia;
7.6NOTES that in the past, after proper processing of their claims by Australian officials, the vast majority of those seeking asylum in Australia have been found to be genuine refugees who had fled their country of usual residence because of a well-founded fear of persecution;
7.7ACCORDINGLY CALLS UPON the Australian Government:

  1. to process applications by persons seeking asylum in Australia as expeditiously as possible and in a spirit of compassion, regardless of whether those applications are made through the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees;
  2. to work constructively with other governments and appropriate non-government organisations, to ameliorate the plight of refugees around the world and in Australia;
  3. to implement in good faith and with humanity, Australia’s important legal and moral obligations with respect to refugees;
  4. not to hold women and children asylum seekers in mandatory detention while their applications for recognition of their refugee status are processed; and
  5. to desist from actions that are likely to result in persons who seek asylum in Australia being sent to countries which are not parties to the Refugee Convention;
7.8URGES all Australians to engage in discussion of the issues in a considered and respectful manner and without resorting to pejorative generalisations, and preferably without partisanship;

7a. Refugees and Asylum Seekers - Regional Settlement Arrangements

This Council:
7a.1NOTES that

  1. Australia signed a Regional Resettlement Arrangement with Papua New Guinea (PNG) on 19 July 2013 and on 3 August 2013 a memorandum of understanding for refugee processing and resettlement was also signed with the Republic of Nauru (the PNG and Nauru Arrangements);
  2. the Australian Government’s announced policy to the effect that every asylum seeker (without any exceptions whatever, even for pregnant women or unaccompanied children with family already in Australia) arriving after that policy announcement on an unauthorised boat, without a visa will:                                                 – be sent to the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre for assessment by PNG or to Nauru;                                                       – if found to be a refugee, be settled in PNG, or another participating regional state, but not in Australia;                                                      – if found not to be a refugee, be returned to a home or other country of residence or detained in PNG;
  3. notwithstanding Prime Minister Rudd’s statements that asylum seekers arriving unauthorised by boats will “never” be resettled in Australia and the Government’s advertising campaign to the same effect, the new policy expressly provides that a person found to be a refugee and resettled in PNG, Nauru or another participating regional state, may then apply to come to Australia through regular migration, if they wish;
  4. although PNG and Nauru are parties to the 1951 Convention in Relation to the Status of Refugees (the Refugee Convention) and its 1967 Protocol, they are developing countries where the contribution of resources by Australia to enable processing and resettlement of refugees in PNG and Nauru will take a considerable period of time, and PNG has to date maintained reservations to provisions of the Refugee Convention imposing responsibility to safeguard refugees’ rights such as the right to work and to education;
  5. while the PNG and Nauru Arrangements provide that Papua New Guinea will withdraw its said reservations to the Refugee Convention and Australia will bear the cost of resettlement in Papua New Guinea, the UNHCR has expressed concern, based on visits by its representatives to PNG, about significant shortcomings in Papua New Guinea’s ability to legally and humanely process asylum-seekers, including a lack of national capacity and expertise in processing, and poor physical conditions within open-ended, mandatory and arbitrary detention settings”.
7a.2RECOGNISES that

  1. there is some uncertainty as to how the Australian Government’s policy will be applied or will operate;
  2. there are serious problems facing any Australian Government as a result of the increasing activity of criminals arranging unauthorised boat passages to Australia and a significant increase in the number of unauthorised maritime arrivals in Australia;
  3. losses of innocent lives at sea have occurred and are continuing to occur and this in addition poses risks to the lives and safety of Australian service personnel tasked with intercepting them;
  4. it is legitimate for the Australian government to deal with these problems, and to prevent loss of life by measures which include appropriate regional arrangements and cooperation, provided that that can be done without breach of Australia’s legal obligations under the Refugee Convention or otherwise under international law;
  5. asylum seekers, whether they are unauthorised maritime arrivals, or people waiting in camps in Africa and Asia who have applied to come to Australia via the UNHCR, should be regarded as individual human beings who have hopes and aspirations and dreams and feel the same pain and suffer the same grief as each of us;
  6. the Australian government needs to balance the competing moral and legal claims of those asylum seekers who attempt to enter Australia as unauthorised maritime arrivals and those who are not in the public’s line of sight and languish in camps in Africa and Asia after having applied to come to Australia by regular means via the UNHCR and whose time of waiting is increased by the admission of unauthorised maritime arrivals into Australia;
  7. the admission of asylum seekers is a humanitarian act, and successive Australian Governments (both Labor and Coalition) have accepted that this engages Australia’s international obligations;
  8. the importance of dealing with policy concerning the admission of asylum seekers in a fair, humane and appropriate way preferably without partisanship; and
  9. the regrettable absence, after many years of public debate and shifts in public opinion and government policy, of an overall policy that is widely accepted as the morally correct one.
7a.3CALLS ON the Australian Government:

  1. to confirm that asylum seekers transferred to PNG or Nauru and found to be a refugee and resettled in PNG, Nauru or another participating regional state, will then be able to apply to come to Australia through regular migration, if they wish;
  2. to treat any application for reunion with family in Australia on its individual merits in line with existing family reunion policies and as an ordinary immigration application rather than as an application for refugee status;
  3. to ensure civilised and well-informed public discourse on issues relating to refugees and immigration;
  4. not to adopt any policy which arbitrarily limits or excludes from refugee protection any category of people with a genuine and well-founded fear of persecution in their homeland;
  5. act to prevent the loss of innocent lives at sea that arises from the increasing activity of criminals arranging unauthorised boat passages to Australia and the risks this poses to the lives and safety of Australian service personnel tasked with intercepting them;
  6. to work constructively with the Parliament and with other governments, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and appropriate non-governmentorganisations to:(i) implement Australia’s important legal and moral obligations with respect to refugees;(ii) process applications by persons seeking asylum as expeditiously as possible and in a spirit of compassion, whether or not those applications are made through the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees;(iii) ameliorate the plight of refugees in our region, around the world as well as in Australia, and(iv) encourage each of our regional neighbours not yet party to the Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol to become parties.
  7. to ensure any program to resettle genuine refugees in developing countries (including PNG and Nauru and other countries which are parties to the Refugee Convention), is consistent with Australia’s international treaty obligations and commitment to the humane treatment of refugees while also dedicating sufficient funds, personnel and other resources to that program, to ensure that refugees are safe from violence and from discrimination and that their human rights, including the right to adequate health, education and other services and to the extent practicable to work, are properly accommodated, and that there is no net disadvantage to the local population, and further that asylum seekers whose applications for refugee status is pending:
    • have their individual claims and circumstances assessed fairly and within a reasonable time;
    • are not subjected to unsafe or harsh conditions while that is occurring;
    • not to be subject to non-reviewable detention or unsafe or harsh conditions while that is occurring; and
    • are effectively protected against refoulement.

8. Accommodation of Religious Practices

This Council:
8.1NOTES decisions by a number of instrumentalities which recognise and support the right of all staff to meet their religious and ceremonial obligations, regardless of religious, ethnic or cultural background;
8.2RECOGNISES the right of all Australians to observe religious and ceremonial obligations;
8.3SUPPORTS the work of the Australian Human Rights Commission in enhancing religious freedom in Australia;
8.4CALLS UPON government and employer organizations to respect and accommodate, as a matter of policy, the right of employees to meet the obligations of their faiths; and
8.5CALLS UPON the Australian Government to make provision in Australia’s industrial relations legislation to ensure that religious and ceremonial obligations can be observed without attracting the threat of loss of employment.

9. National Framework of Human Rights

This Council:
9.1NOTES the decision of the Australian Government to abandon the proposal to introduce an Australian Charter of Human Rights;
9.2NOTES that the Australian Government has published a ‘National Framework of Human Rights’ which, among other things, proposes ‘harmonisation’ of State and Federal laws prohibiting racial and religious discrimination and vilification;
9.3NOTES the significant differences that exist between Federal and State law on these issues and between the laws of the various States;
9.4CAUTIONS the Australian Government against embracing any concept of ‘harmonisation’ that might result in the adoption of a ‘lowest common denominator’ legslative regime which would wind back hard-won legal protections that are now in place in some jurisdictions in Australia but not in others including, but not limited to, Western Australia’s criminal sanctions against racial intimidation and harassment.

10. Persons Accused of International Crimes

This Council:
10.1NOTES the affirmation by the Australian Government in 1987 that Australia must not serve as a haven for individuals who participated in crimes against humanity during the course of the Nazi Genocide;
10.2RECOGNISES the difficulties encountered in the trials of alleged Nazi war criminals thus far conducted in Australia;
10.3RECOGNISES that major legal and political obstacles needed to be overcome to establish extradition treaties with some of the countries which were the scene of the crimes of the Holocaust;
10.4RECOGNISES that extradition of Nazi war criminals to the countries of their origin and where their crimes took place is not a substitute for effective Australian legislation but is a welcome complement to it;
10.5SUPPORTS the process of developing extradition treaties between Australia and all countries in which individuals may have participated in genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes prior to arriving in Australia; and
10.6CALLS UPON the Australian Government to amend Australia’s citizenship laws so as to allow for individuals who were born outside Australia and who, at the time of entering Australia, concealed their involvement in genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity in any context, to have their Australian citizenship removed, regardless of the length of time they have held citizenship.

11. National Ceremonies

This Council:
11.1CALLS ON the local, State, Territory and Federal Governments and non-government organisations to recognise that national ceremonies, celebrations and memorials should be inclusive and not make use of religious words and symbols that may effectively exclude some Australian citizens.

11a. People With Disabilities and Their Carers

This Council:
11a.1NOTES the active role undertaken by the Australian Human Rights Commission in advocating for the rights of people with disabilities and their carers;
11a.2WELCOMES the efforts of the Australian Government to develop a national disability insurance scheme;
11a.3NOTES that through Jewish Care and other Jewish community organisations, support for people with disabilities and their carers is a major Jewish community priority;
11a.4RESOLVES to support all efforts to achieve a sustainable and effective national disability insurance scheme;
11a.5COMMENDS the work of the AUstralian Human Rights Commission in advocating for the rights of people with disabilities and their carers; and
11a.6CALLS ON the entire Australian community to extend the fullest respect and dignity for people with disabilities and their carers.

SECTION 2 – JEWISH LIFE IN AUSTRALIA

12. Jewish Education

This Council:
12.1NOTES with great pride, that Australia has a strong record for provision of day school education and that the Jewish Community maintains a number of independent day schools throughout the nation which are essential to Jewish learning and our community’s continuity;
12.2STRESSES the importance of Jewish day schools and other Jewish education providers having high quality Jewish Studies and Hebrew curricula;
12.3RECONFIRMS the responsibility of leaders of Australian Jewry to seek to ensure that no Jewish child is denied full-time Jewish education due to financial considerations; and the continued responsibility of leaders of Australian Jewry to support organisations that provide Jewish education of children who are outside of the Jewish day school system to ensure Jewish continuity for all;
12.4NOTES with great pride, that Australia has a strong record for provision of day school education and that the Jewish Community maintains a number of independent day schools throughout the nation which are essential to Jewish learning and our community’s continuity;
12.5NOTES that the provision of Jewish education to Jewish students who do not attend Jewish day schools, particularly through the Academy BJE and NSW Board of Progressive Jewish Education in New South Wales and the United Jewish Education Board in Victoria, is essential to ensuring Jewish learning and our community’s continuity for those outside of the Jewish day school movement and organisation;
12.6EXPRESSES support for the Zionist Federation of Australia initiated “Teaching Israel” program and CALLS ON all Jewish Day Schools and Boards of Jewish Education and Boards of Progressive Jewish Education to substantially increase the teaching of modern Israel and contemporary issues facing Israel and world and Australian Jewry in programs offered from Year 6 to Year 11; and
12.7RECORDS its appreciation to the Federal Government for its initiatives in granting funds to independent schools (including Jewish day schools) to assist them to meet their security costs and in granting tax deductibility for gifts to funds established by them to meet such costs.

13. Communal Fundraising for Jewish Education

This Council:
13.1CALLS ON Jewish communal and fund-raising organisations to explore additional methods of alleviating financial constraints affecting Jewish day school education and the ability of Jewish day schools to provide the highest quality Jewish education;
13.2CALLS ON Jewish communal and fund-raising organisations to explore additional methods to ensure that these bodies are properly and adequately resourced, and to establish similar bodies and/or Jewish education providers in other States and Territories of Australia and in communities outside the major centres of Jewish life; and
13.3CALLS ON Jewish communal and fund-raising organizations to invest in teachers and the teaching of Hebrew and Jewish studies and to see that investment as a critical contribution towards Jewish continuity in Australia.

14. Secure Schools Funding

This Council:
14.1RECALLS its concern during 2009 at the lack of a consistent and equitable national approach in the allocation of funds to Jewish Schools in Round 1 of the Government’s Secure School Funding Scheme;
14.2NOTES that on 12 November 2009, the National Co-Chairs of the Australian Council of Jewish Schools (ACJS) met with the Minister for Home Security, the Hon.Brendon O’Connor MP in Melbourne for the purpose of discussing the allocation of funds in Rounds 2, 3 and 4 of the Funding Scheme;
14.3NOTES WITH SATISFACTION that the Minister for Home Security indicated, on a currently preliminary basis, that he would welcome an equitable allocation of the Funding Scheme to Jewish schools based on a minimum allocation in the same amount per school with the remaining amount to be based on the enrolment numbers at each school, subject to the Government being satisfied that the expenditure was for the purposes of the Funding Scheme;
14.4RECOGNISES AND AFFIRMS that future funding for Rounds 2, 3 and 4 on that basis would not only be equitable but would provide a consistent basis for the allocation of Secure Schools Funding nationally;
14.5RESOLVES to convey to the ACJS the ECAJ’s appreciation for the effort and approach and encourages its final implementation.

15. Tertiary Jewish Education

This Council:
15.1NOTES the development of Jewish tertiary education and encourages Jewish students, particularly day-school graduates, to take advantage of the learning opportunities at these institutions and welcomes all initiatives to fund academic positions and offer scholarships and financial support to enhance this development.

16. University Exchange Programs with Israel

This Council:
16.1NOTES that some Australian Universities treat exchange programs with Israeli universities less favourably than exchange programs with other Western countries’ universities;
16.2CALLS upon all Australian Universities to treat exchange programs with Israeli universities no less favourably than exchange programs with other Western countries’ universities.

17. Israel Experience Programs

This Council:
17.1NOTES the importance of the relationship between Israel and Australian Jewry;
17.2APPLAUDS the success of many Israel experience programs operated by Australian Jewish organisations in partnership with Israel and in particular Jewish day schools, AUJS, Zionist Federation of Australia and the Zionist youth groups;
17.3RECOGNISES the central role of the Zionist Federation of Australia in promoting and facilitating such programs;
17.4APPLAUDS the establishment of the Israel Experience Fund/birthright Program in Australia by the Zionist Federation of Australia with the support of the United Israel Appeal.

18. Demographic Data and Communal Planning

This Council:
18.1NOTES the importance of the Jewish community basing its decisions and planning on the most reliable information available;
18.2NOTES that the data available to the community from each Australian Bureau of Statistics Census is an important resource;
18.3WELCOMES wholeheartedly the publication in September 2009 of the initial results of the Australian and New Zealand Jewish Population Survey undertaken by the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, with the support of a range of organizations in the Australian Jewish Community (the Gen08 survey) and warmly commends all those who conducted, supported and participated in the Survey; and
18.4CALLS FOR Jewish communal organisations to make full use of the Survey data in their future planning.

19. Government Measures to Combat Antisemitic Violence

This Council:
19.1COMMMENDS the steps taken by Australian police forces to provide visible protection for Jewish communal gatherings;
19.2NOTES the improvement in measures taken by law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute individuals responsible for arson attacks on synagogues, assaults and harassment;
19.3NOTES that still too often the perpetrators of other acts of antisemitic violence against people and property remain unidentified and therefore remain at large;
19.4CALLS ON state and federal law enforcement agencies to urgently upgrade their capacity to pursue and apprehend the perpetrators of acts of racist violence and vandalism and to fund both public and Jewish communal strategies to achieve those ends; and
19.5RECORDS WITH APPRECIATION the Federal Government’s legislation in 2008 designed to alleviate the costly security burden borne by Jewish communities Australia-wide by enabling donations for the purpose of the provision of security to Jewish institutions to be tax deductible.

20. Recording of Incidents of Antisemitic Violence, Vandalism and Harassment

This Council:
20.1NOTES the importance to the Jewish community of the availability to its national leadership of accurate data concerning the nature and extent of antisemetic violence, vandalism, intimidation and harassment in Australia;
20.2NOTES that the only communal bodies which are in a position to act on behalf of the entire Jewish community in each state and territory are the constituents of the ECAJ, which in Victoria is co-ordinated with the ADC;
20.3STRESSES the importance of state constituents making known to the Jewish and wider communities their role in collating information relating to antisemitism;
20.4REAFFIRMS that all community organisations should promptly forward reports of incidents of antisemitism to the Constituent bodies of the ECAJ.

21. Holocaust Denial

This Council:
21.1NOTES that some individuals and organizations in Australia continue to propagate Holocaust Denial including as a means of attacking the Jewish Community;
21.2NOTES the deception employed by Holocaust deniers in the way they present their hatred in quasi-academic guise;
21.3NOTES THAT Holocaust Denial has been found by the Federal Court of Australia to constitute unlawful behaviour;
21.4CALLS ON Jewish organizations to continue their policy of not engaging Holocaust deniers in any public debate which could give credence to Holocaust Denial but to clearly and publicly identify Holocaust deniers as people engaged in antisemitism and promotion of extremist ideologies

22. Relations with Other Ethnic, Religious, Ethno-Religious or Cultural Communities

This Council:
22.1RECOGNISES the distinctive character of the Australian Jewish community as part of the Jewish people, with a shared history, tradition and linguistic and religious heritage, and as a vital and vibrant component of multicultural Australia;
22.2RECOGNISES the pluralistic nature of Australian Jewry and the complex nature of the various ethnicities of Australian Jewry due to diverse language, cultural origin and national background;
22.3ACKNOWLEDGES the right of any Jewish organization to identify as an ethnic, religious, ethno-religious or cultural organization through the choice of the membership of that organization or through its specific aims, objectives and programs consistent with policies and programs of the government relating to ethnic affairs;
22.4VALUES the friendly cooperation and cordial relationship between Australian Jewry and other ethnic, religious, ethno-religious and cultural groups and roof bodies within Australia;
22.5ENCOURAGES close liaison between Jewish organizations, ethnic communities councils and other Australian groups in the pursuit of common policies in the best interests of the whole Australian community.

23. Interfaith Relations

This Council:
23.1CONGRATULATES members of the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews, the Anglican Jewish Australian Dialogue, The National Dialogue of the Uniting Church in Australia/ECAJ and Australian Catholic Bishops Committee/ECAJ Annual Conversation on the conduct and outcome of their meetings;
23.2APPLAUDS the development in Sydney of the Women’s Interfaith Network which now has four branches;
23.3WELCOMES the development of multi-faith events and contacts between bodies representing many diverse faith groups;
23.4APPLAUDS activities which improve the basis for dialogue between Jews and Christians;
23.5AFFIRMS past efforts at improving Jewish-Muslim relations, particularly those which have recognised common concerns in areas such as religious liberty, racial tolerance and recognition of religious rights;
23.6SUPPORTS dialogue and cooperation between Federal, State and Territory representatives of the Jewish community and all other Faith communities with a view to common action for communal tolerance and inter-community cooperation;
23.7CALLS on all religious groups to respect the dignity and right of all people to maintain their own religious traditions;
23.8APPLAUDS the work of APRO, The Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations;
23.3SUPPORTS the expansion of the dialogue process to include other partner organisations representing religious communities.

24. SBS

The Council:
24.1NOTES that, in the past, SBS Television and Radio have been a cause of concern to the Australian Jewish community with regard to the manifestation of anti-Israel bias in some of its news and current affairs programming and content and that common fairness standards have not been applied to material broadcast in languages other than English;
24.2WELCOMES recent improvements in the quality and fairness of the news and current affairs programming and content of SBS Television and Radio with regard to Israel;
24.3NOTES nevertheless the continuing absence of any independent complaints mechanism for SBS and the decision of SBS not to comply with the Australian Standard on Complaints Handling in issuing its 2006 revised Codes of Practice; and
24.4CALLS ON the Federal Government to implement an immediate and effective review mechanism which at the very least will require SBS to comply with the Australian Standard on Complaints Handling and implement an independent complaint resolution tribunal.

25. Religious Broadcasting on the ABC

This Council:
25.1RECALLS the importance for the ABC to maintain the resourcing of religious programming, so as to provide insights into religion and the place of religious movements in public life and to provide Australia with an informative and stimulating religious programming mix including in its move to successful digital growth, and to commit publicly to those objectives;
25.2RECALLS that together with other faith communities, in February 2009, it expressed its concern at the reduction in religious programming on ABC Radio National;
25.3NOTES that at that time, the Managing Director of the ABC said that the ABC had no plans to scrap the religion unit or to scrap specialisation in reporting, but that it proposed to continue to modify programmes, and that in addition to other programming slots, religion will feature in “Background Briefing” which will reach a broader audience and allow for in-depth reporting;
25.4FURTHER NOTES the assurance that the effects of the religious programming decisions made in 2008 are being considered within the review of ABC radio currently underway. The appointment of a new head of radio in mid-2009 will be of significance to the review. The review will provide scope to better articulate questions on specialities, digital media and rural broadcasting;
25.5CALLS UPON the Committee of Management to monitor progress in relation to these matters and report to the Council.

26. Jewish Immigration and Settlement

This Council:
26.1NOTES that the Jewish Community now includes large numbers of Jewish immigrants who are on the fringes of the organised community structure;
26.2RESOLVES THAT Constituent organizations take more active steps to devise and implement innovative programs specifically designed to absorb and integrate these immigrants into our Jewish community’s communal core;
26.3ENCOURAGES Affiliate and Constituent organizations to foster the establishment of a national group of representatives of Jewish immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, to assist in developing Jewish continuity within the Russian-speaking communities and building better relationships between this sector of the community and established Jewish organisations.

27. Young Adults Representation

This Council:
27.1RECOGNISES that the involvement of younger community members is of vital importance to the success of Jewish continuity;
27.2NOTES with concern the lack of youth and young adult representation on some key communal bodies;
27.3RESOLVES to prepare an action plan to develop strategies to encourage youth participation on communal bodies.

28. Jewish Burial Rights

This Council:
28.1NOTES that it has received reports that cemetery authorities in a number of jurisdictions are reviewing policies on permanent tenure of graves;
28.2NOTES Jewish law and tradition require burial in perpetuity;
28.3NOTES that, according to halacha, a grave containing human remains is demarcated as the final resting place of the person concerned and the integrity of the grave must not be altered without explicit Rabbinic authority;
28.4REAFFIRMS the need to maintain arrangements for Jewish burials in perpetuity and calls on cemetery authorities to respect this requirement; and
28.5CALLS UPON State Governments to plan for the future burial needs of their Jewish citizens and ensure that sufficient land is allocated for Jewish communities to bury their dead in accordance with Jewish religious requirements.

29. Gett Refusal

This Council:
29.1RECALLS the concern expressed by the ECAJ at the continued failure to alleviate the plight of victims of wilful Gett refusal;
29.2APPLAUDS the efforts over some years by the Joint Task Force of the ECAJ and the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia to develop useful proposals;
29.3NOTES that the British Parliament has now joined the legislatures of Canada, South Africa and New York in passing laws to provide remedies aimed at releasing those spouses who are “chained” by wilful Gett refusal;
29.4URGES the Australian Government to legislate in the terms of the Report of The Family Law Council of Australia which recommends to the Attorney-General that the joint legislative proposal of the ECAJ and ORA should be enacted as Australian law;
29.5WELCOMES initiatives by the rabbinate to draft a form of pre-nuptial agreement for Jewish couples that is enforceable under Australian law and encourages Jewish couples to sign such an agreement requiring compliance with Beth Din instructions relating to the granting of a Gett in the event of a civil dissolution of the marriage.

30. Shechita

This Council:
30.1NOTES that the slaughtering of bovine and ovine animals according to methods authorised by halacha (shechita) has been an integral part of Jewish life for 3,000 years and that shechita has for centuries been accepted in civilised societies as a humane way of slaughtering such animals for consumption;
30.2AFFIRMS the united view of Rabbinic authorities in Australia that according to halacha:

  1. the pre-slaughter stunning of animals renders such animals unfit for Kosher consumption; and
  2. the post-slaughter stunning of ovine animals renders such animals unfit for Kosher consumption;
30.3FURTHER NOTES that Australian law has always permitted the slaughter of animals and poultry according to shechita and, in particular, has never required the pre-slaughter stunning of animals or the post-slaughter stunning of ovine animals;
30.4WELCOME the decision of the Primary Industries Ministerial Council on 28 October 2011 to “continue discussions with the religious groups in order to settle an applicable risk management framework” without requiring existing laws and regulations permitting shechita to be changed and without accepting proposals to require the pre-slaughter stunning of animals or the post-slaughter stunning of ovine animals;
30.5AFFIRMS the united view of Rabbinic authorities in Australia that according to halacha:

  1. the banning of shechita is historically associated with attempts to delegitimise Jewish religious practices and has long been a manifestation of antisemitism; and
  2. allowing recreational hunting in New Zealand, with animal death and injury in numbers far greater than are affected by shechita, is indicative of a double standard being applied to the Jewish community vis a vis animal welfare.
30.6NOTES that Jewish communities around the world, including Australia and New Zealand, have committed themselves to cooperating with animal welfare officers to ensure that Kosher slaughter meets the highest industry standards and conforms to Jewish Law and that:

  1. The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act protects the rights of individuals to manifest their religion including the right to uphold traditional practices and adhere to religious dietary requirements.
  2. The New Zealand National Animal Welfare Advisory Council itself recommended that an existing exemption to allow for shechita be continued by the Minister for Agriculture.
  3. Jewish communities have lived and flourished in New Zealand for over 160 years.
  4. The ban on shechita causes real hardship to the Jewish community in New Zealand and threatens its long-term viability as a community.
30.7CALLS UPON the New Zealand government to reverse its ban on shechitawith immediate effect and to commit itself to working with the Jewish community to ensure that Jews are able to practise their religion including local slaughter of livestock according to Kosher dietary requirements

31. Brit Milah

This Council:
31.1NOTES with concern challenges to the practice of Brit Milah;
31.2RECOGNISES that Brit Milah, according to halachic process, is an essential and definitive rite of Jewish identity;
31.3AFFIRMS its commitment to protect the right of Jewish families to continue the observance of Brit Milah by competent Mohelim.

31a. Counteracting Hatred and Discrimination Against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Persons

This Council:
31a.1RECOGNISES that the Australian Jewish community is part of the Jewish people worldwide, with a shared history, culture and religious tradition and is at the same time diverse and pluralistic, with its members holding different views on a range of issues;
31a.2CALLS FOR mutual respect for the human dignity of all members of the community, despite any strongly held differences; recognition that disagreement is possible in ways that do not vilify other persons or their views; and avoidance of any public or private conduct that incites hatred, ridicule or contempt of another person or class of persons on the ground of their sexual orientation or gender identity; and, in accordance with the foregoing principles;
31a.3OPPOSES any form of hatred of any person on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity;
31a.4ACKNOWLEDGES that there is still much work to be done to remove intolerance of and unlawful discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons in the Jewish community and the wider Australian community, and to provide adequate services and support for them and their families; and
31a.5CALLS ON persons and organisations in the Jewish community to support that work both in our community and in the wider Australian community.

Section 3 – Israel and International Affairs

32. Israel

This Council:
32.1APPLAUDS the efforts by successive Israeli governments to bring about a just and lasting peace and a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
32.2SUPPORTS the principle of two-States for two peoples, as the only principle upon which a just and sustainable peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbours can be built and notes with appreciation that the Australian Government’s policy statements have consistently affirmed that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians can only be resolved through direct negotiations;
32.2AURGES Australia to join the US, Canada, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic, among other democratic nations which have announced their opposition to the Palestinian bid for recognition by the United Nations of a unilaterally declared Palestinian State, in voting against any such proposal in the General Assembly, rather than merely abstaining;
32.3NOTES with appreciation that all major political parties in Australia:

  • (a) are committed to supporting an enduring and just two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the right of Israel to live in peace within secure borders, internationally recognised and agreed by the parties, and reflecting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to also live in peace and security within their own state; and
  • (b) have repeatedly condemned and called for an end to Palestinian terrorist attacks deliberately aimed at killing and maiming Israeli civilians and the continued smuggling of arms and munitions into Gaza;
32.4APPLAUDS the support of successive Australian Governments for international calls for the Palestinian Authority to renounce and prevent violence and incitement against Israel and for Hamas to recognise Israel, to renounce and prevent violence and incitement against Israel and to affirm and implement all agreements with Israel that have been entered into by the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Palestinian Authority;
32.5REAFFIRMS Australian Jewry’s strong and unshakeable solidarity with Israel and her people;
32.6DEPLORES and CONDEMNS unreservedly as antisemitic all attempts to demonise or delegitimise Israel as the State of the Jewish people by:

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of Israel or its military forces standards of behaviour higher than those expected or demanded of any other democratic nation or its military forces.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel.
  • Calling for discriminatory boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel.
32.7STRONGLY URGES all Jews, individually as well as communally and institutionally, to visit Israel and schedule events in Israel.
Click here for
Australia and Israel: A Pictorial History

33. Jerusalem

This Council:
33.1REAFFIRMS the centrality of Jerusalem historically, religiously and culturally to Jews and Judaism;
33.2STRESSES the need for free access and worship for Jews at all religious sites, including The Temple Mount;
33.3CALLS ON the Australian Government to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem and to transfer the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

34.

35. Ron Arad

This Council:
35.1SHARES the heartfelt concerns of all Israelis about the fate of Israeli airman Ron Arad, who went missing in action in Lebanon in 1986;
35.2CALLS UPON the Australian Government to continue to make representations to the United Nations and to all relevant Middle East states, and in particular Iran, Syria and Lebanon, urging them to seek and provide information concerning the fate of Ron Arad.

35a. Jonathan Pollard

This Council:
35a.1NOTES with concern that American citizen Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of espionage against the United States and sentenced to life imprisonment, has been incarcerated for more than 25 years, far longer than others who have been convicted of even more serious espionage offences;
35a.2NOTES FURTHER that at the time of Jonathan Pollard’s sentencing in 1987, secret charges were laid against him blaming him for the crimes of a Russian mole within American intelligence, Aldrich Ames, and that Pollard was neither informed of these charges nor given a chance to challenge them in a court of law;
35a.3ENDORSES public statements made by former US assistant secretary of defense, Lawrence J. Korb, former CIA director James Woolsey and former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, as well as a cross-section of other notable Americans, and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, which have described the punishment imposed on Jonathan Pollard as “grossly disproportionate” and have called for his immediate release;
35a.4CALLS UPON the Australian government to use its good offices with the government of the United States to express its concern about the length of Jonathan Pollard’s incarceration and to urge the US President to exercise his powers of clemency by commuting Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence to the time he has already served.

36. Terrorism

This Council:
36.1JOINS in mourning the victims of terrorism in Israel and throughout the world, and extends condolences to the relatives and friends of those who have been murdered, and sympathy and best wishes for a full recovery to the injured;
36.2SUPPORTS efforts to prevent terrorist attacks, including the enactment of effective anti-terrorism laws, the allocation of resources for the efficient investigation of terrorist crimes and the arrest and prosecution of terrorist suspects, and Australia’s participation in the international war against terrorism;
36.3URGES the United Nations and all governments to take effective action against countries which serve as a haven and provide bases and support for terrorists;
36.4NOTES the importance of legislation designed to counter terrorism and to provide security in a manner that properly recognises the required balance between civil liberties and law enforcement, and recognising that the great majority of Australian Muslims abhor terrorism;
36.5CALLS ON the Federal Government to take effective measures and make appropriate arrangements where necessary with other governments, to prevent the transmission into or within Australia, by television or radio or through the internet, of material that promotes any form of terrorism, and applauds all efforts that help to ensure that the cohesion of Australia’s multicultural society is not prejudiced;
36.6URGES the Australian and other governments to act against Palestinian and other anti-Israeli terrorist organizations such as Hamas, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad;
36.7CALLS ON the Federal Government to make appropriate arrangements with other governments to develop more refined and effective norms of international law to deal with the problems posed by armed attacks carried out by non-State actors.

37. Iran

This Council:
37.1NOTES widespread reports of systematic human rights abuses by the Iranian regime in virtually every facet of Iran’s political, social and economic life, aimed particularly at minority religious and ethnic communities, but also at women, students and trade unionists, including government-sponsored extra-judicial killings, the trial and execution of minors and the use of horrific forms of torture against detainees;
37.2REQUESTS the Australian Government to continue to investigate reports of this nature and continue to make representations in support of the victims at all appropriate forums;
37.3SUPPORTS the international condemnation of President Ahmadinejad’s repeated statements calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and his antisemitic Holocaust-denial statements;
37.4SUPPORTS the efforts of the Argentine government and Interpol to arrest and bring to trial the alleged perpetrators of the bombing of the Argentine Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1994;
37.5NOTES that:

  1. Iran became a non-nuclear weapon state party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970, and concluded a Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1974, under which Iran accepted safeguards (IAEA inspections) for the purpose of verifying that nuclear material is not diverted to nuclear weapons or to other nuclear explosive devices.
  2. In February 2006, the IAEA Board of Governors submitted a report to the UN Security Council on its difficulties with Iran and noted “Iran’s many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its NPT Safeguards Agreement ….”( IAEA Board of Governors Res. GOV/2006/14 (4 Feb. 2006));
  3. the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter in Resolution 1835, has expressed its serious concern that, “as confirmed by the reports of 23 May 2007 (GOV/2007/22), 30 August 2007 (GOV/2007/48), 15 November 2007 (GOV/2007/58) and 22 February 2008 (GOV/2008/4) of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has not established full and sustained suspension of all enrichment related and reprocessing activities and heavy water-related projects as set out in resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), and 1747(2007), nor resumed its cooperation with the IAEA under the Additional Protocol to the NPT, nor taken the other steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors, nor complied with the provisions of Security Council resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007) and which are essential to build confidence” and has imposed certain sanctions upon Iran which have failed to result in Iran complying with the aforementioned requirements;
  4. the Iranian regime has admitted to the existence of a formerly undisclosed nuclear enrichment facility in Qom, in clear violation of the current IAEA guidelines;
37.6WELCOMES the Australian Government’s active support for the strongest possible additional measures being taken by the international community, including the imposition on Iran by Australia and other countries of severe autonomous sanctions directed at the Iranian regime, over and above the sanctions imposed by the UN, so as to ensure that Iran does not develop or gain access to nuclear weapons;.
37.7URGES the Australian Government to continue to give a high strategic priority, in concert with other governments, to counter-acting the four-fold threat that the current Iranian regime poses to international peace and security, namely the nuclear threat, the threat of genocidal incitement, international state sponsored terrorism and the systematic and widespread violations of the human and civil rights of the Iranian people.

38. United Nations Human Rights Agenda

This Council:
38.1CONDEMNS the way in which UN institutions and instruments have been manipulated to try to cast Israel as a pariah state;
38.2CALLS upon the Australian Government to support the reforms of the UN advocated in resolutions 38.3 and 38.4 and to insist upon the UN following a Human Rights agenda that is genuinely focused upon the pursuit of Human Rights in accordance with the UN Charter;
38.3CALLS for the abolition of the UN “Special Committees” on Palestinian issues, and “Palestinian Units” of the UN, the predominant purpose of which is to spread anti-Israel propaganda and whose activities degrade the ability of the United Nations to pursue its noble human rights objectives;
38.4CALLS for the abolition by the United Nations General Assembly of the UN Human Rights Council and its replacement by a new human rights body, membership of which is restricted to those countries which at the time of their admission to membership have a democratic political system in which there is proven respect for the individual and human rights of its citizens and the rule of law;
38.5CALLS upon the Australian government to support the reforms of the UN advocated in this resolution and to insist upon the UN following a human rights agenda that is genuinely focused upon the realization of human rights in accordance with the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments.

39. "Durban Process"

This Council:
39.1NOTES that the UN World Conference Against Racism held in Durban in 2001 (Durban 1 Conference) was preceded by the NGO Forum which was marred by virulent antisemitic behaviour from representatives of a number of Non-Government Organizations and which was marked by abuse of process and outcomes prejudicial to genuine work to combat racism;
39.2NOTES that the Durban I Government Conference produced outcome documents including the Declaration which singled out Israel for criticism (while naming no other countries) and introduced extraneous anti-Israel content under the pretext that Israel’s actions are racist, which anti-Israel content overshadowed and distorted the critically important professed agenda of the conference;
39.3NOTES that the Durban Review Conference in Geneva in April 2009 and the UN’s 10th anniversary commemoration in New York in September 2011:

  1. reaffirmed without reservation the 2001 Durban Declaration and Program of Action, including the section titled “Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” which specifically states: “We are concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation” and falsely implies that Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, or related intolerance;
  2. failed to address serious human rights abuses and genocide in various regions of the world; and
  3. omitted any criticism or mention of the Hamas Charter and, in particular, those of its provisions which incite hatred and genocide against Jews and affirm racist stereotypes about Jews as a people.

and further notes with appreciation that the Australian Government joined the governments of a number of other democratic countries in deciding not to attend the latter two events.

39.4CONDEMNS the Durban process as irredeemably tainted with bias and racism against the Jewish people; and
39.5URGES the Australian Government to join with the governments of other democratic countries in calling for the 2001 Durban Declaration and Program of Action to be fundamentally re-drafted so as to remedy the flaws enumerated in paragraph 39.3.

40. United Nations Bias

This Council:
40.1NOTES with concern that on 24 November 2008 the then President of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, stated in the General Assembly:
“I spoke this morning about apartheid and how Israeli policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories appear so similar to the apartheid of an earlier era, a continent away. I believe it is very important that we in the United Nations use this term. We must not be afraid to call something what it is. It is the United Nations after all, that pass the International Convention against the Crime of Apartheid, making clear to all the world that such practices of official discrimination must be outlawed wherever they occur.
Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel.”
;
40.2RECORDS that the accusations against Israel are scurrilous, false and without basis;
40.3NOTES that on 29 November 2006, the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan criticised the UN Human Rights Council for its “disproportionate focus on violations by Israel” while neglecting other parts of the world such as Darfur, which had what he termed “graver” crises and that Annan reiterated this criticism in his formal address on 8 December 2006 (International Human Rights Day);
40.4FURTHER NOTES that at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 20 June 2007:

  • (a) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon criticized the Council in a statement that read: “The Secretary-General is disappointed at the Council’s decision to single out only one specific regional item given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world.”
  • (b) The European Union, Canada and the United States were also critical of the Council’s focus on alleged Israeli violations; and
  • (c) Alejandro Wolff, deputy U.S. permanent representative at the United Nations, accused the Council of having “a pathological obsession with Israel”.
40.5CONDEMNS the United Nations to the extent that it: applies different standards for Israel and the Jewish people than for other countries; utterly fails to mention let alone criticise, the campaign of terror waged against innocent civilians in Israel from the territories and from Gaza from which Israel has unilaterally withdrawn; continues with its one-sided obsession with Israel especially on the part of the UN Human Rights Council;
40.6NOTES that these developments continue to give rise to grave concerns about the credibility and effectiveness of the United Nations among fair-minded people everywhere;
40.7CALLS UPON the Australian Government to continue to work towards fair and equitable treatment of Israel in all UN forums.

41. Global Antisemitism

This Council:
41.1EXPRESSES ALARM at the escalation in acts of antisemitism throughout the world such as racially motivated physical and verbal assaults against Jewish people, attacks upon Synagogues and other Jewish Institutions and businesses owned by Jews, and:

  • (a) CALLS UPON government and community leaders in the European Union and the media to show leadership by publicly denouncing as and when they occur, all manifestations of antisemitism falling within the working definition produced by the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia and adopted by the UK All Part Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism;
  • (b) DENOUNCES the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez, for descending repeatedly into racist and bullying rhetoric against Venezuala’s Jewish citizens, which has resulted in a significant upsurge in racially motivated physical and verbal assaults against them and their communal institutions; and
  • (c) DEPLORES the proliferation of grossly antisemitic material within many of the States of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in the form of written publications, television and radio programs and internet material, and the promotion of such material by their governments through its inclusion in school curricula and its dissemination through government-controlled media.
41.2NOTES that a significant number of incidents have been carried out by Islamist groups who support and engage in antisemitic violence;
41.3NOTES that extremist left and right-wing organizations have encouraged their supporters to work together with extremist elements within Muslim and Arab communities;
41.4CALLS ON the UN and all countries to take all necessary steps to ensure that those violent antisemitic incidents are not repeated and to protect Jewish citizens and communal property and to prevent other acts of anti-Jewish incitement;
41.5CONDEMNS the prevalence of anti-Jewish rhetoric in sections of the mass-media which masquerades as political criticism of Israel.

42. Restitution

This Council:
42.1APPLAUDS the efforts of the Claims Conference and the World Jewish Restitution Organisation and other organisations working for the rights of survivors, their heirs and the Jewish world in the areas of restitution and restoration of property and true recording of the history of the Holocaust;
42.2REAFFIRMS the principle that negotiations for restitution should wherever possible include representatives of both resident communities and survivors who live outside those countries;
42.3CALLS for the expedition of all outstanding claims with a minimum of administrative cost or delay, and for priority in the application of funds for the benefit of survivors and the heirs of victims;
42.4CALLS for the abolition of all forms of means testing as a condition of eligibility for the payment to survivors of compensation for personal pain and suffering.

43. The Vatican

This Council:
43.1RECOGNISES the importance of the work of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee and its joint declarations of November 4-7 2006 and November 2008.

44. APRID

This Council:
44.1NOTES the contribution to international understanding and dialogue between peoples of the Asia Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogues in Indonesia in 2004, Philippines in 2006, New Zealand in 2007, Cambodia in 2008 and Australia in 2009;
44.2NOTES the unique and vital role played by representatives of the ECAJ’s interfaith dialogues to this process and also to the inaugural Youth Interfaith Forum in Perth in 2007;
44.3RECOGNISES the importance of members of Australia’s delegations being engaged with representative bodies and being able to keep the broader community informed of the outcomes of the APRID processes and to properly represent communities’ views;
44.4URGES the Australian Government to include a representative from the ECAJ in all future Asia Pacific Interfaith Dialogues, as was the case until 2008.

44a. Roma People

This Council:
44a.1DECLARES that as Jews, we cannot remain silent when people are discriminated against because they are members of a religious, racial, or national group;
44a.2NOTES WITH CONCERN that whilst being one of Europe’s largest minorities, the Roma people continue to suffer discrimination in Europe, are often the victims of forced evictions, racist attacks and ill-treatment, have reduced rates of life expectancy and higher rates of infant mortality, and are often denied their rights to housing, employment, health care and education;
44a.3CALLS UPON the Australian government to use its good offices with European governments to urge them to treat the Roma with humanity and with due consideration for their human rights.

44b. Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

This Council:
44b.1NOTES that:

  1. Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an award-winning Bangladeshi journalist and editor of the Weekly Blitz newspaper in Bangladesh. Because of his beliefs in interfaith dialogue between Jews and Muslims and criticism of Islamist extremism, he is on trial in Bangladesh for sedition, an offense punishable by death;
  2. Mr Choudhury was arrested on 29 November 2003 at Zia International Airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on his way to board a flight bound for Tel Aviv, and was originally charged with a passport violation, a charge that was only subsequently elevated to sedition;
  3. While previously in detention Mr Choudhury was subjected to harsh interrogation techniques and received no treatment for a debilitating case of glaucoma;
  4. Mr Choudhury’s incarceration lasted for17 months without legal recourse and was only released on bail on 30 April 2005;
  5. Senior members of the Bangledeshi Government subsequently made continuous public promises that there was no substance to Mr Choudhury’s pending charges and that all charges would be dropped;
  6. On 6 July 2006, Mr Choudhury’s newspaper offices were bombed by an Islamic extremist organization after Mr Choudhury and his staff published articles in support of the Ahmadiyya Muslim minority;
  7. Mr Choudhury received a tip about the bombing days before and reported it to police, who refused to take action;
  8. On 18 September 2006, a judge with alleged ties to an Islamic extremist party, Mohammed Momin Ullah, ruled that Mr Choudhury will stand trial for sedition. The judge made this ruling despite the Public Prosecutor’s testimony in court days before that the government did not have evidence and would not object to the charges being dropped;
  9. On October 5, 2006, Mr Choudhury was attacked at his newspaper offices by a large group of individuals, including prominent members of the ruling Bangladesh National Party. Police protection for Mr Choudhury was withdrawn just days before the attack. Mr Choudhury was called an ”agent of the Jews” and beaten badly. When Mr Choudhury reported the attack to the police, no action was taken
  10. On 15 February 2007, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution without opposition, calling for the Government of Bangladesh immediately to drop all pending charges against Mr Choudhury; return all of Mr Choudhury’s confiscated possessions; cease harassment and intimidation of Mr Choudhury; and take steps to protect Mr Choudhury and hold accountable those responsible for attacks against Mr Choudhury;
  11. On 18 March 2008, members of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) abducted Mr Choudhury from his office at gun point. He was blind-folded and taken to an RAB office and released late at night. Written complaints were sent to the military-controlled interim government but no action has been taken by the Bangladesh authorities against the RAB members responsible;
  12. On 22 February 2009, armed thugs belonging to the ruling Bangladesh Awami League entered the office of Mr Choudhury, ransacked the entire office and physically assaulted him and other staff of the Weekly Blitz newspaper. Although a specific complaint was lodged with the police station on the day of the occurrence, no action has been taken by Bangladesh’s law enforcement agencies against the culprits;
  13. The capital charge against Mr Choudhury has not been withdrawn and he remains on trial for sedition.
44b.2CALLS UPON the government of Bangladesh immediately and without further prevarication or delay to:

  1. drop all pending charges against Mr Choudhury;
  2. return all of Mr Choudhury’s confiscated possessions;
  3. cease all harassment and intimidation of Mr Choudhury; and
  4. take steps to protect Mr Choudhury from physical attacks and to hold accountable those responsible for previous attacks against Mr Choudhury
44b.3CALLS UPON the Australian government to prevail upon the government of Bangladesh to take the measures enumerated in paragraph 2 immediately and without further prevarication or delay.

Section 4 – Holocaust Education in the Community

45. National Curriculum

This Council:
45.1NOTES the development, by the Australia government, of a National Education Curriculum and the importance of the Australian Jewish community working with National and State educational authorities to ensure the accurate, dispassionate, academically rigorous and adequately-resourced teaching of topics relating to Jews and Judaism, ancient and modern Israel, the Holocaust, the Arab-Israel conflict and the contribution of Australian Jews to Australian society and culture.

46. Holocaust Remembrance and Education

This Council:
46.1ENCOURAGES all major cities and State capitals to hold public remembrances of Kristallnacht and all Constituents of the ECAJ to prioritise the work of maximising public participation in Holocaust Remembrance and education; and
46.2CALLS on all State Departments of School Education to ensure that all students have a basic knowledge of the events of the Holocaust, in order to gain an understanding of the fragility of human civilization and the dangers of irrational hatred;
46.3CALLS upon the National Curriculum Board to include a unit of mandatory study addressing racism, racial hatred and genocide, and focusing on the facts and cause of the Holocaust, in the study of history for all high school students in Australia.

47. Inappropriate Holocaust Rhetoric

This Council:
47.1RECOGNISES that the Holocaust, the Nazi program of genocide, was a unique historical event;
47.2NOTES that the Holocaust is generally recognised as the benchmark of the most extreme case of human evil;
47.3DEPLORES the inappropriate use of analogies to the Nazi Genocide in Australian public debate.

48. Stockholm Forums

This Council:
48.1NOTES the importance of Holocaust education and remembrance;
48.2NOTES the importance of civil society taking a stand against human rights abuses;
48.3APPLAUDS the decision of the Swedish Government to host the international forum on Holocaust Education and Remembrance in January 2000; the Forum on Combating Intolerance in January 2001, the Forum on Truth, Justice and Reconciliation in April 2002 in Stockholm; and the International Forum on Genocide Prevention in 2004;
48.4URGES the Australian government to implement relevant recommendations of the Stockholm Forums.

Section 5 – Social Issues

49. Climate Change

This Council:
49.1NOTES that climate change is a major challenge facing Australia and the world. The current drought, water shortages, bush fires and record temperatures remind all Australians of our nation’s vulnerability to climate change;
49.2NOTES that the protection of the environment and conservation of its resources for the benefit of future generations are well-established principles of Jewish teaching and halacha;
49.3APPLAUDS the action of The Climate Institute in bringing sixteen Australian faith communities representing the world’s great religious traditions to unite and to speak out on climate change;
49.4DECLARES its support for the five point action plan to tackle Australia’s rising greenhouse gas emissions as the basis of an effective response to climate change as issued by The Climate Institute, viz:

  • 1. Legislate to ensure Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions go down and not up.
  • 2. Set a national price on greenhouse pollution.
  • 3. Implement a massive deployment of clean energy technologies.
  • 4. Deliver on energy savings and reduce Australia’s energy bill.
  • 5. Provide international leadership on climate change.

50. Stem Cell Research

This Council:
50.1NOTES that leading Rabbinic authorities have given their support to the use of existing embryos for stem cell research, mindful that Jewish law concerns itself that such embryos are only appropriately obtained;
50.2NOTES that stem cell research offers great hope to many sufferers and contains the potential to rectify painful, debilitating and life shortening genetic conditions;
50.3SUPPORTS properly conducted research into the saving of life as a part of our human mandate to act in the image of God, to heal and to be merciful;
50.4CALLS ON all ECAJ Constituents, Affiliates and Observer Organizations to encourage Australian Jews to publicly support the opportunities which stem cell research provides as reinforcing and not diminishing the sanctity of life.

51. Organ Donation

This Council:
51.1NOTES that Prime Minister Rudd announced funding to boost the low organ donation rate in Australia;
51.2NOTES that lives can be saved by encouraging organ donation from Jews to the general population by educating our community about the differenthalachic and medical issues concerning organ donation;
51.3SUPPORTS Medicare Australia changing donor registry forms so that members of the clergy can be involved in the decision-making process if members of the donor family so wish;
51.4ENCOURAGES Australian Jews to learn about organ donation from both a medical and a halachic perspective, and to commit to organ donation processes subject to appropriate safeguards.