A poor apology constitutes institutional antisemitism

August 25, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) has issued an apology following complaints about anti-Israel content contained in a suggested exam answer.

Rabbi James Kennard

Students were given an example on religious discrimination question which read “An example of an individual being persecuted for their religion could be the Arab families living in Israel who practise the Islam religion rather than the Jewish religion.”

The principal of Melbourne’s  Mount Scopus  Memorial College heard of the answer following a complaint by one othe school’s students.

But principal Rabbi Janes Kennard is far from satsified with the apology,

He said: “ACHPER Victoria has finally issued an “apology” for the “hurt and offence”. But there is no apology for falsely asserting that Jews in Israel persecute people for not being Jewish.

ACHPER now refers to this assertion as an “interpretation”, and the CEO of ACHPER Victoria repeatedly refused to retract that allegation in a conversation with me. ACHPER’s position remains that the assertion is valid, and has only apologised for it appearing in the sample exam paper.

The issue has never been about “offence”. It has always been about truth and falsehood. ACHPER remains committed to the side of falsehood.

This “apology” came more than five weeks after the slander was reported to ACHPER, during which time ACHPER refused demands for action because they “going through their processes”.

The “apology” was produced in the same week that the Victorian Education minister demanded an apology and made vague threats regarding ACHPER’s funding.

There is still no response to the demand that the writer of the original paper be dismissed. We will have to wait another month, until another review is completed, to know if ACHPER is going to take this action.

So in conclusion, we have an organisation, dedicated to the education of young people, which publishes material accusing Jews of committing the crime of which they have been the victims throughout history and never the perpetrators, which refuses to retract the slander and only issues a faux apology when forced, kicking and screaming, to do so.

It is now time to call this for what it is; institutional antisemitism.”

The chair of the Anti-Defamation Commission Dr Dvir Abromovich added: “At a time when antisemitism is surging in Australia, especially in schools where Jewish students are being abused and victimised, it is deeply troubling that ACHPER is refusing to repudiate the hateful slur contained in their assessment paper which has shocked so many.

We join Rabbi Kennard and others  who have called on the organisation to act morally and to disavow the original canard which is so grossly biased that it takes educational standards to new lows. Imagine the uproar if any other group was smeared and denigrated with such a harmful slander, and the association responsible for that blemish declined to renounce that lie. If ACHPER is to be seen as a body committed to the truth, it must swiftly act to right this wrong.”

The Zionist Federation of Australia and Zionism Victoria cautiously welcomed the announcement from ACHPER that it will undertake an independent investigation and share the findings with the Deputy Premier and Minister of Education, John Merlino. However, ACHPER is yet to acknowledge the underlying source of this issue –the publication of a statement that is factually incorrect.

In mid-July 2019, a year 12 student discovered a sample exam paper for Health and Human Development which stated that “an example of an individual being persecuted for their religion could be the Arab families living in Israel who practice the Islam religion rather than the Jewish religion, including unlawful demolition of homes and forced displacement and detainment of these families.” The paper was produced by ACHPER and later withdrawn.

ACHPER’s most recent statement said “This example response presented an interpretation of a context in Israel that was divisive and hurtful to members of Australia’s Jewish community”.

President of the ZFA Jeremy Leibler and Zionism Victoria President Sharene Hambur who recently met with the Deputy Premier, noted that “while the apology and independent investigation is a step in the right direction, ACHPER must acknowledge that the relevant example was not simply an inappropriate ‘interpretation’ but factually incorrect”.

“This issue is not simply about apologising for offending the Jewish community. This is about holding an institution that purports to represent teachers to the most basic academic standards of ensuring that the material it disseminates is factually correct. ACHPER failed and will continue to fail this standard until it explicitly acknowledges that the example was not a misunderstanding or a question of interpretation but simply factually incorrect”, concluded Mr Leibler and Ms Hambur.

The belated apology from ACHPER together with the announcement of an independent investigation is a welcome development. However, until ACHPER explicitly acknowledges that the relevant example was incorrect, the issue will remain unresolved.

The Zionist Federation of Australia and Zionism Victoria will continue to work with the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Mr James Merlino to ensure that ACHPER is held to account for the benefit of all students in the Victorian school system

Comments

8 Responses to “A poor apology constitutes institutional antisemitism”
  1. Louis Petrovsky says:

    Since when do people debate facts? The sample question was not debatable, because its premise was factually false. Your response is virtually the same as allegations by self-styled “revisionists” that the Holocaust did not have happen, therefore people should be free to debate it – despite the fact that the Holocaust was proven long ago, by world-renowned historians, in accordance wth procedures and standards developed over centuries, even by the vast majority of German historians. Should we now invite students to debate whether or not the earth is flat?

  2. Adrian Jackson says:

    There is nothing wrong with the question as the pupils can debate it either for, against or neutral if they wish.

    • Louis Petrovsky says:

      Since when do people debate facts? The sample question was not debatable, because its premise was factually false. Your response is virtually the same as the allegations that the Holocaust might or might not have happened, therefore people should be free to debate it – despite the FACT that the Holocaust was proven long ago, by world-renowned historians, in accordance wth procedures and standards developed over centuries, even by the vast majority of German historians. Should we now invite students to debate whether or not the earth is flat?

      • Adrian Jackson says:

        People debate fact all the time, it parts of a real democracy like Australia and don’t try and confuse the argument by trying to bring the holocaust into it. Most Australian were born after 1945 including me in 1952.

        Incidentally an uncle was shot down in a Lancaster Heavy Bomber in the European theatre on 04/05 Jan 1945. The aircrew and aeroplane were not found as it likely plunged into the sea near south/western France. He was the only one of my mothers siblings that their farming family could afford to send to Sydney University to start studying as an animal doctor (Vet) before he enlisted.

        • JJ says:

          It is a fact that Arabs in Israel are not persecuted for being Islamic.
          Full stop.

          Try to stop stalking Jews with hatred, Adrian,after all these years it’s boring as well as hateful.

          • Adrian Jackson says:

            JJ don’t you have a real names? Perhaps you are stalking me by talking rubbish anonymously.

  3. DAVID SINGER says:

    ACHPER should withdraw its totally false and completely unsustainable allegation. The Victorian Education Minister should withhold any funding to ACHPER until it does.

  4. Bella Ceruza says:

    It should be suggested to ACHPER that an accurate question would read:

    An example of an individual being persecuted for their ethnicity and /or skin colour could be the Australian Aboriginal families in Australia whose general life expectancy, educational, health and socio-economic levels are far lower than that of Arabs living in Israel and the statistics relating to the general Australian community.

    OR

    An example of an individual being persecuted for their ethnicity could be the Palestinian families in Jordan whose general life expectancy, educational, health and socio-economic levels are far lower than that of other Arabs in Jordan. These Arabs are denied most of the benefits of Jordanian society, excluded from 39 professions, including law and medicine and are not allowed to own land. This is a most vexing situation because most of Jordan’s population is Palestinian because in fact Jordan is comprised of 80% of Palestine.

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