ECAJ reacts to new organisation

September 5, 2017 by J-Wire Staff
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The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has stated that is the most significant representative organisation of Australian Jewry following the announcement heralding the establishment of the Australian Jewish Association.

Peter Wertheim

In a statement published on Monday, the AJA said: “You can expect it to be more direct and outspoken on matters of principle over political correctness. AJA will speak out clearly on security issues, sources of anti-Semitism, other external threats and advocacy involving Israel.”

But Peter Wertheim, executive director of ECAJ, said: “Within the Australian Jewish community there is a strong prevalence of views in support of Israel and a free, democratic and tolerant Australia, and against antisemtism and other forms of racism. Beyond these core values, there is a wide diversity of interests and views among Australian Jews, which is reflected in a plethora of Jewish organisations. This is a sign of the vitality of the Jewish community, and there is nothing objectionable about the formation of new organisations to cater for different elements of this diversity. However, it becomes objectionable if a new organisation purports to speak for and represent the Australian Jewish community as a whole, when in reality it is self-appointed and is neither elected by, nor accountable to, the community, and in some instances when those who run it, “do not wish to be identified publicly”.

Over the years a succession of individuals and groups have come and gone giving themselves grandiloquent names and titles, and misrepresenting themselves as leaders and spokespeople of the Jewish community. In truth, these groups represent their own interests and opinions in a narrow band of political and other views, which they try to pass off as the prevailing views of the whole Jewish community. Some people are fooled by this for a short time, before they realise that these groups represent and are accountable only to themselves.

The ECAJ sits at the apex, directly or through its constituent and affiliate organisations, of some 200 major Jewish community organisations in every State across Australia, including each of the State roof bodies. Its Councillors and officers, who are identified and identifiable, are regularly elected by, and publicly accountable to, the Jewish community as a whole. For this reason the ECAJ has for the last 75 years been looked upon both within and outside the Jewish community as the representative voice of the mainstream Australian Jewish community.


5 Responses to “ECAJ reacts to new organisation”
  1. Robert Gescheit says:

    With the greatest of respect for the role that the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) plays in our community, I read with unease the letter in the Jewish News last week headed “The view from ECAJ” and now on JWire from their executive director Peter Wertheim, targeting the apparently radical new organisation called the Australian Jewish Association (AJA).

    I am not associated with the AJA, and know only what I have read about them in the Jewish media articles, and on their website.

    However, Mr Wertheim got stuck in to this new organization with a seemingly paranoid ferocity that I haven’t seen since the backlash against a group of young & naive Jewish university students who attempted to start up a branch of the Jewish Defence League in Australia over 40 years ago. What a furore! (Just as well that we hurriedly changed the name to ‘Bnei Daniel’, and the rest, as they say, is ancient history.)

    I object to Mr Wertheim’s declaration that on the one hand he encourages diversity and the formation of new Jewish organisations, but on the other he is prepared to slam this new group soon after they have left the starting blocks. He stated that new groups have “come and gone” over the years, but, for this fledgling organisation he seems to have some deep-seeded aversion.

    Why not allow this new group to ‘come and go’, as the ECAJ surely hopes will occur, and give the community some credit to be able to recognise the good from the bad. Because, who knows, they may be good.

    Robert Gescheit OAM
    (Ex student radical)

  2. Yehoishophot Oliver says:

    ECAJ is a PR group that was never voted in by some kind of election and therefore it is just as legitimate or illegitimate as AJA. Nor is it true that the majority of Jews agree with its secularist agendas, although of course, it wants you to think so.

  3. Michael Burd says:


    Let me make it very clear the only people looking for a Turf war are the ones involved throwing dirt and acting like busy bodies getting involved when it is none of their business.I know the ALA have more in common with the traditional Jewish community organizations and wish to work with them however where there are differences will voice their own views, in the same way these Main stream organizations have accepted anti Zionist organizations under their Broad tent,
    Example ALA representative booked the BW center months ago Alan had booked this venue numerous times for other events and knows the drift. He filled out the appropriate online application, which includes what the subject matter is for discussion at the event, and even had a discussion with CSG security so they were aware; They could have told Alan straight away sorry the Jewish community does not discuss Islam.
    Once the flyer went out and the hard alt Left fascists at one of our extremist left wing blog sites got wind of this event they went absolutely berserk and joined with ‘Fascist Jews’ group with pressure on the ZV and BW board along with petitions to cancel the event.

    It was very clear and obvious the ZV and BW board members got shit scared and then contacted all our Jewish community Machas including in Sydney !! and asked their opinions. It was a bit like asking a Gay/LGBT activist what did he/she/? Think about SSM ? Of course they all toed the Leftist party Line .
    Each Jewish community Macha wanted to out Group Think the Other and the ALA were sent a email late on Friday that they were pulling the plug…
    Just think the very same hard alt- left Jewish extremists who pressured ZV and BW board members are the same people that vilify our Zionist leaders on their website posts and even demonstrate outside the BW offices .
    The same Jewish hard alt left extremist that contacted the Church Parish to try to prevent their Reverend form speaking at the ALA event is a member of a anti Zionist Palestinian activist group that are affiliated with our own JCCV situated at the BW offices.
    Yet all our Jewish community leadership were fussed about last week were some passionate Zionist Jews who want to expose hatred and violence perpetrated against Jews …
    It should also be noted that whilst our Jewish Community Machas were so busy worrying about a group of concerned Jews concerned about Jewish human rights violations these Machas have completely ignored the Jew hating Roger Waters scandal , Telstra etc
    You try to find something on any of the AUJS, ECAJ, BW, ZV, AIJAC websites on this matter, let alone a Press Release or statement .
    I know for a fact Christina supporters and Jewish and Israel supporting media particularly on Sky News are horrified at what has happened> any repercussions will be on the hands of those that unnecessary went out of their way to make trouble and get into bed with the Hard Left>

  4. Adrian Jackson says:

    With only about 100,000 Jewish Australians there are many organization representing various interests. Looks like some in the community may be in for a turf war debate while the rest are probably not interested in any group.

  5. michael Burd says:

    It is great that ECAJ has no objection to other Jewish Communal groups such as the group the Dr Adler has recently formed the AJA.

    However can Mr Wertheim please advise where Dr Adler has stated, insinuated or purports that the new Jewish Organisation represents the whole Jewish community?

    I heard Mr Adler clearly explain on the radio today that there were a plethora of left wing Jewish organisations and that he believed that the mainstream Jewish organisations were leaning too far to the left and not catering for Jews in the community with more politically conservative views or Orthodox Jewish values.

    Surely Mr Wertheim can understand many of the statements put out in the public arena by Jewish Organisations that do purport to represent the whole Jewish community are highly divisive and in many cases highly provocative to Jews that are not left leaning and do not represent the whole Jewish community.

    Just as the JCCV argue there is room for anti- Zionist, pro-Palestinian Jewish activist groups as their affiliates and argue the Jewish Community has a ‘Broad Tent’ with many views and opinions surely this tent can accommodate Jewish groups that are not hard left, anti – Zionist and more concerned with Jewish Lives that matter ?

    Just as all our mainstream Jewish Organisations appear to have accepted the presence of anti-Zionist groups such as NIF and J Street under our broad tent surely they can accept with equally open arms a Jewish group that is more concerned about Jewish Human rights and Israel’s right to exist as a homeland for the Jews as the first priority:

    I think now is the time to show real diversity and inclusiveness, not just words and platitudes, live and let live:

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