ECAJ says Jewish community not “embroiled in new child sex scandal charges”

November 30, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Contrary to the salacious, misleading and deceptive headline in the Barney Zwarz story in the Fairfax media  “the Jewish community” is not “embroiled in new child sex scandal charges”.    
Allegations of serious sexual abuse in incidents some 15 to 20 years ago have been made in relation to Yeshiva College in Melbourne and are being dealt with by the courts.    Allegations have also been made in connection with at least two other Jewish organisations.  In the latest allegations, neither the alleged perpetrator nor many of the alleged victims are Jewish.   So to smear the entire “Jewish community” in this way is outrageous.  Unlike, for example, the Catholic Church, the Jewish community is not a single organisation and cannot act as such.

As for the claim that communal organisations have done nothing about this issue, Barney Zwarz was provided with the attached media releases dated 14 and 27 November 2012 but there is no mention of them or their contents in his report.

Further, the ECAJ  today lodged its submission with the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse in response to the Federal government’s consultation paper.  A copy of the submission is also attached.

The alleged Israel-obsession is also nonsense. There is no domestic issue affecting the Jewish community which we have not dealt with.  The ECAJ’s Objects, as set out in its Constitution are:
(a)          To represent and speak officially on behalf of Australian Jewry.
(b)         To take such action as it considers necessary on behalf of Australian Jewry in matters that concern Australian Jewry or Jewry in other parts of the world.
(c)          To support and strengthen the connection of Australian Jewry with the State of Israel.


2 Responses to “ECAJ says Jewish community not “embroiled in new child sex scandal charges””
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Not at all intelligible what Manny is attempting to demoinstrate.
    ECAJ is duty bound to promote Jewish concerns for issues related to Israel, as well as any internal PROBLEMS. The notion of “problems” is essential in as much as defining the proprtions of a certain matter. Currently there are TWO cases of individuals before the courts charged with sexual offences allegedly committed within Jewish educational instititutions. Those respective Jewish institutions appear to have cooperated with the legal entities to the satisfaction of the highest standards. As such, HOW is ECAJ defficient in discharging its chartered duties !!! Did ECAJ interfere, for whatever benefit, with the normal course of judicial process !! One cannot see it at all !!
    Manny Waks has been engaged in a campaign of revelation and justice process of an insidious practice which, as it happened – allegedly – was taking place within Jewish institutions and commited by Jews. In realistic terms, the quantum revealed is very minor compared to the size of the community and similar phenomenon seen and demonstarted at other communal denominations. This, in itself, would reflect on the moral standards of the Jewish community, for comaprissons are inevitable and necessary when strict communal denominational refferences are made.
    To this it must be emphasised that ECAJ would have been derelict of its duties, as understood by all reasonable members of the Jewish community, if it would have neglected the fundamental obligation of being active in the support of Zionist causes, advocating resolutely for all matters concerning the image and fate of Israel.
    Seemingly overwhelmed by his crusade on one issue – most definitely worthy of action -, Manny Waks does not seem to realise that the complexities with which ECAJ is charged as the roof organisation for the Australian Jewry, cannot allow it to ignore its raft of fundamental functions and devote its entire efforts to something that is, apparently, being attended with full consideration by a sufficient number of individuals and institutions quite suitable and capable of handlig this abhorent phenomenon in ALL communities.
    Simply put, the courts are right now dealing with the respective cases, so what could possibly be the problem one Mr. Manny Waks is so adamantly claiming othat would rest with the ECAJ !!??

    Peter, you owe me !!

  2. Manny says:

    In response:
    • Did the ECAJ find yesterday’s Fairfax article entitled ‘Gillard under Jewish pressure over Palestine’ also ‘salacious, misleading and deceptive headline’? Did it say anything about it? I know many within the Jewish community who were appalled at the pressure, especially coming from the ECAJ. But I haven’t heard that the ECAJ raised this headline as an issue. It wasn’t ‘Jewish pressure’ but pressure from the pro-Israel lobby (and like every other lobby, of course this lobby also has every right to lobby). So clearly they’re being selective in their criticism.
    • Let’s be clear, the allegations we are talking about include allegations of child sexual abuse up to the past couple of years. I’m personally aware of serious allegations of abuse that occurred under three years ago (and I understand that there are also allegations of abuse even more recently). I am aware of at least two young paedophiles roaming around our community. Obviously the ECAJ is not aware that it often takes literally decades for victims to take action. Just because no statement has been given to police does not mean that abuse is not taking place. So no, the allegations regarding Yeshivah are not from ‘some 15 to 20 years ago’ and not all of the allegations ‘are being dealt with by the courts’.
    • ‘Allegations have also been made in connection with at least two other Jewish organisations.’ The important words here are ‘at least’. Peter is obviously referring to Yeshivah, Adass and the most recent revelation (a major Jewish institution). But I can assure you that the allegations go well beyond that. There have been reports coming from other capital cities within Australia. Indeed, there is another very credible report from another Melbourne institution, which I’ll hopefully be in a position to divulge shortly.
    • ‘In the latest allegations, neither the alleged perpetrator nor many of the alleged victims are Jewish.’ This is not entirely accurate. Yes, the perpetrator is not Jewish, but only two of the victims are not Jewish – this could hardly be classified as ‘many’. Also, importantly, the serious allegations are not only regarding the abuse itself, but of the alleged cover-up by this institution, and its alleged mistreatment of the victims. As you can appreciate, I cannot share all of the very credible (and sensitive) information that I have but let me assure you, it paints a very grim picture of the behaviour of this institution’s leadership.
    • So despite the fact that the ECAJ or others within our community may not like it, this is very clearly a ‘Jewish community’ issue. It is indeed very accurate to say that the Jewish community is embroiled in a child sexual abuse scandal. It is not one organisation, nor two or three – it is several that we already know of and probably others that we don’t yet know of. And it’s not just the abuse but also cover-ups.
    • ‘Unlike, for example, the Catholic Church, the Jewish community is not a single organisation and cannot act as such.’ What chutzpah (and hypocrisy)! The ECAJ refers to itself as the voice of the Australian Jewish community – apparently it represents all of us, at least that’s what it claims. Yet now that it doesn’t suit the ECAJ to refer to the Jewish community as a single entity, under its jurisdiction….how dare anyone perceive/describe us as a single entity like the Catholic Church?!
    • ‘As for the claim that communal organisations have done nothing about this issue’ – no one has made such a claim, not the journalist nor me. This is what was written: ‘Mr Waks said Jewish communal groups such as the Executive Council of Australian Jewry had not made tackling child sexual abuse a high-enough priority.’ That is 100% accurate. Disseminating a couple of media releases over the period of around one and a half years is simply not good enough – by anyone’s standard. Yes, there was also a meeting or two. Should we compare that with the resources expended on, say, Israel-related issues? This was my point. It’s not a high enough priority for the ECAJ. And Peter is disappointed that Barney didn’t mention anything about these media releases. For the ECAJ’s sake it’s probably better that he didn’t!
    • Good on the ECAJ for making a submission to the Royal Commission.
    • ‘The alleged Israel-obsession is also nonsense. There is no domestic issue affecting the Jewish community which we have not dealt with.’ The first sentence is subjective. I and many others claim that the ECAJ (and the other peak bodies) are obsessed about Israel-related issues. Unsurprisingly, the ECAJ doesn’t quite see it that way. Fair enough. But again, let’s have a look at the resources expended on Israel-related issue when compared to domestic issues. It’s quite clear that Israel consumes most of their resources. Regarding the second sentence, I nor anyone else has said that the ECAJ hasn’t addressed a domestic issue. Again, it’s simply about the priories and resource allocation.

    As you can see, the ECAJ’s response to this article is riddled with many inaccuracies at best.

    I don’t have an adequate response as to why the ECAJ is responding to this crisis in the way they are. There may be a number of reasons for this – it could be the desire to keep things that may reflect poorly on our community out of the public’s eye. It may also be due to the lack of knowledge and experience in responding to this issue. Child sexual abuse has been a taboo topic for a long time. It is now finally being discussed everywhere. But many people, including the community leadership, simply don’t know how to address it.

    It’s not too late. The ECAJ and others can change their attitude and actions and start to work on this issue for the benefit of the community and the victims.

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