Mardi Gras Message

February 28, 2014 by  
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This weekend, the 2014 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade celebrates the 36th anniversary of the continuing struggle for human rights and equality waged by, and for, LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) citizens in Australia, including those in the Jewish and broader community.

UPJ-logo-clearThe Union for Progressive Judaism says: “It should also provide a strong reminder to us all that there are still many places in the world where people are not only denied these basic rights but are being persecuted because of their sexual orientation.

The Jewish people’s adoption of the mantra “Never again” following the Shoah was to remind society of the devastating destruction caused by the evil forces of the Nazi regime against not only the Jewish people but against many other sections of society, including homosexual men who were forced to wear a pink triangle.

Beyond that, “Never again” was a determined call to ensure that such acts of hatred would not be repeated or condoned by the civilized world, and that Jews would take all possible action to prevent its recurrence.

In recent years there have been unfathomable yet ghastly attacks on the freedoms of LGTBI citizens in countries such as Uganda, Russia and India, including the recent adoption of harsh homophobic laws.

The consequences of this persecution are justifiably likened to the situation that arose during the Nazi era in Europe, and it, therefore, behooves Jewish people around the world to call on their communal and national leaders to speak out and take action against these nations.

As we celebrate the many achievements of the gay and lesbian movement in Australia in making our society more fair and open, the Union for Progressive Judaism calls on our community to use the freedom that we enjoy to condemn all who perpetuate discrimination and persecution based on ignorance.”


8 Responses to “Mardi Gras Message”
  1. Paul Winter says:

    As far as I know, no executive member of the Union for Progressive Judaism is a Shoah survivor. I am a member of NSTE and a Shoah survivor and I am deeply offended by UPJ’s statement on homosexuals.

    Comparing what happened to Jews (and Gypsies) during the Shoah, to the experiences of homosexuals displays ignorance and diminishes the suffering of Jews and others slated for extermination, the Jews in particular, with utmost cruelty.

    Calling for tolerance in liberal Australia where homosexuals and others who do not identify as male or female, because of discrimination in less enlightened parts of the word, is mere grandstanding, and shallow at that.

    The cry of Never Again, to shill for homosexuality, is absurd and nauseating. Using that cry, one can label any good cause and allow it to piggy-back on Jewish suffering. And that of course means that the agony of Jews during the Shoah was no worse than that of a homosexual who is called by some derogatory term.

    The UPJ also fails to clarify, that while we must respect LGTBI people as fellow human beings, we are not obliged to respect their practises nor their demands for having their partnerships given equal status to traditional marriages.

    Progressive Judaism should be concerned with adapting Judaism to 21st century social needs and science, not with embracing every progressive fad.

    To the rabbis of the IPJ, I have this to say: get out of politics or get out of the rabbinate.

  2. Lynne Newington says:

    I wonder if all those within the Jewish community are naturally orientated or like many of those within other instituions introduced to the lifestyle within their seminaries out of either naitivity or forcefully and afraid to speak up out due to retribution.

  3. The Australian Jewish community needs to stand up, with one voice, and speak out against these terrible acts of intolerance around the world. All humans must be treated with dignity and respect. Difference is not a reason to treat some people less than others. Well said UPJ.

    • Paul Winter says:

      You are perfectly right in that we must stand up for human rights.

      But spouting “never again” and parading does not do much good for homosexuals hoisted with nooses around their necks by cranes in public in Iran.

      If you wanted to have anything more than a good time and to feel self-righteous, you and those like you would go to Canberra and demonstrate in front of the Iranian embassy. For that matter, why don’t the good folk in the Emanuel Synagogue take up the matter of the barbarism of the Islamic Republic of Iran with Foreign Affairs.

  4. Gil Solomon says:

    Typical of “Progressive Judaism” to endorse this unadulterated drivel.

    The holocaust represented a uniquely Jewish catastrophe and to me equating the planned extermination of six million Jews who perished to other deaths that occured, to various denials of human rights issues which have faced this planet before, during and after the second world war is demeaning to the memory of our lost brethren.

    Other deaths and persecution perpetrated by the Nazis were direct consequences of war, as merciless and tragic as these may have been.

    The Wannsee Conference of 1942 however sealed the fate of European Jewry. Never before in human history was a deliberate and planned meeting held whose sole purpose was to outline in detail the “final solution to the Jewish question in Europe.” This was nothing less than the meticulous blueprint for the attempted and systematic slaughter of the Jewish people from the face of the earth.

    The facts are that every human tragedy is not a “holocaust” and those who subscribe to using the “Never Again” mantra to describe every tragedy, every anti gay sentiment or lack of freedom of speech in various parts of the world are diminishing the holocaust and the the true significance of the Nazi period to the point that it will have lost all meaning. In a nutshell DO NOT diminish the significance of the Shoah to suit your liberal agenda.

    This article made me sick.

    • Lynne Newington says:

      Although not being Jewish, I would have to agree with you re identifing every human tragedy with The Holocaust, many like myself in ignorance may not have known a better word to describe an horrendous act, I have since learnt better but in saying that, I certainly can’t identify it with the present article, even though I know many clergy as previously mentioned, were “introduced” to the lifestyle during their seminary days.
      Archbishop John Hepworh lifted the lid on that here in Australia, and ex Dominican clergyman Richard Sipe,[Clergy in Crisis: Never another Pat] who left the church and stood by the many young men dying of aids, both on record.

      • Gil Solomon says:


        Something you may not be aware of.

        In the effort to rid the world of Jews, the Einsatzgruppen followed the German army wherever it went throughout the length and breath of Nazi-occupied Europe. Its sole role was to round up and kill every Jew; man, woman or child or to transport them to concentration camps for extermination.

        While many others may have died there, the camps were Jewish graveyards. The facts are that every human tragedy is not a “holocaust” and those who subscribe to using the term so loosely to describe every tragedy taking place at any point in time on this planet are diminishing the term to the point that it will have lost all significance.

        • Lynne Newington says:

          Yes Gill I am aware of what you have stated, and I understand the loose or lack of a better word as was with me in my ignorance until it was pointed out long ago diminishing the significance of the horror that it was.
          My condolences are ever forthcoming considering the role of the religious institution I embraced many years ago and the atttempt to white wash history.

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