One of the many issues facing society is the double standard. It comes in all shapes and sizes and does not discriminate. The strict definition of a double standard is “a rule or principle which is unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups.”
Double standard’s are more sinister and can be used to disguise corruption, create an easy path to power, drive an agenda or perhaps educational philosophy. It is all around, us yet many of us, only catch a glimpse of it when witnessed.
We can all think of the common double standards regarding sexual behaviour, male sexual activity is promoted, while female promiscuity results in slut shaming and labelling with derogatory terms.
Freedom of speech is one of the hottest double standards in Australia at the moment, not helped of course by the many failures of the Australian Human Rights Commission, especially in relation to QUT. How can excluding bring about togetherness and acceptance? I am not aware of any interfaith dialogue that uses exclusion and non-discussion as a way of bringing people together. Those who believe segregation is the answer, need to study history.
We believe that any racist cartoon or statement, should be recognised as such and removed regardless of who it is targeting. However many people, now use racism as an excuse to shut down rational discussion and debate. No better example is the role of Islamism in Australia, and why Islamist leadership, is often not united when condemning terror attacks ? It is not racist to pose that question, we should all be asking why this situation is allowed to exist in the first place.
Locally a major double standard exists where it is considered bad form to criticise any Jewish community organisation regardless of their track record in corporate governance, objectives and aims. We would not accept such behaviour in the wider world but it is acceptable in the local community because ….. ?
Is it acceptable to have many organisations and random individual’s visiting Perth to solicit donations for Israel, when Menora Charity Fund and other local charities are stretched to the limit providing for those in need in our local community ? Do we just rely on our own decision making to keep things in balance, or has the time come to have an open discussion about where community priorities should be focused ?
We all know that some organisations are wasteful when spending money, others are in long term decline because they are no longer relevant and need to be disbanded, some need to be reinvigorated and some need to be held to account because we as a community simply deserve better.
A great example of a double standard, is analysing the discussion on the Jewish Perth facebook group. There are many members of the group who rather than defend their organisations values and legacy, call for all debate to be shutdown and censored, on the basis that they are offended. You would seriously have expected the Australian Human Rights Commission to have been involved already. A poster on the group posted a statement about the Habonim youth group. Rather than defend Habonim, the first and many other responses were to shutdown the debate. Eventually someone saw the light, and actually posted something positive about Habonim. It is really not that hard, to find positive things to say about Jewish youth groups, so why it took so long is anyone’s guess.
Maybe the rage from having your world view challenged causes people to lose focus and engage in personal attacks rather than focusing on the real issue.
As a community we have so much to be proud of, the State’s leading academic school, synagogues catering to all facets of Judaism, community aged care facilities, youth groups, cultural functions and leadership in droves. We are proudly represented in the wider community by individuals, who have been successful in almost every field and discipline. Yet we have a disaster, of our own making, in our very own backyard.
The Jewish Centre was built for a different Perth. A time before waves of immigration, changed the face, and expectations of the community. A time when the community, could be supported from traditional fundraising activities. The Jewish centre as it stands now is a relic of its former self. The infrastructure is in urgent need of repair, the business model is broken, and the function centre, underutilised.
The tireless work undertaken, by the current committee is only a band aid approach, and the best that can be done given the circumstances and history. It is time for the patchwork to stop and wholesale surgery undertaken.
A public/private partnership model could be undertaken where retail shops, commercial and special use office space, a shared kitchen facility, accommodation, memorials to the various Jewish events in our calender and a modern function centre, could all be considered as part of a new vibrant Jewish centre for our community. The funds could possibly come from the private sector, who build and operate the facility for a period of time, after which it passes back to the community to manage and operate. All we need to do as a community, is offer our support by utilising the facilities once it has been rebuilt.
The centre is appealing for funds to make urgent repairs and I am sure that any support they receive would be appreciated.
In Hebrew there is an untranslatable word ‘davka’. Loosely defined it means “in spite of” or “to make a point simply for the sake of impressing an antagonistic position upon an opponent”. American’s may have just uncovered its true meaning in English for the first time by voting Donald J Trump as …