Close your eyes.
Now dig deep into your imagination, and construct a picture of everything that is wrong with this community.
Imperious, tin-eared, incompetent, unresponsive leadership? Check!
Wall-to-wall Ashkenazim over the age of 60? Check
Anti-Arab racism and paranoia masquerading as ‘security awareness’? Check!
Massive fear mongering in the run-up to a Community Security Group (CSG) annual appeal? Check!
Being forced to sit through a fact-free, hysterical ‘documentary’ about Jewish kids getting shot by ‘Arabs’ in Toulouse France? Check!
The militarisation of our organised community? Check!
Deeply disrespectful, forced relegation of community stalwarts to the scrapheap of JCCV failure? Check!
Lefties speaking a different language from everyone else in the room? Check!
Abhorrence of genuine political diversity? Check!
Orwellian declarations that the JCCV is committed to diversity, just not the kind that includes diverse opinions? Check!
The JCCV Vice President, Anton Herman, embarrassing himself with a censure motion that would have failed a VCE persuasive writing assessment? Check!
The hordes slavering to sink the boot into the lefties? Check!
Failure to deal with any of the genuine challenges facing the community? Check!
A farewell to David Marlow – about the only decent thing left in the JCCV – because they are too bone-headed to do the necessary fundraising to keep him? Check!
Oh what a night!
Believe it or not, it didn’t start out as a stinking, acrid, black-smoke bin fire.
I walked in, saw a couple of AJDS crunchies whom I like a lot – even if their politics sometimes shit me – and sat with them.
Then the new rabbi of Kehilat Nitzan, Yonatan Sadoff, got up and spoke really beautifully.
He talked about how as Jews we are like family, and we can disagree about stuff, but still love each other. He put it better than that, obviously, but that was the gist.
Of course, in real life, family members often don’t speak to each other when one side supports Judeo-Nazism and the other doesn’t. And this unfortunate reality was amply demonstrated once the Plenum got underway.
Before we got to the Fight Club session, which I deal with in detail here, we were treated to a NSW Community Security Group (CSG) representative deliver a presentation about how we’re all DOOMED TO SLAUGHTER.
Actually, he was trying to come across as reasonable, using the language of ‘crisis management’, but when challenged to offer anything tangible about what CSG actually proposes *to do* in a crisis, he was unable to shed any light whatsoever.
Now, for those of you not up on Jewish communal alphabet soup, CSG is basically a community militia with government imprimatur. They carry guns and man synagogues – and advise Jewish schools. They are always enmeshed in some internecine fracas – either among themselves or with other communal groups or Jewish individuals.
They’re the guys who shock and stun your non-Jewish friends who come to one of your simchas (celebrations) at shul (synagogue) with bizarre interrogation techniques.
They’re the guys who ring up people who write about them to talk ad nauseum about the importance of the work they do, without providing any evidence for their claims.
They’re the guys who scream down the phone when they realise they can’t cajole you into writing flattering things about them – or just not writing about them at all.
They’re the guys who put pressure on your friends and family to give you a hard time if you dare write or say unflattering things about them.
They’re the guys who hang up on you, or feed you bubbameisehs (old wives’ tales) when you ring to complain about donations made to the CSG fraudulently in your name. And they’re the guys who throw their charity partners under the bus once they see you’re serious about getting to the bottom of the fraudulent donation.
They’re the guys with supporters who screech about the ‘sacrifices’ CSG volunteers make – as though no one else has ever stood in the cold for altruistic reasons, as though no one else has ever put their own safety second in the pursuit of justice.
Few others in the community demand such obeisance, and I would say that if any CSG volunteer is in it for the accolades, then their motivations are inherently suspect to begin with.
There are countless people in this community who put their arses on the line for others. They don’t strut around demanding deference while claiming they can never provide evidence for their claims.
That’s the preserve of CSG.
It’s a lovely thing they’ve got going: cite ‘operational security’ whenever anyone asks you to back up a wild claim. Then have a go at shaming your critics into silence when they point that out.
Sorry guys, but that’s not how well-run organisations behave.