Mazal Tov: A Very Sensible Community Prevails at Maccabi

The SJ would like to wish the Jewish community and Maccabi a hearty mazal tov on overturning the directive to rid the sports organisation of non-Jews.

As reported in today’s Age, due to community uproar, Harry Procel and his board were forced to abandon immediate plans to keep the clubs from being overrun by barbarians Gentiles. Their fear was understandable:  50 non-Jews threatened to undermine the Jewish character of the club, with only 8,950 Jewish members remaining to hold the fort.

Harry Procel, however, does not seem to be abandoning his ambitions entirely: “After consulting with our constituents and the wider community, we have reviewed our position and determined that no current members of the organisation will be required to leave at any time based on religion, gender or ethnicity…. We are reviewing this position with our state members.”

No current members.

We are forced to wonder at Mr. Procel’s lack of foresight. It is odd in the extreme that the consultation he mentions with the wider community took place after the decision to enforce the constitution. The idea to get rid of non-Jewish members was horrible enough; however, Mr. Procel compounded it by dragging the community into an internal brawl over the issue, and then made mainstream media news with plans that will never be acceptable to the average Australian.

The latter problems could so easily have been avoided with community consultation BEFORE attempting to impose such an offensive measure. Because Maccabi is Australia’s largest Jewish organisation, such a contentious move would always reflect on the community as a whole. Mr. Procel has done all Australian Jews a gross disservice.

We wonder what the future holds for the club. There is, of course, the thoroughly sensible Maccabi Victoria president Miles Clemans to provide a counterpoint to Mr. Procel’s grand plans.

He stated unequivocally that Victorian Maccabi never intended to adhere to Procel’s directive: “Once we have invited people into our clubs, we are not in a position to ask them to leave. It’s just not the right thing to do.”

Kol ha kavod/Onya,  Mr. Clemans.

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15 Responses to “Mazal Tov: A Very Sensible Community Prevails at Maccabi”

  1. Frochel says:

    Hi SJ,

    While this outcome is somewhat positive, I am still not satisfied. Mr Procel should be forced to resign from the presidency of the organisation. His absurd lack of judgement that brought about this whole affair has demonstrated that he is not competent to occupy the position that he does.

    We could welcome him back to the field of grassroots sports administration, where he could be involved in such necessary and worthwhile tasks as fixture scheduling and managing equipment inventories; however, policy statements are clearly not his forte.

    Not since Sheikh Hilaly has a community figure done more needless damage to the relationship between the wider Australian community and the ethnic community to which they represent.

    Given the damage that has been done, I think it would now be worthwhile to remove these exclusivity clauses from Maccabi’s constitution.

    After all, the shule to which I am a member has no athletic requirement whatsoever to become a member.

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  2. Liss says:

    Hurrah for some good news! Thanks for reporting, SensiJews.

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  3. faygale says:


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  4. faygale says:

    If we had things your way we would not have a PM either after all how can one person speak for all Australians, Rudd certainly doesn’t reflect my views..

    It appears you prefer caos you don’t approve of the ‘ mainstream Jewish organizations or elected Jewish leadership we have in Australia .The only people and organizations you don’t criticize are the left wing organizations { insignificant as they are like AJDS for example] and you don’t criticize our Jewish academics who have aligned them selves with Palestinian lobby groups and Palestinian activists .. you may be not as left as Loewesntein/Slezak and their Lunatic left followers { as you describe them] Richter, Adler and Co.
    So all we have here is yet another left wing Blog site only willing to criticize Zionists and mainstream Jewish community leaders.. we already have Loewenstein, IAJV, AJDS,Jews Against the Occupation, woman in Black and the myriad of others similar Ratbags.

    If you were so concerned about our leadership why don’t you join stand for election, no its easier for you to remain anonymous and attack from the side lines.

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  5. The Goy Husband says:

    Dear TSJ,

    I have to come to the aid of Faygale – it is obvious from the postings and commentaries that there is a particular definition of moderate used on this site. It may well be that Faygale is more the moderate (maybe even me) and that your position is somewhat to the extremity of community opinion. Instead of a spectrum that runs left to right, why dont we seek to plot the viewpoint on a four quadrant basis. Is Zionist always not moderate? I dont think so. I will use the Orde Wingate example – eccentric in the 1920s, radical in the 1930s, timely in the 1940s. It could be that TSJ wants its world view to be middle ground! However the world and its events make it so.

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  6. faygale says:

    ”Our commitment to Zionism” I almost choked on by kebab M/s Fein..

    YOur blog site is committed to Zionism , how so? perhaps I have been reading and not ?

    Your blog site attracts mostly Jews not committed to Zionism { or committed to watered down leftist Zionism ] , you attack every ‘mainstream’ Zionist Jewish organization and leader elected or unelected and you would have us believe you are a committed Zionist { not that you have to be many are not but at least they don’t try and hide it ]

    What you are insinuating is you are a committed Zionist and the SZFA, SZCV, JNF, AIJAC , ECAJ , Lamm, Rubenstein , Leiblers etc are not, or perhaps in your confused eyes they are too pro Zionist.

    If you are a committed Zionist M/s Fein Zionism is doomed !


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  7. TheSadducee says:


    Perhaps you care to explain to your fellow readers what exactly you mean by Zionism?

    After all, you have made the claim that this site “attracts mostly Jews not committed to Zionism { or committed to watered down leftist Zionism ]. I for one would be curious to know how you have come to this conclusion?

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  8. James says:

    Could I get some clarification

    What is a Zionist. What do they believe in?

    Depending on the person using it the word seems is both a badge of honour (patriot) and an insult (jewish racist)

    Thanks in advance

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  9. greasegun says:

    The entries on Maccabi membership skirt around what I see as the central issue plaguing the Australian community – Jewish community exclusionism of the ‘other’. The deeply rooted and unremitting fear of others, whether they are non-Jewish or whether they simply live by a different rule book to accepted orthodoxy is a canker on the face of Jewish community experience. Despite years of Australian acceptance and community consolidation, the barriers of exclusionism are still a disturbing reflex response of many. Those who question the defensive posture are dismissed as at best leftist, or more often regarded as clear and present threats.

    I am a first generation Australian. My parents made an effort to act out the rituals, send me to Jewish school and maintain family ties. By these actions as immigrants they shored up the levee against the unknown threats of their new homeland. However a sense of their innate liberal values, plus the influence of the 70’s has somehow made me – a non-religious, liberal humanist of Jewish birth. I have married a non-Jew and have two gratifyingly non-religious children. I acknowledge my parent’s gratitude at Australia’s generosity in accepting them from Europe. I regard those who’s Zionism leads them to forgo the citizenship that gave them a post-war future as fundamentally misguided – and ungrateful.

    What is amazing and disturbing to me is the second-generation response to the fruits of Australian experience. It is common to see a reversion back to ghetto mentality rather than a reaching out. Keep the goyim at bay. Stick with your own kind. At all costs don’t fall in love with a non-Jew! Don’t let ‘them’ into the team. It is all so painful.

    The exclusionism becomes all-pervasive. Keep kosher so you can’t eat ‘their’ food or sit down to a meal with ‘them’ except on your own terms. Stick with your own at all costs. If you wear a black hat then you are a better Jew than those who don’t. You have to separate yourselves out. If you go to Orthodox synagogue you can’t fraternise with the Liberals. On and on it goes.

    I am all in favour of differing opinion, political discourse and holding personal values. But when the difference between clothing, or food standards, or one’s personal quest for metaphysical, spiritual experience is the basis for questioning of someone else’s humanity or rights, I feel we have a problem of almost Stalinist complexion. In this age of enlightenment, with all the Australian benefits of possibly the greatest freedom and alternative avenues of expression in our collective history, I ask myself, what is going on?

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  10. sensiblejew says:

    Frochel, it’s interesting! We initially wrote about Procel’s needing to resign, but then edited it out because we wanted to avoid sounding too strident. But your argument absolutely holds: when one man, from one organisation can do so much damage to the entire community, it’s definitely incumbent on him to consider his fitness for the position.

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  11. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Liss.

    SensiJews. Ha! We love it!

    We’re also thrilled with the Maccabi outcome, because it demonstrates that the community’s filled with sensible types.

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  12. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Faygale.

    We don’t seek to speak for every Australian Jew. No one can do that. But we do believe that moderate Jews have previously avoided the open slather debates in our community. We cannot even say that we speak for all moderates. We have no such mandate. But we believe our positions are inherently moderate and that such positions deserve an airing in communal debate.

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  13. sensiblejew says:

    Hi Faygale.

    Let’s correct some misconceptions:

    1) We did not say that representation is impossible, just that we at SJ are not representatives. Rudd can speak on behalf of Australians because he has a mandate derived from democratic elections which involve universal franchise. There is a difference, however, between an elected representative and someone who is representative of all opinions: the former exists, while the latter does not.

    2) Just like Maxwell Smart, we always prefer Control to Kaos. But the order that we prefer is a democratic one, not one imposed by an arbitrary, self appointed leadership.

    3) Our leadership is not “elected” in any truly democratic sense. Any elections are purely internal. There is no such thing as a Jewish “franchise” that enables all Australian Jews to elect their spokespeople.

    4) You must be reading the blog selectively. We criticise the left. We do not believe the IAJV is engaged in productive discourse at all and we regularly criticise what we refer to as, “hair-shirtist” Jews: Jews who believe that the Zionist project is somehow uniquely evil/flawed among various ethnic nationialisms.

    5) This blog is staunchly non-ideological. Again, you only need to read the posts and comments to see that we reject any sort of pre-fabricated partisanship. Instead we approach each issue on its merits.

    6) Monash Jewish studies is quite capable of defending itself. EVen so, we’re not sure exactly what you have against them. They are absolutely NOT agitators for One-statism, nor do they engage in hair-shirtism of any sort. They inquire after the truth first and foremost. They do not seek evidence to confirm their pre-existing biases. Sometimes that may result in research with which you are not comfortable, or perhaps, in the pursuit of fairness, they might invite somemone who is not a Zionist to come and speak. This does NOT mean they necessarily endore the speaker’s view. It just means that as good scholars, they understand that a shallow pool of sources makes for shallow thinking in general. One has to read and listen to all manner of ideas and evidence (even if they are unpleasant) before one can reach a sound conclusion.

    7) Standing for election is problematic on two counts: firstly, most of the organisations do not run any elections whatsoever, and those that do, do not hold elections that are recognisably democratic in terms of their highly limited franchise. Secondly, many of these organisations are populated by ideologues and would likely be loath to invite non-ideological types to the table.

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  14. sensiblejew says:

    Hi GH. Unfortunately, there is no data at present to indicate communal sentiment on any matter. We can only go by our gut, what we hear from family, friends, and acquaintances, and what we read in the AJN. From these sources, we believe that our beliefs are certainly not fringe.

    Our commitment to Zionism, our disquiet over Jewish PR blunders, and our questioning of our leadership’s efficacy are not radical positions by any objective measure, and we believe these are sentiments held by a majority in the community. For example, a clear majority of Jews expressed pround discomfort with Maccabi’s original directive. The Sensible Jew was very much in line with broad communal feelings on this issue.

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  15. sensiblejew says:

    Hi greasegun, and welcome. Thanks for your considered comment. We absolutely need to be discussing the issues you raise. We hope you stick around and contribute more.

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