Australia's Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence attributes the evil we saw from a series of Chabad rabbis testifying before Australia's Royal Commission investigating child sex abuse at Chabad institutions to lack of training and tries to make it appear as if the mistreatment of abuse victims by Chabad – which it never even names – took place in the distant past – even though bullying and shunning of victims and their families took place in the run-up to the Royal Commission and even while some of those victims and family members were testifying.
Australia's Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence, Inc. distributed the following media release last night. As strong as it might appear to be at first blush, nowhere in the release does the Taskforce acknowledge or directly condemn the harassment, bullying and shunning of victims and their families that took place after victims recently began going public with their stories – bully, harassment and shunning that continued as victims and their families testified before Australia's Royal Commission investigating child sex abuse at Chabad institutions last month.
Instead, the Taskforce speaks of historical "failures and omissions" committed by "organisations and people in authority at that time."
The Taskforce also does not accept direct responsibility for its own "failures and omissions" (of which, there were many) let alone condemn the open shunning and re-victimization of of child sex abuse victims and their families by Chabad's rabbis.
In fact, the Taskforce does not even mention Chabad by name or name the Chabad institutions involved.
The website of the Taskforce has various media-release-type pages posted before this latest release, but this latest release is not (so far) posted.
There are two webpages on the Taskforce website about the Royal Commission testimony of Chabad rabbis which are prominently linked on the site's home page.
The first such page praises Rabbi Smuckler. Here it is in full:
Well done Rabbi Smukler at the Royal Commission for making child abuse the highest priority and well done for saying that whilst children are still abused, then there isnt best practice.
The second deals with the testimony of many of the other Chabad rabbis. Here it is in full:
The harrowing evidence we have heard from the royal commission underscores why all Rabbis must have appropriate training in identifying & responding to disclosures or allegations of child abuse. All rabbinical students must have training- there is simply no excuse not to. We therefore call on all Rabbis to undergo appropriate training so that there will be no more repeats of what we have heard throughout the past 10 days. Our hearts break for those victims who endured not only terrible abuse but had it made worse by the most inappropriate responses.
Again, note that Chabad is not mentioned, no Chabad institutions are named and no rabbis who "failed" or "omitted" are identified.
Also note that the Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence attributes the "failures and omissions" of these completely unidentified rabbis to a lack of training, something that can be easily remedied, rather than malevolence, which cannot.
But the evidence shows many of these Chabad rabbis didn't really care if the child sex abuse took place or not.
Instead, what they cared about most was protecting Chabad's reputation and the reputation of its late Australian leader Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner and Groner's boss, the late Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. After that, these supposed spiritual leaders cared about protecting their friends – Chabad child rapist Samuel David Cyprys, for example. Protecting the children left in their care was at the bottom of the list for many of these Chabad rabbis.
And that – along with the fact that Chabad essentially controls the Taskforce – is why the following statement from Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence is so very disingenuous:
MEDIA RELEASE 28 February 2015
It is now 2 weeks since the conclusion of the Royal Commission hearings into Child Abuse in Melbourne, and the Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence Inc. wishes to make it very clear that it commends the courage of those victims who came forward to give evidence at the hearings, whilst also acknowledging and respecting the decision of those who chose not to do so.
The victims were betrayed by organisations and people in authority at that time and those failures and omissions were categorically wrong. The victims and their families placed their trust in those organisations and people and that trust was manifestly broken. We also acknowledge and pay tribute to the courage of those whose disclosures led to the hearings themselves and bear witness to their ongoing pain.
The Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence Inc. also acknowledges all other victims in our community whose abuse was not the subject of the Royal Commission's enquiries but whose suffering and distress is also present.
We reiterate our earlier statements made during the enquiry that all institutions must have appropriate policies in place to safeguard children and all Rabbis and Rabbinical students must undergo appropriate training in the area of child protection.
We have served, and will continue to serve our community in the campaign for the elimination of all forms of family violence through community awareness and provide information and referrals to those who contact us on our support line on a confidential basis. We continue to commit to the health, safety and wellbeing of our community.
Now is the time to show compassion in a positive way and allow our community to start healing.
The Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence Inc.