Who are we?

The Jewish Council of Australia is a diverse coalition of Jewish academics, lawyers, writers and teachers. We bring expertise in antisemitism and racism.

Our core principles

We are proud Jewish people in Australia with diverse histories, traditions and politics. We are committed to the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), calling out injustice, challenging assumptions and promoting debate.

We reject the assertion that Jews and the State of Israel are one and the same, or that all Jewish people support, without criticism, the actions of the Israeli government and military.

Pro-Israel Jewish organisations, that do not recognise the diversity of views among Australian Jews, do not speak for us.

While we have diverse views on many issues, we are united in our opposition to Israel’s continued policies aimed at the destruction of Palestinian life. We are opposed to the Israeli occupation and the prioritisation of the rights of Jewish people over the rights of Palestinians.

Jewish safety is not at odds with Palestinian freedom. We support calls for freedom, equality and justice for all Palestinians and Israelis. We reject any claim that this call is racist or antisemitic, or that it is antisemitic to criticise Israel’s conduct.

Racism and antisemitism are on the rise in Australia. The only way to effectively fight antisemitism is by committing to work in solidarity with other groups facing bigotry and discrimination to fight all forms of racism.

Add your voice and sign on to our core principles here
"The Jewish Council is an important initiative. The next generation of Australian Jews is resisting the pressure applied by the Jewish establishment to defend Israel and the Occupation. Refusing to toe the line comes at a real personal cost so I commend the individuals involved for their moral courage and commitment to peace and justice"
Louise Adler AM

"In the current environment of global political extremes and the relentless devastation in Gaza, the manipulation of language by those desperate to justify the indefensible, is perhaps an inevitable response. Amidst these distortions, many of them racist in character and impact, it is refreshing and essential to see the emergence of new voices committed to challenging and remedying crass and obsolete opinions. The establishment of the Council importantly seeks to reset the record and provide perspectives informed by principles of accuracy, transparency, and justice."
Emeritus Professor Andrea Durbach AM

Structure of the Jewish Council

The Jewish Council of Australia is made up of Council members as well as an advisory committee. We are independent and are all volunteers.

We are all proud Jewish people. We include graduates of Jewish high schools, lifelong members of synagogues, and members of Jewish cultural institutions. Many of us are the descendants of Holocaust survivors, refugees and the survivors of pogroms.

We also have over 740 Jewish people in Australia who support our values and have signed on to our core principles. You can read their names here. You can also add your voice here.

Executive and advisory committee

Sarah Schwartz

Executive Officer
Sarah is a human rights lawyer. She is a Principal Managing Lawyer at the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service where she represents clients in the areas of police accountability, the rights of people in prison and coronial inquests into Aboriginal deaths in custody.. She is also a Lecturer at Melbourne University Law School. Sarah was awarded a John Monash Scholarship in 2019 and completed a Master of Laws at Harvard University focused on racism and mass incarceration. Sarah has written for publications including The Age, The Guardian, Crikey, The Conversation, Overland and academic journals.

Dr Max Kaiser

Executive Officer
Dr Max Kaiser is an expert on antisemitism and Australian Jewish history. He is the author of Jewish Antifascism and the False Promise of Settler Colonialism (Palgrave 2022). He completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne and lives on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation.

Louise Adler AM

Advisory Committee
Louise Adler is the Director of Adelaide Writers’ Week. She has spent over thirty years in the publishing industry including as CEO of Melbourne University Publishing and as Publisher at Large for Hachette Australia. Her board roles in the creative industries include President of the Australian Publishers Association, Chair of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, Chair of the Victorian Government’s Creative Victoria Strategy Taskforce, and for over a decade serving as a board member of the Melbourne International Arts Festival Board and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Louise was also the Deputy Chancellor, a member of Monash University Council for 14 years and a Vice Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow.

Professor Andrea Durbach AM

Advisory Committee
Andrea Durbach is Emeritus Professor and was Director of the Australian Human Rights Centre (now Institute) at UNSW Faculty of Law & Justice from 2004-2017. Born and educated in South Africa, she practised as a political trial lawyer and human rights advocate, representing victims and opponents of apartheid laws. In Australia, she has held senior positions in the human rights field, including as Executive Director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Deputy Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, and consultant to the Australian Defence Abuse Response Taskforce to develop a framework to address the needs of Defence Force victims of gender-based violence. She is a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. In 2013, she was awarded the Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Law Award and in 2022 she was recognised as a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to law, human rights, and tertiary education.

Professor Roy Green AM

Advisory Committee
Roy is Emeritus Professor and Special Innovation Advisor at the University of Technology Sydney, where he was Dean of the UTS Business School. Roy has enjoyed a career in universities, government and industry, and has led inquiries and undertaken projects in the areas of innovation, industrial policy and management education, including with the OECD and European Commission. He has chaired numerous policy and regulatory bodies, such as the CSIRO Manufacturing Sector Advisory Council, the Enterprise Connect Innovative Regions Centre, the Queensland Competition Authority and the NSW Manufacturing Council. Currently, he chairs the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub and the Port of Newcastle, and he is a board director of CSIRO and SmartSat CRC.

Dr Rhonda Galbally AC

Advisory Committee
Dr Rhonda Galbally AC has been a CEO, Chair and board member for over thirty years, across business and the not for profit sector, the public sector and philanthropy. Most recently, Dr Galbally served as a Commissioner of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disabilities. As a woman with a lifelong disability, Dr Galbally first began focusing on disability rights and policy in the early 1980s while working at the Victorian Council for Social Services. Dr Galbally has served as the CEO of the Sidney Myer Fund and Myer Foundation, Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria, Chair of the Australian Association of Philanthropy, Chair of the Royal Women's Hospital, board member of the National Disability Insurance Agency, Chair of the Federal Government's National People with Disability and Carer's Council, and Member of the Councils of Monash University and RMIT University. Dr Galbally has been the founding CEO of a number of new organisations, including the Australian Commission for the Future, the Australian International Health Institute, the Australian National Preventative Health Agency and Our Community Pty Ltd. Dr Galbally established the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) and was appointed as the Independent Chair of the Review of Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Legislation (the Galbally Review). Dr Galbally was also a member of the expert four-person panel that developed the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

Sara Dowse

Advisory Committee
Sara Dowse is an author, editor, critic, historian and academic. Her articles, essays, reviews, stories and poetry have appeared in collections, journals and newspapers in Australia and overseas. Her novels include West Block, Schemetime, Sapphires and As the Lonely Fly. She is now a regular contributor to Inside Story and Pearls and Irritations. Born in the US, she completed her education at Sydney University and ANU before joining the Australian public service. She was, from 1974 to 1977, the inaugural head of the first women's unit in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Josh Bornstein

Advisory Committee
Josh Bornstein is an award-winning lawyer and National Practice Leader of Maurice Blackburn’s Employment and Industrial Relations Group. Josh has over 25 years experience as an employment and industrial relations lawyer, with a varied practise throughout Australia. He has conducted many anti-discrimination cases and also cornered the market in representing sacked rabbis and suing judges for sexual harassment. In addition, he has acted for many of Australia’s trade unions, the ACTU, and civil society organisations. Josh is also a member of the Victorian Racing Tribunal and a board member of the progressive think tank, the Australia Institute and the Festival of Jewish Arts and Music. He has written for many Australian media outlets and his first book about corporate suppression of employee free speech, Working for the Brand, is scheduled for publication by Scribe in late 2024.

Professor Clare Wright OAM

Advisory Committee
Professor Clare Wright OAM is an award-winning historian, author, broadcaster, podcaster and public commentator who has worked in politics, academia and the media. Clare is currently Professor of History and Professor of Public Engagement at La Trobe University. She is the author of four works of history, including the best-selling The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka and You Daughters of Freedom, which comprise the first two instalments of her Democracy Trilogy. The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka won the 2014 Stella Prize and NIB Award and is currently being developed into a television drama series in an international coproduction. The final instalment of Clare’s Democracy Trilogy, Ṉäku Dhäruk, a history of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions, will be published in October 2024. Clare has written and presented history documentaries for ABC TV and hosts the ABC Radio National history series/podcast, Shooting the Past, and co-hosts the La Trobe University podcast Archive Fever. Clare regularly appears in the print and broadcast media as a social and historical commentator, including a regular segment on ABC News Breakfast. Clare is the co-founder and co-convenor of A Monument of One’s Own, a NFP advocacy group campaigning for statue equality and commemorative justice for women. In 2020, Clare was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours list for “services to literature and to historical research”. In 2022, Clare was on the National Cultural Policy Expert Advisory Panel and was commissioned to co-write (with Christos Tsiolkis) the Vision Statement for the policy document, Revive. In 2023 she was Guest Curator at Bendigo Writers Festival. Clare is a Member of the National Museum of Australia Council. For more information see www.clarewright.com.au

Dr Michael Edwards

Advisory Committee
Michael Edwards is an Australian academic and anthropologist of religion, politics, and media. He received his PhD from the London School of Economics, was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge, and previously worked at the Australian Human Rights Commission. He grew up in Sydney where he attended a Jewish school.

Aviva Tuffield

Advisory Committee
Aviva is a publisher at the University of Queensland Press and has worked in Australian publishing for more than twenty years. She was a co-founder and the inaugural executive director of the Stella Prize. In 2015 she was selected as one of Westpac/Australian Financial Review's 100 Women of Influence and has also been a finalist in the NAB Women's Agenda Leadership Awards for her work with the Stella Prize. At UQP she is proud to work with many prize-winning authors, including Tony Birch, Ellen van Neerven, Sara Saleh, George Haddad, Mirandi Riwoe, Omar Sakr and Evelyn Araluen.

Ohad Kozminsky

Advisory Committee
Ohad Kozminsky teaches students from a range of faith and cultural backgrounds at a Secondary School in Melbourne. His teaching covers Holocaust history, Jewish literature, and the philosophy of ethics and human rights. Prior to working in education, Ohad completed an MA on the German-Jewish philosopher and theologian Franz Rosenzweig. He is an ordinary executive member of the AEU Maribyrnong region, and the president of his union sub-branch. Ohad is of Arab-Jewish and European-Jewish heritage. He attended a Jewish school in Melbourne.

Antony Loewenstein

Advisory Committee
Antony Loewenstein is an independent journalist, best-selling author, filmmaker and co-founder of Declassified Australia. He's written for The Guardian, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books and many others. His latest book is the global best-seller, The Palestine Laboratory: How Israel Exports The Technology of Occupation Around The World. His other books include Pills, Powder and Smoke, Disaster Capitalism and My Israel Question. His documentary films include Disaster Capitalism and the Al Jazeera English films West Africa's Opioid Crisis and Under the Cover of Covid. He was based in East Jerusalem 2016–2020.

Dr Na'ama Carlin

Advisory Committee
Dr Na'ama Carlin is a dual Israel-Australian citizen. She is an academic and sociologist researching in the areas of religion, violence, and health, and her writing features in several academic and mainstream outlets. Na'ama is a member of local Jewish community groups and she works, organises and lives on unceded Bidjigal land with her partner and child.

Dr Naama Blatman

Advisory Committee
Naama Blatman is a Scientia Fellow and Senior Lecturer at UNSW’s Cities Institute. She researchers and writes about settler colonialism, urbanism and Indigenous land rights in Israel/Palestine and Australia. Naama is an alumnus of the Urban Studies Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2020-2023). An Israeli citizen and resident of Australia for over ten years, Naama spent most her life in Israel/Palestine where she volunteered and worked in Palestinian and Israeli NGOs, including the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, The Galilee Society, Sadaka-Reut, and Bimkom-Planners for Planning Rights. Naama lives on Gadigal land with her two kids and slightly crazy puppy.

Yoel Caspi

Advisory Committee
Yoel Caspi has a background in policy, legal analysis and governance. Yoel has a long history of involvement in Jewish community organisations and is tied to the community through synagogue attendance, volunteering, family and friendship. Professionally, Yoel provides strategic and bureaucratic assistance to organisations in the process of being established.

Claire Connelly

Advisory Committee
Claire Connelly is a researcher and freelance journalist. She writes for publications including The Saturday Paper, The Monthly, Crikey, and The New Daily. She has produced work for research organisations which include the Australia Institute, the Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney, and Rebuilding Macroeconomics in the UK, focusing on issues of policymaking, economic inequality, climate change, and post-pandemic rebuilding.

Professor Linda Briskman

Advisory Committee
Linda Briskman holds the Margaret Whitlam Chair of Social Work at Western Sydney University. Her research and advocacy focus is on human rights, with an emphasis on Indigenous rights, the rights of people seeking asylum and anti-racism, including Islamophobia. She has won awards for her work. Recent books include the co-edited Deter, Detain, Dehumanise: The Politics of Seeking Asylum (in press 2024) and co-authored Human Rights and Social Work: Towards a rights based practice (2022). She is a member of the committee of management of the Australian Council for Human Rights Education and an active member of organisations tasked with overcoming racism, including the Challenging Racism Project and the Anti-racist Social Work Collective. Residing and working in the diverse neighbourhoods of western Sydney on Darug lands, she works collaboratively with groups in the region, including Muslim organisations.

Associate Professor Matthew Zagor

Advisory Committee
Matthew Zagor is an Associate Professor at the ANU College of Law on Ngunnawal/Ngambri country where he specialises in refugee, human rights, international and constitutional law. He was Director of the ANU Law Reform and Social Justice program from 2017-2024, is a Senior Research Associate at the Refugee Law Initiative, University of London, and Adjunct Fellow of the ANU Centre for European Studies. Prior to joining academia, Matthew held positions at Amnesty International as the Refugee Coordinator and Political Liaison officer and as a solicitor in the community legal sector. He has sat on the boards of RACS (NSW), EDO (ACT), Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and on the Red Cross’ IHL Committee, worked in native title, climate change and arms control, and was a member on the Migration Review Tribunal (2003-2006). Matthew studied Jewish history and thought at the University of Judaism, religious studies with anthropology at SOAS, and law at UNSW. He is an active member of the Canberra Jewish community, and has long worked for a free Palestine.

Dr. Leia Greenslade

Advisory Committee
Dr. Leia Greenslade is a Jewish Australian academic with specialties in the fields of disability justice and ethics. As an autistic and non-binary person, Leia is a fervent advocate for diverse identities, striving for equitable representation and rights. Leia has a background as a social worker and over 30 years experience as a committed activist for the promotion of social justice.
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