Australia’s peak Jewish community organisation has defended former High Court justice Michael Kirby after he was criticised for linking Jews who co-operated with the Nazi regime to gay Australians who want to boycott the gay marriage postal vote.

Mr Kirby initially declared he would have no part in the postal ballot but later said he had always intended on voting Yes if it survived various legal challenges.

He drew fierce criticism from the Anti-Defamation Commission, another Jewish community group, for referring to the Holocaust while empathising with those, like his long-term partner, Johan van Vloten, who will not participate in the postal vote.

“During the run-up to the Second World War some Jewish people, though the situation was much more desperate and fraught, took part with the Nazis in the regulation of the Jewish community. Looking back on it, we can now see that is something when you are being denigrated and treated unfairly and as a second-class citizen, you shouldn’t necessarily go along with,” Mr Kirby told ABC radio last week.

The Commission urged Mr Kirby to retract his comments and said the comments could not be justified, “no matter how strong one’s objection may be to the postal vote”.


Read the full article by Rosie Lewis at The Australian (subscription only).

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