Melbourne’s Jewish radio station apologises for homophobic broadcast

Melbourne’s Jewish radio station J-AIR have issued an apology after broadcasting a syndicated show that suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic was a “designer drug” sent from God to eradicate homosexuality before the arrival of the Messiah.

The claim was made during the Tamar Yonah Show. The host’s guest was Rabbi Mendel Kessin.

Yonah is a radio personality in Israel and her show is rebroadcast on stations around the globe.  Her guest, Rabbi Kessin, is a Biblical scholar who has recently argued that the coronavirus was created by God because of his opposition to limits on free speech.

During the episode Rabbi Kessin outlined his belief that the COVID-19 outbreak was also sent to remove homosexual people from the earth.

Rabbi Kessin described how he believed that God was 98% finished in preparing the world for redemption, and the coronavirus was God’s tool for removing “major problems”.

“And basically he’s 98% finished, that’s how close we are to the redemption. Therefore what God wants to do is bring the redemption. However, there are certain problems that must be addressed by god in order for the redemption to actually happen. And what we begin to see is that the pandemic is an exact designer drug, if you want to use that expression, that will remove these problems.” Rabbi Kessin said.

“The plague itself is a vehicle, is an instrument, to accelerate the messianic process by removing these major problems. What are they? You see. So therefore what we see is the following. The first major problem is that man has corrupted his nature. There is a tremendous amount of, ah, what’s called immorality in the world today. It’s widespread.

There’s, in Hebrew it’s called “prichus”. We want, we could say it’s also in the form of homosexuality, and gays and so on and so forth, where all of a sudden the gender differentiation is, is tremendously blurred. So that is an incredible corruption of man’s nature.” Rabbi Kessin said.

In a statement J-AIR said they unreservedly apologised to the LGBTIQ+ community for broadcasting the episode on 30th March.

Station President Dr George Banky said the comments from Rabbi Kessin were totally unacceptable and the station had begun a review process to see how the comments had made it to air. Dr Banky said the station had taken the podcast version of the episode off their website.

“J-AIR has initiated its complaints procedure in line with ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) and CBAA (Community Broadcasting Association of Australia) requirements,” Dr Banky said.

“We have taken the podcast off line, and the complaints’ committee has started to review the show’s contents. The outcome of this process will be announced within 30 days, if not sooner. J-AIR is seeking an explanation from Tamar Yonah.

“J-AIR is very aware of its role as a community broadcaster and strictly adheres to the laws of this country, particularly the ones referring to broadcasting as mandated by ACMA.

“We apologise for causing offence to the gay community,” Dr Banky said.

Community members have raised concern that the broadcast may have breached the station’s community broadcasting license.

As a community radio station the operators of the service must ensure that the content they broadcast is not likely to incite or perpetuate hatred against or vilify any person or group on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, sexual preference, religion, age, colour, physical or mental disability, transgender status or HIV/AIDS status.

Read more about the broadcast at Aleph Melbourne.

11-14-20 Update: Additional quote have been added to improve clarity. In an earlier version of this article Dr George Banky’s name was spelled incorrectly, and the name of the radio station was incorrectly presented in lower-case. Additionally the descriptor of Dr Banky’s comments was inaccurate. OUTinPerth apologises to J-AIR and Dr George Banky.

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