“ATTENTION: PLEASE refrain from using anti-semitic language when expressing support for Palestine and Palestinians. It is ABSOLUTELY unacceptable and I will call you out on it. The Palestinian cause invites ALL who stand for justice and equality and all who want to be on the right side of history including American Jews. They have been some of our closest and most loyal allies and the last thing we need is to alienate people by using the same tactics and hateful rhetoric that is used against us. Let’s learn from history. Stay focused, stay principled – your cause is pure, your cause is just. No need to contaminate it with misguided hate.”
Almost exactly a month ago I wrote about a man who busted into a queer youth support group in Tel-Aviv and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing two and injuring fifteen.
Queers Without Borders has posted an amazing response.
Israel is marketed as a gay-friendly tourist destination and a beacon of democracy in the Middle East. In fact, LGBTQ people of all ethnicities and religions face discrimination and violence in Israel, just as we do in all other parts of the world…
Contrary to the mediated attempt to describe Israel as a force of liberation and progress, we see objecting to apartheid Israel as an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people, including LGBTQ Palestinians. LGBTQ Palestinians are not going to be “saved” by a so-called gay-friendly Zionist state. Organized LGBTQ Palestinians reject the myth of Israel as an “oasis of tolerance.”
This is what solidarity looks like.
Some commentors at the Queers Without Borders post make the ridiculous assertion that Jewish queers are lucky to live where they do and not in an Arab state, because of the natural homophobia of Arabs. This shows a brazen level of misinformation, as Arab countries were known for their greater tolerance of homosexuality before colonialism.
Gay rights activists like Mounir, meanwhile, express surprise that homosexuality has become such a taboo in the Arab world, given a long history of relative tolerance.
“Homosexuality was never a big issue in Arab culture. We have lots of famous poets and singers who were gay,” he said. “Abu Nawas openly wrote about love between men, and Tuwais, one of the most famous singers in Arab history, wasn’t just gay, but almost a woman”.