Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gay Pride and Prejudice

Time to close out this month’s review of Muzzlewatch misfires with a discussion of their most bizarre accusation to date: that Israel supporters are somehow trying to stifle discussion of “Israel Apartheid” within the gay and lesbian community.

I say “bizarre” because if there’s one issue where Israel’s human rights record shines with supernova-scale light when compared to its neighbors (the folks who, among other things, support and fund Israel=Apartheid campaigns) it’s in the area of gay rights.

After all, it’s one thing to sweep the repression of women in the Muslim world under the carpet with a turn of the head and some feeble muttering about “understanding cultural differences” that implies that it is only the kept, hajibbed women trailing along her owner/husband by ten paces that is truly “free.” But there really is no way to ignore that gay pride parades that take place routinely in Israel would be met with machine gun fire if it took place in Cairo or Tehran (the latter being spared such concerns since, according to the Iran’s President, there are no homosexuals in that country – so much for 1 in 10).

Now I know that within Israel there are Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox individuals groups who rail against homosexuals, lesbians and the "Sodom and Gamorah" of Tel Aviv’s gay scene. But that’s simply because Israel has a gay scene to verbally rail against. And I know that some defenders of Israel with no track record of defending gay rights in the US will often draw a Muslim homophobia arrow from the quiver during political debate. But if only non-black pots were allowed to debate the subject of kettles, well there would be no Muzzlewatch or Jewish Voice for Peace, now would there?

The ludicrousness of trying to use the gay issue as a bludgeon against the Jewish state came home when someone forwarded me a letter begging Elton John to not play a concert in “Apartheid Israel,” claiming that, despite its supposed open-mindedness regarding homosexuality, Israel has in the past yielded to demands of Palestinians families to have their fleeing gay children returned to them. Yes, you heard that right. Partisans of the Palestinian cause now list, among Israel’s crimes¸ the Jewish state’s alleged choice to send gay men and women into the clutches of the very Palestinians these partisans spend their lives fighting for, and then blame Israel when said gay Palestinians are beaten to death by their brethren.

This nonsense makes sense only if you realize that the entire point of Muzzlewatch is as a preemptive strike. Remember, Jewish Voice for Peace wants to be able to say whatever it wants and do whatever it wants, whenever and wherever it wants. Yet it also wants to claim that anyone else exposing its lies or hypocrisy, or battling against its causes (such as BDS) are “muzzlers” trying to stifle debate on the Middle East. This moral inversion can only be accomplished because supporters of Israel actually possess a respect for open discussion and debate that JVP and its friends simply feign. And so, Muzzlewatch hopes that they can get their critics to question their own rights to engage in political activity, leaving JVP et al free to do their dirty work unhindered.

Extending this tactic to a gay pride matter is simply Muzzlewatch’s childlike way to try to preempt the facts stated above, notably that it is Jewish Voice for Peace that unquestionably supports a culture that tortures and murders gay people against an Israeli society that welcomes them. Hiding behind a “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid” splinter group that’s even more marginal that JVP itself is simply their clumsy way of hiding their own opinions behind someone else's.

Now that I think about it, if gay rights are such a vital issue with which to bash the Jewish state, why hasn’t Jewish Voice for Peace taken up this matter with gay leaders in JVP’s own North California stronghold? Could it be that local gay pride groups know how to respond to narrow partisans trying to morally blackmail them into embracing a cause they know is not theirs (with a hearty FU)?

Or perhaps the Muzzlewatchers haven’t gone down this route simply because, as in Tehran, there are no gay people in San Francisco.

1 comment:

  1. Here in the JVP stronghold (there must be 20 or even 30 of them here!) of occupied Northern California we say "Queers for Palestine is like Turkeys for Thanksgiving"


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