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February 20, 2012 8:25 am

How Can Gay Activists Boycott the Jewish State?

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, 2002. Photo: wiki commons.

Israel is the sole democracy in the Middle East, a champion of gay rights, and a place where tens of thousands march in an annual gay pride parade.  As the Mayor of Tel Aviv recently said, “We are trying to create a model for openness, pluralism, tolerance – live and let live.” For homosexuals, Israel is surely one of the most open places in the world.

Contrast that with Israel’s neighbors, where homosexuals can be hanged; it’s simply amazing that this week, leading gay activists declared their support for a boycott of Israel. After Qatar was awarded the 2022 Football World Cup, Sepp Blatter, president of the sport’s governing body, said that gays should “refrain from sexual activity” if they go to Qatar because homosexuality is illegal in the Emirate. And of course, as we all know from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, there are no gays in Iran.

It seems that Jew-haters will always find a reason to hate the Jewish state, and will use something asinine to mask that hatred.  Peter Tatchell, a leading gay activist, signed a letter this week criticizing Israel for “pinkwashing,“ trying to use the acceptance of LGBTs (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community) as a “smokescreen” of supposed human rights violations of the Palestinians. In a recent letter to the media, activists from the Gay Liberation Front, Stop Clause 28, and others, stated support for the Palestinian “boycott, divestment and sanctions” campaign against Israel. It added that it is “ironic” that Israel, “in an attempt to gain a veneer of respectability by promoting itself as a liberal,” has grown tolerant towards gay people while the “oppressive regime routinely violates human rights.” So, Israel, the sole country in the Middle East which supports gay rights, is also boycotted by the gay activist community.

One wonders what these gay rights activists can possibly know about these supposed human rights violations and the on-the-ground situation in Gaza or the West Bank. Surely, they haven’t traveled or spent time there, because they would know that they wouldn’t be safe with the Hamas/Palestinian government. Of course, they haven’t spoken out about the violence Jews face in these regions. One wonders what justification Tachtell and other gay activists can have to boycott Israel, their strongest supporter in the Middle East. Tachtell’s boycott  started a few months earlier when he criticized the IGLYO – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Lesbian Youth and Student Organization for accepting an invitation from its Israeli chapter to hold its general assembly in Tel Aviv. He was among the first to criticize IGLYO for agreeing to a conference in Israel and said that he “fears that Israel may not be accessible to delegations from Arab countries.” They neglect the fact that Arabs can visit Israel, unlike Jews that seek to visit Arab countries.

Tachtell was successful in having the meeting moved from Israel, despite the fact that there is not a single member from the Arab world on the general assembly of this organization (for obvious reasons). Just as I wonder where the flotilla for peace to Syria is, so too am I amazed as gays and others pretend there’s a reason for hating Israel other than anti-Semitism. The heroic defender of human rights, Martin Luther King said it right when he said, “Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR and author of PR Book “For Immediate Release”.

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