Thursday, February 2nd | 11 Shevat 5783

August 5, 2015 4:25 pm

New Israel Fund Shamefully Tries to Exploit Stabbing at Gay Pride Parade

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avatar by Ronn Torossian, Hank Sheinkopf, and George Birnbaum

Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, 2010. Photo: wiki commons.

Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, 2010. Photo: wiki commons.

Decent people everywhere stand against the violence that occurred at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, where a religious extremist stabbed six attendees (one of whom later died). The stabbing was an atrocity fueled by hate, and the perpetrator should be sentenced to the fullest extent of the law.

Yet, we also stand against the hatred of the New Israel Fund – an organization that supports a boycott of Israel, and that attempted to raise funds off the back of this terrible tragedy. The violence against gay Israelis is not the act of the entire “right-wing” or the Orthodox – it is a despicable act of hatred by a criminal.

NIF’s claims that blame the attack on “extremists in Israel who have cultivated an ideology of hate and of homophobia,” and that somehow link this to “…the outcome of a dysfunctional political reality” are wrong.

In fact, the extremists of the NIF are rejected across the board in Israel – from right to left – and will continue to be. Those who support Israel, gay or straight, right-wing or left-wing, stand against attacks on gays – and they stand against boycotts of Israel.

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We further reject NIF’s attempt to somehow make this about the Israeli government. Only a few weeks ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court made their landmark ruling on gay marriage, Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon issued a statement that said, “The Supreme Court of the United States made an important, just and historic decision today.” Ya’alon added, “Every person has the right to marry and have children, regardless of their sexual orientation. I hope additional countries, including Israel, will follow in the footsteps of the United States and grant this basic right to all.”

Israel is the only country in the Middle East where LGBT rights are protected. 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 of all races and religions, Israel is one of the most open places in the world.

Meanwhile, in the Arab world, homosexuality remains a capital offense, and gay rights is a foreign term.

ISIS celebrated the Supreme Court decision by throwing four suspected homosexuals off the roof of a building. Recently, Turkish riot police dispersed a gay pride event using tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets.

The Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry said gays would never have their rights recognized in the Kingdom. Throughout the Arab world, gay rights are trampled upon. In Qatar, where the 2022 Football World Cup will be held, homosexuality is illegal. In the Palestinian territories, the PA gives the death penalty for homosexuals.

The horrible stabbing was the act of a criminal – as happens in any country, and he must be punished. The New Israel Fund, as usual, makes this a condemnation of the State of Israel rather than a condemnation of an act. In this case, the NIF should be especially ashamed of itself.

George Birnbaum is an international political consultant, who formerly served as chief of staff for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Hank Sheinkopf, CEO of Sheinkopf Communications, is a leading political strategist who has worked on campaigns in four continents. His clients have included former President Bill Clinton. 

Ronn Torossian is CEO of a top 20 U.S. PR Agency, and author of “For Immediate Release.”

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