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Israeli Rabbis' Anti-Gay Bigotry


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Christian pastors and Catholic priests get attacked a lot, understandably so, for being anti-gay. But religious Jews are no better, nor are Muslims "clerics," to say the last. As the NY Times reports today, many of them - including Israeli's 2 chief rabbis - don't even want gay people to be in their city.



Clerics Fighting a Gay Festival for Jerusalem




Published: March 31, 2005


International gay leaders are planning a 10-day WorldPride festival and parade in Jerusalem in August, saying they want to make a statement about tolerance and diversity in the Holy City, home to three great religious traditions.


Now major leaders of the three faiths - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - are making a rare show of unity to try to stop the festival. They say the event would desecrate the city and convey the erroneous impression that homosexuality is acceptable.


"They are creating a deep and terrible sorrow that is unbearable," Shlomo Amar, Israel's Sephardic chief rabbi, said yesterday at a news conference in Jerusalem attended by Israel's two chief rabbis, the patriarchs of the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches, and three senior Muslim prayer leaders. "It hurts all of the religions. We are all against it."


Abdel Aziz Bukhari, a Sufi sheik, added: "We can't permit anybody to come and make the Holy City dirty. This is very ugly and very nasty to have these people come to Jerusalem."


Israeli authorities have not indicated what action, if any, they might take to limit the events. Banning the festival would seem unlikely, though the government could withhold the required permits for specific events, like a parade.


Interfaith agreement is unusual in Israel. The leaders' joint opposition was initially generated by the Rev. Leo Giovinetti, an evangelical pastor from San Diego who is both a veteran of the American culture war over homosexuality and a frequent visitor to Israel, where he has formed relationships with rabbis and politicians.


Organizers of the gay pride event, Jerusalem WorldPride 2005, said that 75 non-Orthodox rabbis had signed a statement of support for the event, and that Christian and Muslim leaders as well as Israeli politicians were expected to announce their support soon. They said they were dismayed to see that what united their opponents was their objection to homosexuality.


"That is something new I've never witnessed before, such an attempt to globalize bigotry," said Hagai El-Ad, the executive director of Jerusalem Open House, a gay and lesbian group that is the host for the festival. "It's quite sad and ironic that these religious figures are coming together around such a negative message."


Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, co-chairwoman of the festival and the rabbi of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, a gay synagogue in New York City, said the controversy was another sign that each religion had become polarized between its liberal and conservative wings.


The global Anglican Communion split deeply over homosexuality in the last two years after its American affiliate ordained an openly gay bishop and the Canada affiliate decided to allow blessings of same-sex unions.


"I reject that they have the right to define religion in such a narrow way," Rabbi Kleinbaum said of religious leaders who denounce homosexuality. "Gay and lesbian people are saying we are equal partners in religious communities, and we believe in a religious world in which all are created in God's image."


The festival is planned for Aug. 18-28 and is expected to draw thousands of visitors from dozens of countries. The theme is "Love Without Borders," and a centerpiece will be a parade on Aug. 25 through Jerusalem, a city that remains deeply conservative, though other parts of Israel have become increasingly accepting of gays in recent years. Other events include a film festival, art exhibits and a conference for clerics. . . .



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The Israeli Chief Rabbis are certainly not "friends of Dorothy," or even the friends of friends of Dorothy. However, they speak only for the minority of Israelis who are Orthodox/Traditional Jews. Their views are irrelevant, or anathema, to the majority of Israelis, who are "secular," and carry little weight among Jews elsewhere in the world. They're also regularly overruled by the secular Israeli Supreme Court.


While they do have influence in certain sectors of Israeli society, it's important for non-Jews to understand the context. The Chief Rabbis aren't Popes, not even in Israel.


Other reports about this "united front" against the gay event in Jerusalem have explained that the moving force behind it is an American fundamentalist minister (undoubtedly one of those who's become a Zionist so that all Jews will return to the Holy Land so Armaggedon can come!). Left to their own devices, the various religious leaders might have ignored the whole thing, as they mostly have the Gay Pride parades in Jerusalem in the past few years. The ugly reach of the American theocrats is unfortunately long!

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Guest arbee

This is great!


Muslims, Jews, Catholics... they've all AGREED on something.


(Too bad they can't agree about stoppong the mutual hate and suspicion. Too bad they still keep blowing each other to shit.)


:-) :-) :-)

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>This is great!


>Muslims, Jews, Catholics... they've all AGREED on something.


>(Too bad they can't agree about stoppong the mutual hate and

>suspicion. Too bad they still keep blowing each other to



>:-) :-) :-)

For what it's worth, I go by Martin Luther King's remark equating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism.


Dan Dare


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