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Gay Liberation Network declares ‘We Stand With Palestine’ during Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade

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Confounding many people’s expectations, our “We Stand With Palestine” contingent in the Chicago Gay Pride Parade Sunday, June 24th – with its huge 160 sq foot banner, “Israel: STOP killing Palestinians!” – was met with almost universal approval by the approximately 1 million people who lined the four-mile parade route.

(Photo: Gay Liberation Network)

With the recent killings of over 100 unarmed protesters by Israeli sharpshooters, including children and clearly identified medics and journalists, and the wounding of over 11,000 others, people in this country are waking up to Israel’s systematic deprivation of Palestinians’ rights.

This list of course does not include Democratic Party politicians like Barack Obama or Dick Durbin, who have opportunistically bewailed the Trump administration’s tearing apart migrant families at the US/Mexico border, but who took no notice of the killing of Palestinian children at the border fence of the Gaza open air prison.

LGBT people in the United States have a particular responsibility to respond to these atrocities. Not only is Israel by far the biggest recipient of U.S. arms exports in the world, but it’s a central theme of Israeli propaganda, aimed at diverting attention from its brutality against Palestinians, that Israel is alleged to be a gay paradise.

(Photo: Gay Liberation Network)

But it’s no paradise for LGBT Palestinians, who are generally prohibited from going to Tel Aviv (even though some of their families were expelled from there), and the Israeli secret police has a widespread practice of blackmailing gay Palestinians by threatening to out them unless they turn into informers on their own people.

LGBTs in the United States have won many freedoms that LGBTs in other countries don’t enjoy. But that record of progress in no way excuses the vicious racism of police killings of Black people, theft of Native American lands, separating children of immigrants from their parents, and other racist crimes. Likewise, whatever relative freedoms LGBTs have won in Israel does not excuse that country’s continuing brutal treatment of Palestinians.

To privilege one oppressed group’s freedoms over another is playing a divide-and-conquer game that only bigots can win.

We were proud today to march in solidarity with Palestinians.  We helped in a small way to re-water and reaffirm the radical roots of gay liberation in the years following the Stonewall Rebellion, when LGBTs cared not just about their own rights, but opposed the U.S. war in Vietnam and marched in solidarity with women and people of color. We recognized then, as we do now, that the liberation of all oppressed groups is the task of each.

(Photo: Gay Liberation Network)

(Photo: Gay Liberation Network)

(Photo: Gay Liberation Network)

About Gay Liberation Network

The Gay Liberation Network is a multi-issue Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Direct Action Organization. To learn more visit gayliberation.net.

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14 Responses

  1. Kay24
    June 26, 2018, 1:34 pm

    Great job Gay community. I wish other communities would have the courage to do the same. Human beings who have experienced discrimination, and have to struggle for their rights, always understands, and have compassion, for others.

    • Rob Roy
      June 26, 2018, 8:45 pm

      Gays can’t get married in Israel. So why do the Israelis keep saying Israel’s a democracy?

      Hypocrites.

      [Israel has never been a democracy. Before Erdogan, Turkey was the only democracy in the area.]

      • Rob Roy
        June 26, 2018, 8:46 pm

        P.S. They still use “conversion therapy” in Israel.

      • catalan
        June 26, 2018, 9:32 pm

        “Gays can’t get married in Israel. So why do the Israelis keep saying Israel’s a democracy?”
        I agree that Israel is very backward regarding gays. In my opinion Russia is more enlightened on this topic. Also, Iran is a decent example.

      • Kay24
        June 26, 2018, 10:01 pm

        It is a sham. Israel is a democracy in name only. No true democracy will keep this brutal occupation going, and steal lands from it’s neighbors. No democracy has one law for themselves, and have a different rule of law for those they occupy, and suffer under their powers. Most importantly no democracy will keep millions of people in open prisons, and not give them their freedom. Israel is an apartheid nation, that loves to pretend it is just like other western nations.

      • Mooser
        June 26, 2018, 10:03 pm

        “I agree that Israel is very backward regarding gays. In my opinion Russia is more enlightened on this topic. Also, Iran is a decent example.”

        “catalan”, how is Russia “more enlightened” and Iran a “decent example” “regarding gays”? Your meaning escapes me. Mind explaining?

      • echinococcus
        June 26, 2018, 10:05 pm

        I just love your variable definitions of “democracy”. Like

        Before Erdogan, Turkey was the only democracy in the area.

        Sure, a 100-year-old brutal, murderous military dictatorship (and stout ally of US/rael) is the exact way we all imagine what “democracy” should be.

        Then your definition of it depending on what you are allowed to say about what you personally prefer to do with your wee-wee. I love that one, too..

      • RoHa
        June 26, 2018, 10:27 pm

        The Israelis claim that Israel is a democracy because the government is chosen by the votes of the general populace. This is the common, basic, understanding of the term, as reflected in the prime definition in the OED.

        https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/democracy

        In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, we see that the basic definition is:

        “the term “democracy,” …, refers very generally to a method of group decision making characterized by a kind of equality among the participants at an essential stage of the collective decision making. ”

        https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/democracy/#DemDef

        The OED includes, as a subsidiary meaning, ” 1.3 The practice or principles of social equality.”

        But this tells us little about what kind of social equality is sufficient to justify the claim of being a democracy. The Stanford Encyclopedia elaborates:

        “Fourth, the equality required by the definition of democracy may be more or less deep. It may be the mere formal equality of one-person one-vote in an election for representatives to an assembly where there is competition among candidates for the position. Or it may be more robust, including equality in the processes of deliberation and coalition building.”

        Israel can claim the 1p1v equality for its citizens, and thus claim to be a democracy. It seems to fall short on “equality in the processes of deliberation and coalition building”, so we can, perhaps, say Israel is , at best, a formal democracy.

        However, it is not obvious to me that, in order for a state to be a democracy, the “more robust” equality need include marriage equality for gays.

        Many countries were counted as democracies long before any of
        them legalised same sex marriage. To make that legality a condition of being a democracy seems to be a somewhat arbitrary restriction on the use of the term.

      • Misterioso
        June 27, 2018, 10:23 am

        The entity known as “Israel” (i.e., west of the green line) may promote itself as a “democracy,” but it most certainly is not. It is and always has been an ethnocracy, i.e., a political structure in which the state apparatus is appropriated by a dominant ethnic group to further its interests, power and resources. In short, apartheid.

        To wit:
        Hendrik Verwoerd, then prime minister of South Africa and the architect of South Africa’s apartheid policies, 1961: “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” (Rand Daily Mail, November 23, 1961)

        Jacobus Johannes Fouché, South African Minister of Defence during the apartheid era, compared the two states and said that Israel also practiced apartheid. (Gideon Shimoni (1980). Jews and Zionism: The South African Experience 1910-1967. Cape Town: Oxford UP. pp. 310–336. ISBN 0195701798.

        “Former Foreign Ministry director-general invokes South Africa comparisons. ‘Joint Israel-West Bank’ reality is an apartheid state”
        EXCERPT: “Similarities between the ‘original apartheid’ as it was practiced in South Africa and the situation in ISRAEL [my emphasis] and the West Bank today ‘scream to the heavens,’ added [Alon] Liel, who was Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria from 1992 to 1994. There can be little doubt that the suffering of Palestinians is not less intense than that of blacks during apartheid-era South Africa, he asserted.” (Times of Israel, February 21, 2013)

        Video: Israeli TV Host Implores Israelis: Wake Up and Smell the Apartheid
        https://www.youtube.com/wat

        In its 2015 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, released in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor acknowledges the “institutional and societal discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel.” (U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor)

        “Construction, Not Destruction”
        “While Israeli Arabs constitute 20 percent of the population, Arab communities’ jurisdictions occupy just 2.5 percent of the state’s land area, and the process of approving new construction in Arab towns takes decades.” (Haaretz Editorial, April 4, 2017)

        One example of apartheid within Israel:
        “Jewish town won’t let Arab build home on his own land ”
        Excerpt: “Aadel Suad first came to the planning and construction committee of the Misgav Local Council in 1997. Suad, an educator, was seeking a construction permit to build a home on a plot of land he owns in the community of Mitzpeh Kamon. The reply he got, from a senior official on the committee, was a memorable one. ‘Don’t waste your time,’ he reportedly told Suad. ‘We’ll keep you waiting for 30 years.’” (Haaretz, 14 December 2009)

        Adi Ophir, professor of philosophy, Tel Aviv University: “…the adoption of the political forms of an ethnocentric and racist nation-state in general, are turning Israel into the most dangerous place in the world for the humanity and morality of the Jewish community, for the continuity of Jewish cultures and perhaps for Jewish existence itself.” (1998 issue of “Theory and Criticism,” published in Israel)

        Ilan Pappe, while professor of political science at Haifa University: “[Israel’s] political system [is] exclusionary, a pro forma democracy – going through the motions of democratic rule but essentially being akin to apartheid or Herenvolk (‘master race’) democracy.” (“Jerusalem Report,” Feb. 14/2000)

        Ronnie Kasrils, a key player in the struggle against the former South African apartheid regime, minister for intelligence and a devout Jew: “The Palestinian minority in Israel has for decades been denied basic equality in health, education, housing and land possession, solely because it is not Jewish. The fact that this minority is allowed to vote hardly redresses the rampant injustice in all other basic human rights. They are excluded from the very definition of the ‘Jewish state’, and have virtually no influence on the laws, or political, social and economic policies. Hence, their similarity to the black South Africans [under apartheid].” (The Guardian, 25 May 2005)

        Shlomo Gazit, retired IDF Major General: “[Israel’s] legal system that enforces the law in a discriminatory way on the basis of national identity, is actually maintaining an apartheid regime.” (Haaretz, July 19, 2011)

        The entity known as “Israel” differentiates between citizenship and nationality, i.e., “Israeli” nationality does not exist, only Jews and non-Jews, and each citizen carries an appropriate identity card. While the implications of this absurdity for discrimination and racism against non-Jews are obvious, it has been upheld by Israel’s Supreme Court.

        The effect of Israel’s blatantly racist “Citizenship Law” and more than fifty other restrictions Arab citizens have to endure is well expressed by writer and Knesset member, Ahmed Tibi, “…dutifully defining the state [of Israel] as ‘Jewish and democratic,’ ignores the fact that in practice ‘democratic’ refers to Jews, and the Arabs are nothing more than citizens without citizenship.” (Ma’ariv, 1.6.2005)

    • echinococcus
      June 27, 2018, 2:29 am

      Mooser.

      how is Russia “more enlightened” and Iran a “decent example” “regarding gays”?

      I’ll explain: it’s obvious, really.

      Russia treats the homosexuals with the same democratic and equal-blights benevolence that Azrael generously bestows on its strictly non-discriminated-against Palestinian infidel citizens.

      Iran makes as decent a job of respecting humanitarian law and complying with the commandments of the Rights of Man with regard to its homosexuals as Azrael does towards its post-67 occupied Palestinian slaves.

    • Misterioso
      June 27, 2018, 10:37 am

      @Kay24, et al

      More good news:

      https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-democrat-who-slammed-israel-wins-new-york-primary-1.6218292?utm_campaign=newsletter-daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.haaretz.com%2Fus-news%2F.premium-democrat-who-slammed-israel-wins-new-york-primary-1.6218292&utm_source=smartfocus

      “Democrat Who Slammed Israel for Gaza Killings Is Shock Winner of New York Primary
      Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez, 28, scores decisive victory over House Democrat Joe Crowley after running on a socialist platform.”

      By Allison Kaplan Sommer. Jun 27, 2018 – Haaretz

      EXCERPTS:
      “A young progressive Democrat who has sharply criticized Israel, including calling the killing of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border in May a ‘massacre,’ celebrated an upset victory over a leading House Democrat in a congressional primary race in New York City on Tuesday.
      Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, scored a decisive win over powerful congressman Rep. Joe Crowley, 56. Many observers had believed he was a strong candidate to succeed Rep. Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House of Representatives.”

      “Her victory is being seen as a bellwether for a Democratic Party that is shifting to the left and including more women and people of color as candidates. Crowley’s defeat is seen as a warning to other establishment Democrats.”

      • MHughes976
        June 27, 2018, 12:45 pm

        She seems to be the candidate of JVP. Her friend Cynthia Nixon now has renewed hopes of the Governorship.

      • Kay24
        June 27, 2018, 4:22 pm

        It is heartening, although realistically it cannot happen in Red states.
        I am so disappointed in most of the Democrats, because they toe the zionist line. Alexandria Orcasia-Cortez sounds very promising, and I wish there were more with spine like hers. I have to contend with a corrupt senator here, who shows unwavering love for the zionists, and I suspect helped him out of some ugly situations, which explains the devotion for the zionists.

  2. Maghlawatan
    June 27, 2018, 3:47 am

    Iran doesn’t have Western style gays. It has its own subculture. So does Saudi

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2007/05/the-kingdom-in-the-closet/305774/

    Meanwhile in Judistan El al is asking female passengers to move if ultra Orthodox men object to their presence and women can’t pray at the wall in occupied Jerusalem beside men.

    Israeli liberalsim (for Jews only) will be strangled by the religious.

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