Community leaders comparing members of the minority group unfavorably to animals, and exhorting their respective constituents to commit massacres. Overturned dumpsters and car tires on fire, riots in the streets across the country. Deafening silence from middle-of-the-road politicos who would prefer to lose lives than to lose votes. Sounds like a slaughter scenario for the foreign media outlets to ignore, then make a multi-million dollar movie about. Meaning no disrespect to the long-suffering people of Rwanda, and all other occupied peoples on the planet – how many Middle-Eastern Matthew Shepherds do we have to bury before we can just be?
The ultra-Orthodox rabbis have issued a religious edict on the eve of the Jerusalem Pride Parade – to kill gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered is a Yahweh-sanctioned commandment. This audacious act occurs within one week of the annual memorial for the late Yitzhak Rabin, the former Prime Minister of Israel who was murdered by a Jew “just following ‘Torah’ orders.” In any other country in the Western World, this would be called criminal homophobic hate-speech. In Israel, it is announced at joint press conferences with the police.
These people would be called fascists if they were fundamentalists of a different feather, but because they claim the Jewish religion, they reserve the exclusive right to use anti-Nazi nomenclature. Anyone who opposed their collective will, including the capital city’s Chief of Police, is labeled a concentration camp kapo, every fag or dyke is an S.S. soldier. Earlier this year, one of their own was arrested after crushing his own son’s skull. In response, the Haredi hooligans went wild in the streets, calling the charges Judeophobic, an anti-Semitic blood libel.
“Civilized” calls to cancel the parade have compared LGBTs marching in the streets of Jerusalem to messianic Jews who want to pray on the Temple Mount, above the Wailing Wall, outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque. If these religious zealots are barred from entering the grounds of the mosque, for fear of provoking Arab Muslim religious sensibilities, the theory goes, then Queers should be kept off the streets of the city that’s holy to both Judaism and Islam, and Christianity to boot. Finally, the Jews and Arabs have something they can agree on: the only thing worse than each other are the fucking homos!
Yet, the planned route of the Pride Parade doesn’t pass by any big synagogues, churches, or mosques. Hell, it doesn’t even weave through any ultra-Orthodox neighbourhoods. In comparison to the Dionysian debauchery of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem’s first-ever Pride Parade last year was quite subdued, without the drag shows and public nudity that are normally considered part and parcel of Queer culture. There is no logical contradiction here: the faith-based modesty police can claim some specific sites as out-of-bounds – but certainly not all of the streets in the city center.
Others that are opposing the Pride Parade – and until most recently, this group has included many straight so-called left-wing liberals – have argued that Tel Aviv is the correct venue for homosexual activities, and that Jerusalem’s status as a holy city should not be tainted. The secular apologists have made the mistake of allowing these extremists to define the terms of debate, to determine exactly what is sacred, and what is profane. Offhand, I can think of many Jewish religious practices that are barbaric and patently offensive to me – the outright oppression of all women springs to mind. “What is food to one, is to others bitter poison.”
Regardless, this is no Homosexual Settlers’ Movement, trying to conquer Al-Quds; there are plenty of native Jerusalemites that do their fair share of ass-fucking and carpet-munching, they don’t need any fisting lessons or reaming reinforcements from Tel Aviv. In fact, the Queer community of Jerusalem has its own local flava. For a few years now, they have been holding successful weekly Drag King performances, something that lots of cities many times its size can’t claim. For these boiz and grrlz, Jerusalem is the only city they know, and they have every right to claim it as their own.
Pride in the Western World can feel so pointless sometimes, but this year, for the Queer community of Al-Kuds, the Wailing Wall may be our Stonewall. Last year, when there was no political hot potato, someone at the parade was stabbed by a homophobic Haredi. This year, the rabbis calling all their students out of the yeshivas and into the streets. For every homo at the parade, there are expected to be at least 100 frothing-at-the-mouth fascists, itching to fuck up a few fags, rip us limb from lezzy limb. So we just wanted to inform you that tomorrow, we may be killed with our lovers. But at least we’ll die with pride.