Culture, Israel, Sex & Gender

A Little Taste of the Rhetoric

Over the past week, Jerusalem has been covered with signs and leaflets denouncing the planned Pride Parade, and calling for people to demonstrate against it. The rhetoric has been extremely strong, and quite frightening, and I think it is important that you all see the words that most Israelis, and particularly religious ones are seeing every day. However, on the other hand, I was hesitant to write this article, because I really don’t want to assist in spreading their message. So, as a compromise, I have decided to put these translations of fliers that I have seen on the other side of the jump. You should be aware of just how fierce these attacks are, and for those of you who are in this country, if you care, you should please make your best effort to come to Jerusalem tomorrow to show your support for pride, for human dignity and for tolerance.

The following calls to action were distributed anonymously, on a flier, by the “Central Action Committee for the Cancelation of the ‘Pride Parade.’” It is important to note that I did not pick this flier up in a random chareidi neighborhood. Rather, I found it in the Chovevei Tzion synagogue, a modern, national religious synagogue, in the middle of the classy and expensive neighborhood of Talbiyeh.

To the lovers and servants of God that are in every place, and in Jerusalem, our holy city, in particular.
I heard a rumor that on Friday, the 19 of Marcheshvan, 5777, the licentious of our people are planning, God save us, to once again have a “pride parade” in the holy city of Jerusalem, and that thousands of disgusting people, who commit acts of Sodom and the generation of the flood, want to come to the palace of the King, to show and to prove to the entire world that, as it were, the King is not at home, there is no judge and there is no judgement, and that every man should do whatever he thinks is right.
A parade like this in Jerusalem is the clearest declaration of war against the Holy One Blessed Be He, the King of Kings, within his own house. Imagine for yourselves; if a parade like this would go through the holy city of Jerusalem, a city whose majority of inhabitants are considered faithful to God, and thousands of the perfectly faithful of Israel did not go out to physically stop them, and did not fill the Russian Compound, rather if those people at best would be bothered, and perhaps, if better would be satisfied with symbolic demonstrations. What a tremendous desecration of God’s name that would cause in this world, if they were to see that the King does not even have one real lover, that is prepared to sacrifice himself for the King, but rather that everyone is hypocritical, and that they only care about there own current world and world to come.
What tremendous wrath can be expected for the haters of Israel [an idiom for Israel itself –JF] if a desecration of God’s name like this should pass in the holy city of Jerusalem.
You must know that we are in the difficult period preceding the arrival of the Messiah. And Satan is fighting with all of his power, as he is about to be nullified. And the shell of Amalek, and the fiftieth gate of impurity are fighting self-sacrificingly, and against this, the Holy One Blessed Be He demands self-sacrifice for holiness and in such merit we will be redeemed. And this is the period of inspection, when the Holy One Blessed Be He checks every person to see if he is faithful or not. This is not a time for a man to sit protected in his house. Rather, everyone is required to love the Holy One Blessed Be He more than he loves his body, his life, his family, and everything he owns. If the weak says – I am a hero – and goes on his own, without care for what others do, and affects other people, without care for himself, and goes to fight the wars of our God with self-sacrifice, to physically stop the enemies of God that are trying to force their way into his house, then he will prevent God’s wrath from reaching him, his family, and all of Israel.

That was fairly typical of most things I have seen written. This second article, from the same flier, is remarkable, because here, the person writing it seems to actually understand what the parade is about, why it is happening, and still is opposed.

In approximately a week, on Friday, November 10, on the eve of Holy Shabbat “Va’era” [the name of the portion being read this coming Shabbat –JF] men who have sex with men are expected to come to Jerusalem, from the four corners of the Earth, to parade in its streets. It is worth remembering that in the portion of Noah, the reason for the destruction of the flood is, “And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.” [Gen 6:12] Pushing the world towards moral chaos speeds up its return to physical chaos. This is what has happened in world history, and how much more so in the Land of Israel and in Jerusalem.
This disgusting act received, of course, the approval of the Supreme Court. Those same brutes, in their black cloaks, that prevent Jews from praying in the place of their holiness, on the Temple Mount, in order not to offend, as it were, the Muslims’ feelings.
There is a clear line that passes between individual sins, committed in darkness, without public legitimacy, and the situation wherein the deviant becomes an accepted norm. This is the line between culture and Sodom. It is this line that this evil group of deviants wants to destroy.
And so wrote Rabbi Isaac Lifschitz, “…the intention of this parade’s organizers is to create moral legitimacy for the abhorrent. We are not talking about the legal right to act abhorrently, but rather about a call to change the abhorrent into a moral act. This is a real ethical war. In the writings of the homosexual thinkers [Foucault? –JF] they demand acceptance in the public ‘discourse’ and not just in the courts of law. They are interested in being publicly exposed so that what appears to people as being unethical, will slowly, slowly be accepted as moral. This is a very clever war, and religious people are being drawn into the wrong debate – the debate regarding their right to be homosexual. Our war has to be against the parade itself. We can now allow it to happen in any manner, and we must fight against the phenomenon with all of our ability.”
The war against the parade is now different than the war for Gush Katif, the outposts, or any other orange demonstration. Perhaps, it is even more basic.

9 thoughts on “A Little Taste of the Rhetoric

  1. The primary cause for the hate-based pathology of the heradim is: Text-Idolatry. They have abandoned reason and the scientific-method in favour of worshiping words, fooling themselves that they the worship the Wholly Other. If we can do anything to help the survival of a rational, empathetic, pluralistic Judaism it would be to fight, on every corner and in every blog and at every talking-group, this Text-Idolatry that is rotting our culture and spiritual-nationalism to the core.
    It’s time to rip down the Fence Around The Torah and replace it with Reason & Science.
    When the State of Israel was founded we made a filthy, destructive pact with this 5th Column of text-worshiping idolaters. We agreed to allow their young to skip core national obligations and gave them control over our homes and streets and marketplaces; We treated them in such a way that only furthered their degenerative lifestyle. We spoiled them, accelerating their spiritual rot. We sinned against them, and our future generations, by means of tolerating their idolatry.
    The Fence Around The Torah is a debasing crutch for the animalistic in our midst.
    Reason & Science is an accelerant towards lasting, eternal enlightenment.
    It’s now time we correct this error.
    [email protected]

  2. “It’s time to rip down the Fence Around The Torah and replace it with Reason & Science.”
    Dear Lord…you sound just like a guy at our shul (psychiatrist who lost his license when he, was in “inapropriate” with some of his patients, due to undiagonsed schizophrenia), who walks around on Shabbos telling the rabbi…”You have to replace the Torah with Psychology and Science!!!!” “There’s no God, only Freud”.
    Yes, reason and science will save us all. And since I hang out with science folk on shabbos (m’partner’s a Dr. and most of our religious friends are as well), they’d chuckly at your silly assertion.

  3. To the Orthodox Community (exceptions to those compassionate enough to dissent):
    This might be furry, pain, and mourning speaking – since you support those who would ban my speech i am more comfortable saying this:
    Your friends in Jerusalem have won – and with it they have put another nail in the coffin of the State of Israel. The state my family built. The state founded by waves of secular jews who knew we need a place free from religious persecution.
    In recent decades the religious community has not only hoped on the bandwaggon – they have hijacked it. This is no longer the Israel I know and love. Heavan help us – between the Orthodox Community who want to destroy the very character of the state of Israel and the hostile neighbours who want to destroy the country itself I dont know how Israel can survive. When the supreme court’s rulling are ignored in favour of bigoted Rabbis. When religious discrimination is worse than it is in the Golah.
    The way the Orthodox community has phrased this debate it’s as if I should be HAPPY that no one was killed. I’m revolted.
    Someone please restore my faith in Israel.

  4. For the religious community in Israel to react so fiercely to the pride parade in Jerusalem is a very interesting phenomena. For those who are losing their faiths and being upset about this, I tell you that this is nothing new and nothing unique to Judaism, Israel or Zionism. It is the unfolding of an evolutionary process. It is the clash of “traditional” and modern. Religion especially the monotheistic model is all about authority and it does not jive well with democracy. The pride parade is a celebration of the freedoms of democracy and hence the huge resistance. Removing the fence to me is just the democratization of Judaism. We see this in North America with all the various denominations. Yet, in Israel the “religious” have a monopoly on Judaism and there is little democracy within religion in Israel. The situation is framed in terms of choosing between faith in religion versus faith in science and reason. What is need is a blending of the two plus inclusion of other perspectives to achieve a more integrated and inclusive understanding. There are more and more folks who area doing this and that is encouraging.
    I also want to say that although I would have liked to see the parade happen and I would be there today if I were in Israel, I commend that a compromise was reached. Even though the rationale for it is clearly bullshit, I think that we in Israel as a Jewish people are not ready to have the celebration of democracy in the streets of Jerusalem. There is much work to be done. We have come a long way and the fact that both the religious community and the pride community were able to compromise and the authorities were able to facilitate the compromise is an encouraging outcome of this conflict. That violence was averted is no small accomplishment in this region and in this time.
    I also want to say that although I would have liked to see the parade happen and I would be there today if I were in Israel, I commend that a compromise was reached. Even though the rationale for it is clearly bullshit, I think that we in Israel as a Jewish people are not ready to have the celebration of democracy in the streets of Jerusalem. There is much work to be done. We have come a long way and the fact that both the religious community and the pride community were able to comprise and the authorities were able to facilitate the comprise is an encouraging outcome of this conflict. That violence was averted is no small measure in this region and in this time.

  5. yasher koach, Gili. I see no apocalypse in this. You’re not going to make the gays frum, nor will the haredi abandon Torah for “science.”

  6. Who said Freud?
    And, last check, my license is still valid.
    One has to seriously wonder about those who equate the embrace of reason & science with crack-pots; Has mysticism started to, again, replace rational, unemotional discourse and thought within our folds?
    I truly hope not — abandon cynicism and embrace rationality.
    We can make a difference.
    NEVER let the cynics dissuade you from achieving progress.
    Our future has always belonged to those that try, thank G-d.
    [email protected]

  7. Rob-
    Did it ever occur to you that ham-fisted attempts to use reason and science as a weapon against religious belief (or some such beliefs, or aspects of them) , whether by you today, by left-wing secularists 50 years ago, by the Haskala 100 years ago or by some Enlightenment figures 250 years ago, might have contributed to today’s hard-line Haredi position? (Not that this in any way excuses them.) Maybe an acute awareness that reason (by most definitions) and science (by any definition) seem to be unable to create or command morality would temper your opinions a bit. (Not that I don’t value reason and science: religion without reason and science is falsehood at best, and opens the door to every insanity.)
    By the way, look up the definition of “fifth columnist”. Do you really mean to call the Haredim that? Are they traitors? Should they be treated as traitors? If you really think so, I would say that you are a far bigger problem than they are.

  8. J asks,
    Did it ever occur to you that ham-fisted attempts to use reason and science as a weapon against religious belief (or some such beliefs, or aspects of them) . . . might have contributed to today’s hard-line Haredi position? (Not that this in any way excuses them.)
    Did it “contribute” to Charedi opposition in the old sense of “but-for” causation? Sure. Just as the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine contributed to the prevalence of suicide bombings in Israel, the French Revolution contributed to the rise of Naziism, or the birth of Einstein contributed to Hiroshima. So what? As you note, the fact of such contributions has nothing to do with justifying said consequences.
    Maybe an acute awareness that reason (by most definitions) and science (by any definition) seem to be unable to create or command morality would temper your opinions a bit.
    Why? Science, of course, is amoral (though its practice clearly carries with it any number of moral implications), so why should its inability to create or command morality be deemed as an indictment? Though science produces no insights with any inherent moral content, those insights are still a kind of Truth, one that constitutes a weapon only for those who falsely assert the incompatibly of religion and science.
    By the way, look up the definition of “fifth columnist”. Do you really mean to call the Haredim that? Are they traitors? Should they be treated as traitors? If you really think so, I would say that you are a far bigger problem than they are.
    Fifth columnist? No. After all, they make no secret of their hatred for Israeli democracy, and their intent to violently overthrow the same. Whether or not they should be treated as “traitors” is a matter of semantics; that they have initiated an undeclared civil war against the secular and democratic character of Israeli society – and that they must be opposed with all the resources at the state’s disposal – are not.

  9. I have an extremely firm faith that, one day, our then world-civilization will be wholly dedicated towards understanding the *nature* of Truth — from the artist to the engineer to the gardner. Sure, science as we understand it today will have a role in that everlasting endevour, but so will the methods of reason we have only just begun to formalize. It’s this cultural transformation, this redaction of both empirical and idealist observation, on a scale akin to industrialization and the development of fire, that will unite both religion & hardscience. It’s in this age that, finally, the borders between our present philosophies will wither away and become one. This movement will be the great unifier of our species.
    It is now time to begin the dismanteling of the Fence and nurture the rational in humanity; Our survival as a species depends upon it. Have faith in this process and help realize it within every corner of your lives.
    [email protected]

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