Gays and Israel Apartheid Week...
Leonard Stern of the Ottawa Citizen looks at Israel Apartheid Week...
Of all the sponsors of Israeli Apartheid Week, the participation of gay and lesbian groups is most disheartening. Harvard University’s Alan Dershowitz tells an anecdote about the time he gave a speech and spotted an anti-Israel sign in the crowd, held aloft by a gay rights group. Dershowitz reminded the protesters that Israel is the one country in the Middle East where they’d be able to hold a gay rights sign in public and not be lynched.
Israel’s official government website celebrates Eytan Fox, one of the country’s best known filmmakers. Fox’s recent movie The Bubble, about a love affair between two men, Arab and Jew, won an award from the U.S.-based Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, for its sensitive depiction of gay people.
Films like that aren’t being made in Syria or Gaza. Gay Muslims have to flee to democratic countries if they want to come out. Israel itself recently took in a gay Palestinian from the West Bank town of Jenin. The man settled in Tel Aviv, moving in with his partner, an Israeli. Thousands of couples — Arab, Jewish, mixed — show up for the gay pride parade in Tel Aviv.
Yet back in Canada, gay student groups denounce Israel as their enemy. They aren’t protesting against the many Muslim countries where homosexuality is criminalized — where, as Der Spiegel recently reported, men suspected of being gay are found with their genitals amputated and anuses sealed with glue.
(When Israel last year suffered an isolated act of homophobic violence — a gunman shot up a gay nightclub — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly expressed his personal horror.)