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Can gay sex succeed where Colin Powell failed?
May 6, 2002 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Can gay sex succeed where Colin Powell failed? Great story about Jerusalem's first gay pride parade, planned for June 7. Orthodox deputy mayor Shmuel Shkedi is incensed: "The very existence of these people is a provocation, their existence is uncivilized...This thing must be condemned." Meanwhile, the organization behind the march, Jerusalem Open House, continues to host meetings of Israeli and Palestinian gays and lesbians on the same street where suicide bombers killed 11 and injured 188 last Dec. And here's a report of Arik Sharon telling g/l leaders, "I think everybody should live their lives as they choose to" at a Feb. 26 meeting -- the first-ever between an Israeli Prime Minister and representatives of the lesbian/gay/bi/transgender community. Commence group hugging now. (more links inside)
posted by mediareport (25 comments total)

 
This is not just about Jews and Muslims. This is very Christian: they are learning to turn the other cheek.
posted by Postroad at 5:26 PM on May 6, 2002


Fascinating history of the gay/lesbian movement in Israel from 1975 to the present

World's first international gay Muslim organization (lots of great info)

One radical gay Israeli's take on the Occupation

Gay Mundo, a sharp international queer news site

posted by mediareport at 5:32 PM on May 6, 2002


If they're promoting any sort of unity, more power to 'em.
posted by donkeyschlong at 5:32 PM on May 6, 2002


Gay Israeli/Palestinian couple in Jerusalem from Salon.com
posted by cell divide at 5:40 PM on May 6, 2002


Cell divide: that made me happy. Thank you.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:43 PM on May 6, 2002


Postroad: lol

Anyway, I don't think Gay sex will help things much.
posted by delmoi at 5:43 PM on May 6, 2002



Is it too much to ask that folks actually read a link or two and perhaps take a breath to ponder for a moment before posting?


But, since you bothered, Postroad: I didn't mention Jews and Muslims in the FPP; I mentioned Israelis and Palestinians. Given the fundamentalist religious nuts on both sides it's an important distinction, no?

I wonder if news that Sharon is a gay rights activist will cause some fundie Christians in the U.S. to rethink their blind support for the government of the Holy Land. Maybe we should tell them. :)
posted by mediareport at 5:43 PM on May 6, 2002


A gay pride parade promoting peace between an age old conflict.
Men in brightly colored tights save the world.
welly-well-well
posted by fuq at 5:44 PM on May 6, 2002


Well at least now the Israelis and Palestinians can't say they don't have anything in common.... they both probably hate this group with the same vehemence and for the same reasons. ;-)
posted by timyang at 6:22 PM on May 6, 2002


except that, without even reading the link, you would see that sharon doesn't...

thanks mediareport, and cell divide for your consistently good links :)
posted by rhyax at 6:51 PM on May 6, 2002


I wonder if news that Sharon is a gay rights activist will cause some fundie Christians in the U.S. to rethink their blind support for the government of the Holy Land. Maybe we should tell them. :)

Since we don't have many of those fundies here but plenty of lefties, maybe the question to ask is: Do you figure the news that the Arab societies and governments in the region are extremely homophobic* will cause some leftists to rethink their blind support of the Palestinian cause?

* Mideast legal survey on homosexuality
posted by boaz at 6:40 AM on May 7, 2002


In my experience, gay sex can make many dreams come true :D
posted by holycola at 6:49 AM on May 7, 2002


I hope people who are bashing Islamics for their views on homosexuality (any Fortuyn followers around?) take good notice of the "sickness and deviance" adjectives applied by the very Jewish mayor of Jerusalem to a gay pride ... march!
posted by magullo at 6:50 AM on May 7, 2002


Wow, lots of good links. Last year I had the opportunity to see Trembling Before G-d, a documentary featuring gay Orthodox Jews in the US and abroad. A provacative and troubling film, it didn't go over well in Jerusalem.
posted by cowboy_sally at 7:06 AM on May 7, 2002


Do you figure the news that the Arab societies and governments in the region are extremely homophobic* will cause some leftists to rethink their blind support of the Palestinian cause?

Is that really news to anyone? It's hard to imagine how it could be. Those Egyptian show trials and beatings of gay men, for just one example, got fairly wide play. And, as magullo pointed out above, extreme homophobia is obviously at work in the most intractable elements on the Israeli side as well. "The very existence of these people is a provocation"??? Jesus. Guess we'd better eliminate them all, then, huh? And are we talking about queers or Palestinians? Does it really matter?

The Sharon-being-ok-with-homosex thing was news to me. I'm not quite sure how to take it, since it's hard to reconcile with his cynical pandering to the ultra-Orthodox settlers whose minority controls Israeli policy on the Palestinian question. If Sharon can defy them on a hot-button like homosexuality, why not try it on the settlements? Oh, yeah, that whole Eretz Yisroel thing. Never mind.
posted by mediareport at 7:35 AM on May 7, 2002


I hope people who are bashing Islamics for their views on homosexuality (any Fortuyn followers around?) take good notice of the "sickness and deviance" adjectives applied by the very Jewish mayor of Jerusalem to a gay pride ... march!

I'm guessing you can find homophobic politicians in pretty much any country in the world, especially once you go down to city-level politics. However, my earlier link includes Israel too so you can compare and contrast all you want on actual government policy. In case your clicking finger is broken, it's fair to say that Israel is considerably more liberal than the US on this point, with guaranteed domestic partner benefits, a non-discriminatory army and laws banning employment discrimination. For contrast, homosexuality is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia and Iran and with considerable jail time in most other Middle East countries.
posted by boaz at 7:44 AM on May 7, 2002


One more thing, boaz: I wasn't suggesting there were a lot of Christian fundies here. I was suggesting it would be interesting to go out and find some and tell them about Sharon's support of equal rights for homosexuals. Sorry if that wasn't clear.
posted by mediareport at 7:47 AM on May 7, 2002


Is that really news to anyone? It's hard to imagine how it could be.

So you've been supporting them for years knowing that all along? Shocking. ;)
posted by boaz at 8:30 AM on May 7, 2002


So, given the thread directly under this one, when are we gonna start seeing SuicideBomberGirl.com?
posted by Danf at 8:30 AM on May 7, 2002


Boaz sweetie, you're awful cute when you're trolling, but I'm way ahead of you. Gay rights are going to be a tough sell in any non-secular society, no? So the deeper question is how we create the circumstances for sexual tolerance to blossom. Seems to me that if you want to ask someone about their religion's amazing history of intellectual inquiry and fabulous art, and ask whether there's anything you can do to help support a Muslim cultural rennaissance that contains its extreme, distorted fundamentalism, the absolute worst time to ask is as you're stealing that person's land out from under them.

Smooch.

p.s. The issue was "blind support," not "support."
posted by mediareport at 8:55 AM on May 7, 2002


Uh, mediareport, Egypt was the country that got all its captured land back from Israel, remember? How's the renaissance coming along there? Sexual tolerance is blossoming, right? How about those countries that never lost a square micron to Israel, like Saudi Arabia and Iran? I'm sure they're gonna have a new age of wisdom and tolerance any second now. Even more curious, the Arab countries with the greatest tolerance are perennial Israel/U.S. whipping boys Lebanon and Iraq. Blindness, meet support; support, meet blindness.
posted by boaz at 10:20 AM on May 7, 2002


Uh, mediareport, Egypt was the country that got all its captured land back from Israel, remember? How's the renaissance coming along there?

Oh, please, boaz. Signs of an active struggle against fundamentalism in Egypt are easy to find by anyone who bothers to look.

How about those countries that never lost a square micron to Israel, like Saudi Arabia and Iran? I'm sure they're gonna have a new age of wisdom and tolerance any second now.

What exactly is the argument you're making here? That the government of Saudi Arabia is repressive? Or that Islam is an inherently stupid religion and Muslim-majority countries like Iran are forever doomed to be democratic backwaters? I guess that means the obvious forces calling for change in Iran are all faking it.

Bottom line: One of the best hopes we have for creating a new node of secular Islam in the world is an independent Palestinian state with close economic and cultural ties to Israel. I repeat: One of the best hopes we have for creating a new node of secular Islam in the world is an independent Palestinian state with close economic and cultural ties to Israel. Ignoring the Israeli land grab and making veiled accusations of cultural inadequacy doesn't help us get to the root of the problem. If you can't see that, boaz, you're in no position to be accusing other people of blindness.
posted by mediareport at 10:59 PM on May 7, 2002


Oh, please, boaz. Signs of an active struggle against fundamentalism in Egypt are easy to find by anyone who bothers to look.

I'm confused here. What part of they got their land back did you fail to understand? Seriously though, you realize that this struggle is actually the systematic oppression by the government of fundamentalists that enjoy wide popular support, not the other way around, right? And still, what part of they got their land back did you fail to understand?

Bottom line: One of the best hopes we have for creating a new node of secular Islam in the world is an independent Palestinian state with close economic and cultural ties to Israel. I repeat: One of the best hopes we have for creating a new node of secular Islam in the world is an independent Palestinian state with close economic and cultural ties to Israel.

Wow. You've got an amazing ability to make strong assertions, repeatedly even, in direct contradiction of known facts. Were these countries engaged in a secular renaissance in 1966, before the Six-Day War (you remember, when Jordan and Egypt were the ones not forming a Palestinian state)? How about in 1947, before Israel was even founded? How about in 1979 when Israel gave back the Sinai?

And really, WTF is secular Islam? You know the definition of secular I assume, and that Islam is a religion, and therefore not secular by definition.

Ignoring the Israeli land grab and making veiled accusations of cultural inadequacy doesn't help us get to the root of the problem.

How much of their effort is spent complaining about Israel is a pretty clear indication that their own societal exploits are falling short of their expectations. Same goes for Chomskyite leftists. As for the root of the problem, corrupt, totalitarian governments are the scourge of pretty much the entire 3rd world, not just the Mideast. After all, Africa hasn't suddenly undergone a new renaissance with the fall of apartheid in South Africa. The return of Hong Kong hasn't sparked a democratic revolution in the Asian subcontinent. The problem: all the same dictators and tyrants are still there. To fix a region requires structural, not symbolic change, mediareport; check your starry-eyed idealism at the door please.
posted by boaz at 6:02 AM on May 8, 2002


You're swinging more wildly with every post, boaz, but at least you're providing some laughs along the way. I just love the dictionary definition that conclusively proves there can be no such thing as secular Islam.

What part of they got their land back did you fail to understand?

The part where you think that should have stopped Islamic fundamentalism in Egypt dead in its tracks. But is there really any doubt that solving the Palestinian question fairly (i.e., giving up fundie Jewish dreams of Eretz Yisroel) will do a lot to reduce tension and the appeal of extremist Islam in the Middle East? It's hardly a radical view, boaz; hell, it's in the freaking Mitchell Report: "A cessation of Palestinian-Israeli violence will be particularly hard to sustain unless the Government of Israel freezes all settlement activity."

The settlement-building continued under Rabin, for crying out loud, but right-wing Jewish fundies assassinated him anyway -- a lesson I'm sure Israeli politicians haven't forgotten.

To fix a region requires structural, not symbolic change, mediareport; check your starry-eyed idealism at the door please.

Starry-eyed idealism, my ass. The very existence of the Jerusalem Open House at the top of this thread makes my point quite nicely. But, ok, you want "structural change?" Try two independent states in close geographical proximity with deeply interwoven economies and a population of workers that crosses the border twice every day. If you know of a better way to foster a more open Palestinian society, boaz, please feel free to share.
posted by mediareport at 11:50 AM on May 8, 2002


The part where you think that should have stopped Islamic fundamentalism in Egypt dead in its tracks.

Wait, wasn't that your claim? You give the land back, you help the secular cultural renaissance. Let's recap the last 22 years of Israel-Egypt for those playing along at home: Israel gives captured land back to Egypt; Islamic fundamentalism increases markedly in Egypt. Of course, Sadat got assassinated for his efforts as well, a lesson that could hardly be lost on Arab leaders.

Try two independent states in close geographical proximity with deeply interwoven economies and a population of workers that crosses the border twice every day.

Priceless. Refuting my claim of starry-eyedness by wantonly engaging in it. As they say up here in New England, "Can't get there from here."

If you know of a better way to foster a more open Palestinian society, boaz, please feel free to share.

Israel's already the most open Palestinian society by far. Maybe we should work on making a more open Egyptian, Iranian, Iraqi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwaiti, Yemenite, Lebanese, Syrian or Jordanian society instead. I'd hate to see how a gay pride march would end in any of those countries.
posted by boaz at 3:21 PM on May 8, 2002


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