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Fanning flames of hatred in Jerusalem on Tisha B’Av

As in years past, fundamentalists in Jerusalem are attempting to incite the ultra-Orthodox against the LGBT community. Judaism, however, is not an enemy of tolerance.

By Elinor Sidi

The Jerusalem LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community again encountered hateful signs plastered across the city this week, as seen in the below pashkevil (Yiddish bulletin poster). We were surprised to see this once familiar relic we came to know so well from 2005 and 2006, when the city was burning with hatred. This pashkevil again quotes the same survey justifying homophobia on the basis that it is found in all three monotheistic religions. The new pashkevil refers to the Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance as the “Abomination March” and commands that we “leave them alone.”

Pashkevil refering to the Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance as the “Abomination March.” (Photo: Aviram Zino)

On the Jewish holiday of Tishah B’Av, as we remember the destruction of the city due to baseless hatred, we are amazed to see extremists trying to reignite the fires that once burned in Jerusalem. In the more recent past, we saw the city engulfed in flames in 2005 and 2006 due to intolerance. We are terribly saddened to see that there are forces attempting again to fan those fires.

The JOH (Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance) is trying to act responsibly in the face of threats. We are reminding our community members that we will not allow the same hatred that once destroyed the city, to destroy us. The complicated social fabric of Jerusalem will not be torn apart by brotherly hatred.

Judaism is often used as an excuse to justify homophobia, racism and hatred. We believe that Judaism is not an enemy of tolerance, nor is Judaism contradictory to pluralism. Homophobia is an illness that infects all segments of Israeli society, not just the religious. We find it very troubling that extremists are using Judaism to justify their intolerance, especially on this day.

It is clear that this is not an ultra Orthodox pashkevil, as it is not written in ultra-Orthodox language and references secular statistics from a secular perspective. We believe that fundamentalists are trying to use the Orthodox communities in order to ignite the city. We call upon all those who believe in baseless love, justice, and the true meaning of Judaism to stand up for tolerance.

Elinor Sidi is the Executive Director of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Philos

      “We believe that Judaism is not an enemy of tolerance, nor is Judaism contradictory to pluralism.”

      Either you’re not reading the “Bible” properly or skipping over all the parts that include misogyny, hatred of Gentiles, genocide, infanticide, rape and just general awfulness. But you know perhaps you can show me the love of Judaism in our morning prayer:

      Blessed are you, Ha’Shem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a Gentile

      Blessed are you, Ha’Shem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a slave

      Blessed are you, Ha’Shem, King of the Universe, for not having made me a woman

      Reply to Comment
    2. Vadim

      I have no issues with gays. I know several gay people and can honestly say I didn’t care in the least when I first found out. I support same-sex marriage and every struggle of the gay community for equality and recognition.

      I hate the parade (or March for Pride and Tolerance). I find it needlessly extravagant and immature. It may fit Tel Aviv but I’m not sure it fits Jerusalem.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oVOYjjvmp1A

      If you wish for people to leave you alone – leave others alone as well.

      Reply to Comment

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