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gay rights

  • U.S. elections: The majority voting on the rights of the minority

    On Election Day in the United States, Americans are choosing between two different visions for the future of their country. And some are being asked to sacrifice their rights for the sake of one of those visions. Boca Raton, FL and Los Angeles, CA - Every four years, around this time, people begin criticizing the Electoral College in the U.S., and its role in determining the next American president. The system, which sees a certain number of delegates giving their collective vote to the candidate who secures the highest percentage of votes in their respective state, results in certain states…

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  • The importance of thinking outside the LGBT box

    By Leehee Rothschild A recent Israeli celebrity's admission that he has had sexual experiences with men but does not consider himself homosexual has drawn ridicule from the LGBT community, exposing its own biases and intolerance.  My Facebook feed recently filled up with posts by LGBT friends mocking the Israeli singer and songwriter Ze'ev Nehama, who shared with a Yedioth Ahronoth interviewer (Hebrew) his sexual experiences with other men. In the interview, Nehama said that while he did have sexual encounters with men, he does not define himself as a homosexual, since these encounters were merely sexual, and not emotional. This…

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  • Pushed aside, Israeli gay rights movement searches for footing

    It is not as severe as Iran's nuclear program, not as consensual as the movement calling for a universal draft, and not as hip as the growing fight for social justice. The gay struggle just can't seem to find its place. By Amnon Brownfield Stein There wasn't much pride in the Jerusalem air Thursday evening. The annual pride parade - once a matter of critical national importance, was serene. The pride parades in the city, which started 10 years ago, were no stranger to public controversy. In 2002, Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev said of the marchers, "We must exterminate this…

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  • Is the IDF the world's most liberal institution?

    If you read the international press and watch the images of female and gay soldiers, it can sometimes seem that way. Yet an institution cannot be separated from its main function. Our company's staff sergeant at basic training was a short bald man, who used to terrorize us in our first days at camp with endless "repeated training" – a punishment for bad behavior that came in the form of push ups, jumps and running up hills with all kind of gear – bags, machine guns – once we even had to carry our beds. He also used to refer…

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  • Film on gays and IDF could reinforce Israeli militarism

    When "Yossi and Jagger" appeared 10 years ago, I found it both heartrending and groundbreaking. Opening up the still-taboo subject of homosexuality in the army, the film provided a sharp critique of the militarist-machoist complex that reigns over Israeli society in general. It exposed simply but precisely how that complex is the source of various social ills that touch the lives of many ordinary Israelis. The central plot revolved around the secrecy of gay life, but the film smoothly incorporated low-volume sub-plots that exposed the other sinister consequences: the exploitation and abuse of women, the alienation of parents from their…

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  • Upcoming amendment will test Israeli gov't regard for LGBT rights

    Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren recently boasted about Israel's record on gay rights - however the LGBT community in Jerusalem has faced repeated intolerance and push back from the government. A proposal to be presented this Sunday to extend protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation will be the real test of its commitment to gay rights.  By Elinor Sidi "In Israel, LGBT rights is not an issue that divides us, it is a vision that unites us," said Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, in Philadelphia two weeks ago. In his keynote, Oren took…

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  • Controversy over Israeli envoy's address at gay rights forum

    WASHINGTON - Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren delivered a keynote speech at the 20th Annual Equality Forum held over the weekend in the U.S. city of Philadelphia, but his selection as the featured guest angered some pro-Palestinian activists in the LGBT community. The forum is intended to celebrate the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Transgender, Queers and other individuals, often referred to as LGBT.  This year, the Forum's executive committee chose to honor Israel, with its culture capital Tel Aviv recently listed as the number one gay destination in the world.  The committee invited Israel's Ambassador to Washington to address…

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  • Ambassador Oren boasts Israel's record on gay rights - but gets facts wrong

    Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren claims "Israel fought for gay rights even before 1967." Problem is, homosexuality was illegal until 1988. Michael Oren, the American Jew turned Israeli ambassador to the US, is apparently not content with embarrassing himself about Israel's record regarding its Christian citizens. In an interview with the Philadelphia newspaper Metro, Oren said that "Israel was fighting for gay rights before the 1967 war. Even when terrorists were blowing up our buses and cafes, there was equality for gays." Leaving aside the second and particularly ignorant part of this statement – what the hell is…

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  • Israeli paper runs controversial NY Times 'pinkwashing' piece

    A couple of months ago, the New York Times run an op-ed titled "Israel and ‘Pinkwashing,’" which accused Israel of using the issue of gay rights to whitewash its deteriorating human rights record. Quote: In Israel, gay soldiers and the relative openness of Tel Aviv are incomplete indicators of human rights — just as in America, the expansion of gay rights in some states does not offset human rights violations like mass incarceration. The long-sought realization of some rights for some gays should not blind us to the struggles against racism in Europe and the United States, or to the…

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  • Orthodox rabbi marries gay couple in historic wedding in DC

    For the first time in history, Steve Greenberg, an openly-gay American rabbi ordained by the Orthodox movement, has officiated at a same-sex wedding ceremony. On Thursday night at Washington DC’s “Historic 6th and I Synagogue,” Greenberg stood under the chupah, a traditional Jewish wedding canopy, as newlyweds Yoni Bock and Ron Kaplan tied the knot before some two-hundred guests. Recognizing the unique – and controversial – moment, Greenberg’s voice notably cracked when near the end he stated, “By the power invested in me by the District of Columbia, I now pronounce you married.” Greenberg gained notoriety following his role in…

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  • Israel’s “pinkwash” makes cynical use of gays & gay rights

    Israel’s latest hasbara schtick falls flat in days A couple of days ago, a Youtube video of some guy calling himself Mark popped up. Mark claimed to be an American gay rights activist who decided to broaden his horizons and, going all hog, decided to join the Gaza flotilla, representing the gay rights group of which he is a member. He sent an email to the flotilla organizers, but – alas! – after waiting for quite a while, received a negative reply. Upon which Mark experienced a Road to Damascus moment, the scales fell from his eyes, and he saw…

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  • Marriage, gay marriage: Just how liberal is Israel?

    As New York legalizes gay marriage, Israel looks more and more like a theocracy The senate of the state of New York legalized civil marriages between gay couples tonight. New York, where the fight for gay rights began, is the sixth state in the US which affirms the rights of gay people to marry. South Africa passed a similar bill two years ago, and a large number of countries recognize a union – not a full marriage – between gay couples. Israel claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East, one which particularly gay-friendly. Thia is is a…

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