While the majority of Israel's radical left focuses on the Prawer Plan or ending the occupation, it tends to neglect the hardships of the LGBT community. By Leehee Rothschild Last Thursday, I attended the protest against the Prawer Plan in the Negev. There, in the heat, hundreds of people stood and chanted slogans against the plan which could evict up to 40,000 Bedouin, Israeli citizens, from their homes. I was there to protest ethnic cleansing, racism, prejudice, and ongoing discrimination. On Thursday I went to a demonstration against Prawer Plan, a demonstration whose importance is beyond any shred of doubt, and yet, the…Read More... | 14 Comments
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…Read More... | 2 Comments
This week: A hunger striker bakes bread, African immigrants celebrate refugee rights, LGBT activists take to the streets around the world, price tag attacks hit Palestinian East Jerusalem, weekly West Bank demonstrations continue, an eviction is avoided, and privatization protests spread to Jerusalem.Read More...
Instead of giving asylum seekers the benefit of the doubt, as international law prescribes, in Israel, the district courts find doubts, the Supreme Court approves their decisions, and persecuted peoples are deported before the merits of their cases can be examined. Everyone can sleep soundly. Israel's asylum system is designed to allow everyone, aside from asylum seekers, to sleep soundly. The chairman of the Advisory Committee on Refugees said in an interview last year that he sleeps soundly when he rejects asylum requests, because he knows that if he has erred, the court will rectify the mistake. District court judges…Read More... | 10 Comments
As if it wasn't enough to offer Jews around the world a trip to Israel totally free of charge, the Birthright industry is now marketing "the only skateboarding trip to Israel" and a "hip hop" trip. This is in addition to the already popular "niche" tours that include those catering to the LGBT community, food enthusiasts and wheelchair-bound Jews. The American Zionist youth movement Young Judea hosting these flyers on its website explains the skateboarding trip as "Based on the core Israel Now itinerary, this program is specially offered to people who board. No posers. No pushers. Go to explore and to…Read More... | 17 Comments
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…Read More... | 17 Comments
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…Read More... | 10 Comments
On June 23, two protests took place in Tel Aviv. The first was a protest in response to incitement against the LGBT community by MK Anastasia Michaeli. The second was a spontaneous demonstration protesting the violence police employed against social justice activists the day before. Israel Social TV brings you coverage. This video was produced by Israel Social TV, an independent media NGO working to promote social change, human rights, social justice and equality, and to mobilize its viewers towards activism. Related: WATCH: Thousands block highway, attack banks in J14 protest Amidst hostile media and police violence, J14 finds new voice MK…Read More... | 1 Comment
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…Read More... | 3 Comments
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…Read More... | 16 Comments
A shelved bill that pits Jerusalem's holy character against the rights of the LGBT community was recently put on the Knesset table again, posing a serious threat to Israeli democracy. By Elinor Sidi Israeli democracy has reached a crucial point in its existence. Although Prime Minister Netanyahu recently halted the promotion of anti-democratic legislation that threatened the funding of left-wing NGOs, this certainly does not mean that silencing, sanctioning, threatening and prevention of basic human rights have stopped. Moreover, it certainly does not mean Knesset members have ceased being irresponsible, populist and un-democratic. Take the following story as a shining…Read More... | 12 Comments
A group of American academics and artists who identify as part of the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) community recently released an open letter and petition endorsing the Palestinian call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel. The group, which included filmmaker Barbara Hammer, famous for her avantgarde lesbian feminist cinema, was just on a trip to Israel and Palestine earlier this month. In their letter, they list the human rights violations they witnessed: -a segregated road system (one set of roads for cars with Israeli plates, and another much inferior one for cars with Palestinian plates) throughout the…Read More... | 19 Comments
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…Read More... | 3 Comments
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On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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Plan to displace Bedouin
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"We are already living in one state - it’s just a matter of time before the political system comes around" http://t.co/vyPJk3pKnd
Knesset raises threshold to four seats, putting Arab parties at risk of not entering parliament, by @nsheizaf http://t.co/4Wzan8vOqg
When will Israelis start speaking Arabic in public? by @myaguarnieri http://t.co/vyPJk3pKnd
Family members mourn Saji Sayel Darwish who was killed by IDF fire. More @activestills photos: http://t.co/WMgkgH5LDd http://t.co/Q3eyXx0ceM
'It's the occupation and Israeli bigotry, not boycotts, that are anti-Semitic' http://t.co/HivkM6y0j0