Meretz MK announces plans to challenge Tel Aviv-Jaffa's 15-year mayor. Though he faces difficult odds, Horowitz has a legitimate chance to become the first openly gay mayor of any Israeli city. Knesset Member Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) on Monday announced his intention to run in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipal elections, due to take place on October 22. Horowitz, a second-term MK and former journalist for Channel 10 News, will be challenging former Labor member Ron Huldai, who has served as Tel Aviv's mayor since 1998. If he wins, Horowitz (49) would be Tel Aviv's first openly gay mayor, and the first…Read More... | 2 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
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…Read More... | 12 Comments
Israel’s record on gay rights should be applauded and celebrated, just as its record on Palestinian rights should be scrutinized and challenged. But the military should stay out of the first if it can’t find better answers for the second. The Israeli military, the IDF, is enjoying both widespread praise and criticism this week for the posting on its English-language Facebook page of a photo of two uniformed men holding hands. The photo was taken and distributed just days after Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride Parade, which attracted thousands of foreign visitors to Israel. Its distribution comes amid growing accusations that…Read More... | 25 Comments
MK Anastasia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu) is at it again. Remember the last one, when she poured water on an Arab MK from Labor, Ghaleb Majadele? You can watch that video here. Today she was in a panel discussion in the Knesset, and somehow the topic of homosexuals came up. Michaeli had something to say [Heb], as Ynet reports: Unfortunately I see on Channel 10 programs that show how nice it is to be gay. And they interview his mother, on how miserable she is, suffering, she divorced her husband and her child is gay... I think that most gays are guys…Read More... | 52 Comments
A note added on 6/10/12: I've been doing some thinking since this post was first composed, and I'm not sure that I am entirely comfortable with it. In fact, I am more receptive to criticism in the comments than ever before. The critics are right: I did act in a way that was disrespectful to hard working policemen, condemned to stand in the hot sun. They are also right in regarding the story as possibly trivial. It was a specific incident that does not shed light on issues such as pinkwashing. It could have likely happened everywhere, which would mean…Read More... | 15 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
By Uri Horesh This past weekend, some 300 activists met in Philadelphia to discuss the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, in a conference that drew much attention and controversy among local Jewish-Zionist circles. The conference was organized locally by a group of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania, and modeled after a similar conference held in 2009 at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Unsurprisingly, there were plenty of people and organizations that did not want us to assemble at Penn, and even tried to dissuade the University from allowing Penn BDS, a registered student group, from hosting the event…Read More... | 46 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
Hoping to boost the liberal image of country, Israel has increased efforts to use the gay community for advocacy and PR assignments. This post was updated. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first to appoint a government minister in charge of propaganda, advocacy and international public relations. Minister Yuli Edelstein has taken this position at the head of the Hasbara office so seriously that he has even asked Netanyahu to be relieved of other government duties so that he can concentrate on advocacy and propaganda. Edelstein, a member of Likud, is known for his rightwing views. Recently, he posted a…Read More... | 8 Comments
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'Wars on Gaza have become part of Israel's system of governance': An interview with filmmaker Yotam Feldman http://t.co/7dMiksBo9t
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On visiting the victims of occupation in the south Hebron Hills http://t.co/YO37AXd75k by @MairavZ (via @haaretzcom)
Court questions law enabling confiscation of Palestinian land in Jerusalem http://t.co/4oGUPJYILt
Israel's A-G laments: Nobody criminally investigates settlers for illegal building http://t.co/O6zmeYz8M1