As long as Palestinians are deprived of their rights by the occupation, we cannot view the achievements of the Israeli LGBTQ community as an indication of tolerance.
By Noa Bassel
Every year in June, during Pride Month, the inherent paradox built in to Israel’s political discourse reaches a fever pitch: the more oppressed a social group is, the more grateful it is expected to be for those things that are taken for granted by the rest of the population. Palestinians should be grateful that they can attend university, feminists should be thankful to Israel for not living in Iran, Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia should say thanks that they are not in their home country, and LGBTQ people should be grateful that they can walk the streets (illustrative examples in Hebrew can be found here, here, here and here).
These groups are systematically attacked or discriminated against by the police, the legal system, state institutions, and the labor market. Yet they are required to be grateful for their situation, if only because of the comparisons made to imaginary scenarios in which we were born someplace else, all while maintaining the labels that deem us inferior.
The “grateful” discourse is spread by internet trolls, Knesset members, Supreme Court judges, and some members of the LGBTQ community, and is based on several significant contradictions. First, in every struggle we are required to stop fighting and be grateful for what we have already achieved — which we wouldn’t have achieved in the first place had we stopped to say thank you back then. I am certain that queers in the 1970s could have been grateful that the law criminalizing sex between men wasn’t enforced, that one could always lie to their boss and have a same-sex relationship after bringing some children into the world in the comforts of a marriage.Read More