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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gay Palestinians are Too Hot!

Yes, gay Palestinians are too hot to handle for the Israeli gay community! They were not allowed to speak at the recent anti-homophobic demonstration that was held in Tel Aviv following the shooting of two gay youths in the city. A representative of Aswat, the Palestinian lesbian organization located in Haifa, was denied access to the stage to speak to the crowd, so was a former Arab Kenesset member, Issam Makhoul. The response of the organizers was "we can't go so far."

Why?

Because the organizers are afraid that Palestinian gays will speak about the other violence: the violence of the racist Israeli state towards its Arab inhabitants, gay or non-gay, and the violence of the Israeli occupation that victimizes thousands that go unmourned.

Also gay Palestinians may challenge the myth Israelis embrace that Israel is wonderful to Palestinian gays because it's the only democracy in the Middle East. They may tell stories of how Palestinian gays are exploited by the state to construct this myth but how little actual support and help they get.

I also wonder if these kinds of gay Palestinians, the Aswat women kind, are not the gay Palestinians the Israeli establishment likes to parade around. They are gay Palestinians who speak for themselves, they are activists in their own communities, and they have courage and spunk. They don't fit the role assigned to them by the Israeli state and the gay community of either being victims of their society or native informants.

But ultimately gay Palestinians would ruin the anti-homophobic demonstration, which was apparently full of homophobic politicians, by injecting politics into the proceedings. Yes, this was meant to be a feel-good event which had no place for "politics."

As if gay rights and anti-homophobia struggle can be apolitical! Only in Israel.

(ps. my only objection to the article I link to in this post is the hijab metaphor. It is neither necessary nor appropriate).

8 comments:

Rachel Golem said...

Are you bashing Israel in the hope that conservative Muslims will like you?

Good luck with that.

I hope you get the learn the meaning of "Family honor".

Amal A said...

Rachel,

If you read the blog you will know that I'm not in the business of pleasing conservative Muslims. Unlike you, I'm not in the business of defending Israel not matter what. Interesting that you didn't have anything to say about the article itself. As to family honor, again if you read the blog you will find that I know the meaning of that term well. I wonder though if you know the meaning of occupation, racism, and injustice. doubt it.

gilhoch said...

Hi Amal,

Yes i am with you on the "hijab comment"-- tasteless indeed.

And yes, the Israeli Gay community invented a new concept called "the apolitical social movement" ???!!!???!!! only in israel.

best, gil

Robby said...

Maybe the organizers did not want other politics to detract from the main issue of Gay rights? I have attended a few presentations by Muslim speakers to Jewish Groups. Sometimes the presenter states they don't want to take questions about Israel/Palestine.

Do you interpret this as a way to focus on the subject speaker's subject or a cynical attempt to censor the attendees?

Amal A said...

Robby,

But who gets to decide what the main issues of a political movement are? Shouldn't gay Palestinians, who are citizens of Israel, have a say? And clearly for this event there were several speakers and representatives of a range of views. Why not include the Palestinians. Yes, I see this as being motivated at best by fear and at worst by racism (which are related).

Robby said...

IMO - the organizers and/or speakers have the right to decide content, people, etc. It seems reasonable to me that the organizers would to ensure the focus (gay rights) is maintained.

When I attend a presentation (as previously mentioned) by a Muslim speaker it is within their right to declare the subject of Israel off limits. They understand that subject will derail everything else and its better to leave for another time.

It would have been preferable for the Palestinians to speak as well. But I bet if they were allowed to speak with 'conditions' - such as leave the Israeli/Palestinian conflict for another day then we would now be discussing how the Israelis censored the Palestinians.

Anonymous said...

Israel's not the only place where the definition of "politics" is limited to state/nation issues. Despite the reports of infinite progress made in post-Agreement Northern Ireland "politics" still means the national question. Women's rights, gay rights, and even the fight against racism are still thought of as a secondary kind of struggle.

I say this not to minimize the censorship and marginalization of Palestinian gays, but as a reminder that even when the national question is on its way to some kind of resolution, it doesn't automatically resolve other kinds of political issues. This is why I would respectfully disagree with the idea that various forms of politics (gay rights, human rights, national rights) should or even could be separated from each other.

Yes, there's a possibility that one issue will pull focus away from another, but there's also the possibility that mixing issues often enough, though it might cause chaos at first, will actually help alter how people think, and wouldn't that be something!

Robby said...

Al Quds Underground - apparently Israeli artists are too hot for Palestinians.

http://www.ngo-monitor.org/digest_info.php?id=2726

Al Quds Underground: EU funds go to arts festival in Jerusalem that bars Israelis