Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Jerusalem Pride Returns

The last two years I’ve followed the events surrounding a gay pride event in Jerusalem, which has provoked violent reactions from anti-gay Jews, Muslims and Christians both in and out of Israel. I mean literally violent reactions; members of the Haredi sect of ultra-orthodox Jews have stabbed participants in the parade, tried to stone the mayor of Jerusalem, set fires and committed vandalism and even planted a bomb at the door of a police station.

The 2008 event is scheduled to take place on Thursday and, once again, the nuts are trying to stop it from taking place. They filed a petition with the Israeli supreme court, which rejected their argument and ruled that the event will go on. In that suit, the mayor of the city wrote a letter to the court saying:

“Past experience shows that the parade greatly offends, deliberately and unnecessarily, the feelings of Jews, Muslims and Christians, who view its sheer existence, and the blatant manner in which it takes place, as a desecration of the holy city and of the values with which they were raised.”

I love the admission that its the sheer existence of gay people in public that offends people. The obvious answer: tough shit. That doesn’t give you the right to hurt them or to set bombs or to destroy their equal right to hold a public event. Haaretz reports that opponents of the event are less active this year:

n the past, opposition to the parade has been spearheaded by ultra-Orthodox groups, with yeshiva students protesting in night-long battles with police. But the ultra-Orthodox have maintained a low profile this year, apparently wary of drawing more attention to the parade…

It appears that the protests against the Gay Pride parade will be far less substantial than in previous years, especially because of the religious community’s understanding that it is precisely their protest that grants so much publicity to the event and exposes their youth to the gay/lesbian community.