Pride Event Changed

Under increasing threats of violence, all sides have reached an agreement on the Jerusalem gay pride event. They have agreed that in lieu of a parade, they will hold a rally in the Hebrew University Stadium. The wingnuts who have been threatening violence have also agreed, apparently, not to disrupt the event. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, the event will certainly be much easier to protect this way. An event in a single place, especially a stadium where you can frisk everyone going in, is a lot easier to keep safe than a moving event with an unlimited number of paths in and out.

On the other hand, it does cave to the threats of violence coming from the loonies, which only guarantees more such threats in the future because they are being rewarded with results. Overall, I would prefer if the Israeli government had said to the nuts, "These are Israeli citizens exercising their rights. Our job is to protect them in the exercise of those rights and we will do so whenever and wherever they choose to exercise them. If you want to exercise your rights by engaging in peaceful protest of this event, we will protect your rights as well. If you attempt to disrupt the parade, you will be arrrested. If you attempt any violent attacks on any of the marchers, our officers have orders to shoot on sight if necessary."

It's entirely possible that this would only have inflamed the crazies even more, that it could spark an escalation in the situation including major violent clashes between the police and the nuts. But to be honest, I am more and more in favor of such confrontations. We empower the government to protect our rights against those who would destroy them, and we arm them for precisely that purpose. And maybe it's time to stand up and say, "No more. We will not cede our liberty to you, we will not allow you to establish a theocracy and we will meet your threats of force with force of our own."

This is not a clash of civilizations, it's a clash for civilization itself. The forces of reaction - Christian, Jewish, or Muslim - seek nothing less than the destruction of modern liberal society and the setting up of a barbaric theocracy that will crush the hard-won freedoms of the last 300 years (the fact that each would be a different flavor of theocracy is irrelevant). If we do not defend those principles, we won't have them much longer.

And you want psycho? How about a Jewish pop singer doing a duet with a Muslim pop singer on a song called "Jerusalem Will Burn", in opposition to the event.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish pop singer Benny Elbaz was so angry about the gay pride march planned for tomorrow that he joined forces with a Muslim man he normally would consider an enemy, to sing a duet he composed denouncing the event.

"Jerusalem Will Burn!" Elbaz croons in Hebrew on the single, released the week before the parade. "There will be no gay march!"

Religious Jews and Muslims are on the opposite ends of the political spectrum on most issues, especially over who should control the contested city of Jerusalem, which Israelis and Palestinians both claim as their capital. But Jews, Muslims, and even some Christians have formed a common front against Jerusalem's gay community, whose planned march they say besmirches the city...

Elbaz formed another of the unlikely partnerships that has characterized the vociferous and at times violent campaign. "I decided to sing with an Arab singer to emphasize that both religions are opposed to the gay parade," Elbaz said. "No religion will have it, especially not in the Holy City."

"Politicians will never make peace," Elbaz said. "But maybe we can."

No, you idiot, you can't "make peace" by killing gays and destroying their rights. These people are completely insane, far beyond trying to reason with.

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I am increasingly coming to the opinion that Jerusalem should be evacuated, its buildings leveled to the ground and the ground sown with salt.

By ThomasTallis (not verified) on 10 Nov 2006 #permalink

Just came back from the rally, with mixed feelings.

On the one hand, it was important to show up and say that liberals are here, and that we will not cave in to violence. On the other hand, it felt quite silly to do this in a stadium in a non-residential part of town, surrounded by 3000 cops.

On the whole, everyone around me seemed quite listless. We knew it was important, we just couldn't bring ourselves to care that much. We clapped hands when appropriate, and after three speeches and half the playlist of the performing band just got up and left.

There were groups in the stadium with more motivation, but the general sentiment was as I described above. Every speech had to mention how we won and actually had the rally, which to my ears rings like an attempt to convince yourself that you won.

Finally, as I wrote in earlier comments, the choices were either to have a rally, or to postpone entirely. Given the situation in Israel, every week would have brought another reason to postpone and so it was probably more realistic to hold it now, but I think this will make the fight for next year's march that much harder.

The police claim that 10,000 people showed up. there was one incident I didn't like, where someone stood before the stage and started screaming something at us, and the security detail cleared him out quickly. In my opinion they should have just frisked him for weapons and then let him scream his piece, which didn't matter since nobody heard him anyway, and it would have been a good image, saying "look, we don't beat up people who disagree with us."

By ParanoidMarvin (not verified) on 10 Nov 2006 #permalink

"Politicians will never make peace," Elbaz said. "But maybe we can."

I think this statement is a sign of genuine mental illness.

A sad day for humans. I hope aliens abduct me tonight so I can beg them to take me away from this planet.

Thomas, that's just part of the paranoid apocalypse rapture yadda yadda scheme plan foretelling. It won't help, much as I wish it would.

"On the one hand, it was important to show up and say that liberals are here, and that we will not cave in to violence. On the other hand, it felt quite silly to do this in a stadium in a non-residential part of town, surrounded by 3000 cops."

That's because it *is* silly, and grossly untrue to the spirit of free speech, which includes the freedom to exercise one's speech in exactly those public places where other citizens--and particularly those who might be surprised or offended by the speech--will be forced to hear it.

This is analogous to, and just as hypocritical as, the "free speech zones" that have been put in place during certain presidential appearanced to ensure that Bush and his entourage do not have to hear what his detractors have to say.

By PhysioProf (not verified) on 10 Nov 2006 #permalink

"On the one hand, it was important to show up and say that liberals are here, and that we will not cave in to violence. On the other hand, it felt quite silly to do this in a stadium in a non-residential part of town, surrounded by 3000 cops."

I know it can be discouraging, but don't forget that this is year over year struggle.

I attended the first 3 or 4 Pride festivals that occurred in Orange County, CA, back in the 80's. We also had religious wingnuts show up and throw rocks, garbage, etc. The city police stood by and did nothing, they even threat ended to close down the festival because it was "encouraging violence".

The following year, the city (Anaheim) refused to give a permit, and in fact outlawed all festivals in that particular park. The Pride festival and parade moved onto the campus of UC Irvine. People joked and called it the "Hide your Pride" festival for many years.

But the gay community in those areas now are pretty vibrant. The good that comes out of these things is that when the gay community gets shoved, it starts to shove back.

Paul Varnel talks about this phenomenon in regards to those states that passed constitutional anti-gay marriage amendments. They all showed large increases in gay and lesbian couples showing up in those states afterward.

Even more significant for our purpose is the fact that states which have or had in 2004 and 2006 battles over Constitutional amendments to prohibit gay marriage had greater than average percentage increases in gay couples. Arizona, Colorado, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri all had increases above the national average. Wisconsin showed a stunning 81 percent increase in the number of acknowledged same-sex couples.

You can find the whole article at:

http://www.indegayforum.org/news/show/31102.html

I can't blame the gay community for deciding to move the event. Even assuming the police came out in full force to protect the marchers, the police can't shoot first. In such a charged atmosphere, avoiding the violence may have been the sensible thing to do.

By Jason Larke (not verified) on 13 Nov 2006 #permalink