Guest Blogger

Israel: At the Forefront of Gay Rights

Filed By Guest Blogger | April 17, 2008 3:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics
Tags: gay history, gay icons, gay rights, Israel, The Israel Project

Editors' note: Guest blogger Michal Slawny is a member of the communications team of The Israel Project (TIP). TIP works to educate the press and the public about Israel. Resources are at the bottom of the post.

At only 60 years old, Israel has become one of the most progressive countries in the world and the most tolerant country in the Middle East in legislating equality for sexual minorities and ensuring their civil and personal rights.

Israel will be a state based on the principles of liberty, justice and peace as envisioned by the prophets of Israel; it will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, irrespective of religion, race or sex.

Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site, May 1948

There are several explanations about how Israel has come to embrace its gay and lesbian community. One is that the family as an institution is central to Israeli Jewish society. Therefore, parents would rather accept their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) children than let homophobia destroy family unity. Because Israel is such a small country, LGBT individuals are never socially or geographically far away from their families; a tight web of social relations guarantees that one can never be totally anonymous. Jews, having faced persecution for centuries, understand the plight of gays, who were killed alongside Jews during the Holocaust. Additionally, Israelis live in constant threat of attacks from neighboring countries, making unity a priority and minor differences, including those relating to sexuality, less critical. Also, Israel is in many ways a Western society and therefore has a more liberal perspective than its Middle East neighbors on a variety of issues, including sexual orientation and sexuality. Finally, Israel, as a democratic and mostly secular society, has been a model for promoting the rights of all of its citizens, regardless of gender, religion or race.

First and foremost, gay rights are protected by law. Gay marriages - performed outside Israel - are recognized by the state, and same-sex couples are permitted to adopt. Gays can serve openly in the military. Gender reassignment surgery is legal and openly performed. The gay community has gained wide acceptance throughout Israeli society, including in the political, legal, military and cultural realms. In fact, the city of Tel Aviv has one of the most flourishing gay communities in the world.

Because of these freedoms - and intolerance of gays in Muslim countries and entities such as areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) - Israel has become a haven for gay Palestinians who flee persecution in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where they are subject to severe abuse by their families, communities, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

Opposition to the gay community does exist in Israel, primarily from members of the ultra-Orthodox community and ultra-Orthodox religious groups in the Knesset, or Israeli Parliament.

When protests arose against plans to hold a gay-pride parade in the streets of Jerusalem in 2006, pressure from the ultra-Orthodox community and ultra-Orthodox clergy prompted moving the parade to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's sports stadium. In addition, members of religious groups in the Knesset have made derogatory statements about gays and certain groups have attempted unsuccessfully to stop legislation affording the gay community equal rights.

As far as the gay and lesbian struggle for civil rights is concerned, the struggle is over.

-- Dr. Amit Kama, Department of Communications, Emek Yezreel Academic College Since 1982, Dr. Amit Kama has been active in various LGBT organizations and served as the first executive director of the Society for the Protection of Personal Rights (SPPR) in the early 1990s. In 2003, Kama published the first Hebrew language book that covered the history, sociology and psychology of gay men in the world, and Israel in particular.

In response to marked opposition to gays by members of the Orthodox community, some of its members who are gay launched a Web site in February designed to provide support and advice to gay religious Jews. One of the founders of the Web site, HOD (the Hebrew acronym for religious gays), is an only openly gay rabbi.

Israeli Gays/Lesbians in Politics

Gays serve openly in public life, such as in the Knesset and municipal courts. For example:

  • In 2002, Dr. Uzi Even became the Knesset's first openly gay member. In 2006, Even, who no longer serves in the Knesset, left the leftist Meretz Party for the more centrist Labor Party.
  • In 1998, Michal Eden was elected to the Tel Aviv City Council, becoming the first openly lesbian elected official in Israel.
  • In 2003, Saar Netanel, a Jerusalem city council member and member of the Meretz Party, became the first openly gay man elected to a city council in Israel. That same year, Etai Pinkas was elected to the Tel Aviv City Council, replacing Michal Eden. Pinkas is a former counselor for the Meretz Party.

Significant Legislation and Developments in the Gay Community

In the last two decades, gay rights have advanced significantly -- legally and politically -- in Israel. In addition to recognizing same-sex marriages performed outside of the country and legalizing adoptions by lesbian and gay couples, there are numerous other examples of noteworthy legislation to advance gay rights. For example:

I welcome the decision. There is no reason why same-sex couples who meet the criteria for adoption should not be able to join the process of adoption and of parenthood. We must adapt to the spirit of the times and the changes that are afoot.

-- Israeli Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog, commenting on a ruling by the Israeli government granting gay couples adoption rights
  • Feb. 12, 2008: The Israeli government grants gay and lesbian couples the same adoption rights as heterosexual couples. Previously, gays and lesbians could only adopt children that were their own biological offspring.
  • March 2007: The Education Ministry recognizes the Israeli Gay Youth Organization (IGY), enabling the organization to receive funding from the government. IGY, founded by the Association of Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgender (The Aguda) in 2002, is a volunteer-based support organization for gay youth between the ages of 15 - 23.
  • roses_200.jpg
  • January 2007: In the city's branch of the Interior Ministry's Population Registry, Jerusalem registers its first married gay couple, Avi and Binyamin Rose. Pictured at right: Avi and Binyamin Rose: Israel's first registered gay marriage Photo courtesy of The Jerusalem Post
  • November 2006: The High Court of Justice (Israel's Supreme Court) sets a precedent by ruling that the civil marriages of five gay couples wed in Canada may be registered as married couples in Israel. (The Roses, married in June 2006, were not one of these five couples.)
  • July 2003: The Tel Aviv municipality grants homosexuals the same spousal discounts provided to heterosexual married couples at cultural, sport and other facilities.
  • 1998: Same-sex partners are granted pension rights by the Civil Service Commission.
  • 1997: The High Court of Justice overturns a decision by then-education minister Zevulun Hammer, a member of the National Religious Party ('Mafdal'), to ban a television program about homosexual teenagers.
  • November 1994: The High Court of Justice grants full spousal benefits to the partner of an El Al airlines employee, paving the way for other same-sex couples to receive equal benefits.
  • 1993: Former Knesset member Yael Dayan establishes a Knesset subcommittee on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues. In the same year, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) implements an anti-discrimination policy after Dr. Uzi Even, who had been an officer in the army, testifies to the Knesset that he was discharged from the military and stripped of his security clearance after the IDF discovered that he was gay. Even went on to become the first openly gay Knesset member.
  • 1992: The Knesset outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace.
  • March 22, 1988: The Knesset decriminalizes homosexuality.
  • 1975: The first Israeli organization for gays, the Society for the Protection of Personal Rights (SPPR), is founded. Today, the organization is known as the Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association (The Aguda).

Gays in the Military

The military plays a significant role in Israel; society sees military service as an integral part of every citizen's duties. Military service is compulsory for almost all Israelis. (Arab Israelis and Orthodox Jews are exempt from service.)

They're citizens of Israel, like you and me. The sexual orientation of the workers around me doesn't bother me.

-An IDF officer on gays in the army

gaysoldier_200.jpgAt right: An Israeli soldier holding the rainbow flag at a 2004 gay pride parade in Jerusalem Photo courtesy of Associated Press via bbc.co.uk

  • In Israel, gays and lesbians serve openly in the army. Unlike in the U.S. military, Israel doesn't have a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. There are no restrictions on the recruitment, advancement and placement of lesbian and gay soldiers. Israel's military is one of 24 in the world that allows openly gay men and lesbians to serve.
  • In a 2007 University of California-Santa Barbara study of 17 heterosexual IDF soldiers, only "two said they would have a problem serving under a gay commander and three expressed concern about showering with a gay colleague. None objected to gay soldiers in general."
  • Israeli films, such as "Yossi and Jagger" and "The Bubble," frequently explore the topic of gays in the military.
  • In 1993, the IDF banned discrimination against gays.

Gay Culture

Gays have entered the mainstream of Israeli culture. "Gay" themes are prevalent in film, music, television and literature. Tel Aviv has a bustling gay scene with a selection of gay bars, clubs and saunas.

  • Israeli singer Ivri Lider and director Eytan Fox were chosen as two of the world's 100 most important gay individuals by Out, an American magazine that caters to the gay and lesbian communities.
  • In 1998, a transsexual Israeli singer, Dana International, represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest -- and won first prize. In a poll, 80 percent of Israelis called her "an appropriate representative of Israel."
  • According to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, gay storylines are regularly featured in mainstream Israeli television dramas.
  • Some of Israel's most popular films have been those with gay themes: "Walk on Water," "Yossi and Jagger" and "The Bubble."

There is no better place than Israel in the world to be gay... Gay culture in Israel is not 'underground' or 'alternative' the way it is in New York, for instance. Instead, in places in the country where we are integrated, we are fully integrated members of Israeli society.

-Gal Uchovsky, gay Israeli film producer of "The Bubble"

Tel Aviv - The Gay Capital of Israel

Tel Aviv is the business and cultural center of Israel. Out magazine called the city "the gay capital of the Middle East."gayprideparade_200.jpgBut officials in the Israel Ministry of Tourism have greater plans for the city's gay community: They want Tel Aviv to be the "gay capital of the world" and make it the hottest tourist destination for the international gay and lesbian community.

At left: Gay Pride Parade, Tel Aviv Photo courtesy of Ynetnews.com

  • Since the 1990s, Tel Aviv has hosted Israel's largest gay pride parade; about 20,000 people attended in 2007.
  • Tel Aviv is home to Beit Dror, the only emergency shelter in Israel for LGBT teens who have been rejected by their families because of their sexual orientation.
  • The gay nightlife in Tel Aviv rivals that of New York and London, with gay and lesbian bars and clubs open until the morning

Status of Gays in Neighboring Countries

Compared to neighboring Arab countries, Israel is far more tolerant and accepting of gays. While homosexuality is legal and there is legal protection for gays In Israel, homosexuality is illegal in countries such as Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

In Iran, gays and lesbians are sentenced to death and hanged in public executions. In Saudi Arabia, punishment ranges from imprisonment and flogging to death. In Syria, gays and lesbians are subject to imprisonment for three years. Although homosexuality technically is legal in Jordanand the Palestinian territories, gays there are not legally protected from discrimination and hate crimes. Gays in Jordan often seek asylum in other countries and are often assaulted by family members or are subject to being murdered as part of "honor killings" --- murders committed by family members typically against female relatives who are perceived to have tarnished the family's reputation. Women are killed for, among other reasons, marrying without the family's consent, embrace of Western culture, committing adultery, refusing arranged marriages and being raped.

Gay Palestinians commonly seek refuge in Israel, as they fear for their safety in the West Bank and Gaza, where they are subject to torture by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. The P.A. views homosexuals as collaborators with Israel. Examples abound of Israel helping gay Palestinians - sometimes unknowingly - escape persecution. For example:

  • In March 2008, the IDF granted a temporary residence permit to a 33-year-old Palestinian man after he said he was facing death threats from other Palestinians. The man had been appealing to the Israeli government for several years to live with his Israeli partner of eight years in Tel Aviv.
  • A 22-year-old Palestinian man was almost killed when his family found out he was gay. After his brother tied him up and beat him, the man's mother untied him so he could escape before his father could kill him. The man fled from Gaza to Israel after discovering that his family was hunting him.
  • A gay American man living with his boyfriend in the West Bank fled to Israel after finding a letter under his door from the Islamic court. The letter "listed five forms of death prescribed by Islam for homosexuality, including stoning and burning."
  • In 2003, 300 gay Palestinian men were secretly living and working in Israel.
  • According to Shaul Ganon, a former member of the Tel Aviv-based Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association, since the start of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000, Palestinian police have enforced Islamic law, making it "impossible to be an open gay in the P.A."

For more information about the legal status of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities around the world, see Amnesty International's Interactive Map or Sexual Minorities and the Law: a World Survey.

LGBT Resources and Non-governmental Organizations (In Israel)

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
Jerusalem
Tel.: 972-2-652-1218
E-mail: mail@acri.org.il
Tel Aviv Tel.: 972-3-560-8185
Haifa Tel.: 972-4-852-6333/4/5
Web site (English)

The Aguda (Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association)
Tel: 972-3-620-5590
E-mail: info@aguda-ta.org.il
Web site (Hebrew)

Beit Dror (House of Freedom in English) - Emergency Center for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans
Tel.: 972-3-516-4621
E-mail: bethdror@012.net.il
Web site (Hebrew)

Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance (JOH)
JOH is a "grassroots, activist organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, and allies." [78]
Tel.: 972-2-625-0502
E-mail: office@joh.org.il
English-speaking group coordinators:
Florian Aurich: flo.joh@gmail.com; Devorah: english.joh@gmail.com
Web site (English)

The Other 10%: The GLBT Student Organization in Jerusalem (Ha'asiron Ha'acher)
Yair Lieberman, Chair
Tel.: 972-2-653-5454 or 972-54-741-3067 (cell)
E-mail: asiron@gmail.com

Israeli Gay Youth Organization (IGY)
Tel.: 972-3-560-0958
E-mail: office@igy.co.il
Web site (Hebrew); Web site (English)

Tehila - a support group for parents of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders
Tel.: 972-9-885-5822
E-mail: info@tehila.org.il
Web site (Hebrew)

Expert Sources (U.S. and Israel)

United States

Professor Naomi Gale, Schusterman Visiting Professor, The Center for Israel Studies, American University (Washington, D.C.)
Tel.: 202-885-2474
E-mail: gale@american.edu
Web site

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Founder and President, The Israel Project (Washington, D.C.)
Tel.: 202-857-6644 (office); 202-365-0787 (cell)
E-mail: jenniferm@theisraelproject.org
Web site

Oren Pizmony-Levy (Expert on Gay Rights in Education), Former Director of Research, Israeli Gay Youth Organization (IGY); Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology, Indiana University (Indiana)
Tel.: 812-219-0826 (cell); 812-339-4137 (home)
E-mail: opizmony@indiana.edu

Israel

Michal Eden, Lawyer, Former Tel Aviv Council Member, representing the Meretz Party
Tel.: 972-54-661-0540
E-mail: michaleden@yahoo.com

Nahum Eido, Spokesperson for Israel's Ministry of Social Affairs
Tel.: 972-2-675-7424
E-mail: nachumi@molsa.gov.il
Web site (Hebrew)

Prof. Uzi Even, Former Knesset Member; Tel Aviv University, School of Chemistry
Tel.: 972-3-6408614
E-mail: even@chemsg1.tau.ac.il
Web site (English)

Prof. Amit Kama, Department of Communications, Emek Yezreel Academic College
Tel.: 972-3-641-1480
E-mail: amit8860@yahoo.com

Etai Pinkas, Tel Aviv City Council Member, representing the Labor Party and Tel Aviv Mayor's Advisor on LGBT Affairs
Tel.: 972-52-451-6444
E-mail: pinkas@egodan.org.il

Mark Regev, Foreign Press Adviser, Prime Minister's Office
Tel.: 972-2-670-5555 (office); 972-2-670-5354 (direct)
Web site (English)

---
The Israel Project is an international non-profit organization devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel while promoting security, freedom and peace. The Israel Project provides journalists, leaders and opinion-makers accurate information about Israel. The Israel Project is not related to any government or government agency.

Board of Advisors: Sen. Evan Bayh (IN), Sen. Ben Cardin (MD), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (GA), Sen. Tom Coburn (OK), Sen. Norm Coleman (MN), Sen. Susan Collins (ME), Sen. Judd Gregg (NH), Sen. Joe Lieberman (CT), Sen. Ben Nelson (NE), Sen. Gordon Smith (OR), Sen. Arlen Specter (PA), Sen. Ron Wyden (OR), Rep. Rob Andrews (NJ), Rep. Shelley Berkley (NV), Rep. Tom Davis (VA), Rep. Eliot Engel (NY), Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ), Rep. Jon Porter (NV), Rep. John Sarbanes (MD), Rep. Jim Saxton (NJ), Rep. Brad Sherman (CA), Rep. Joe Wilson (SC), Actor and Director Ron Silver


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Michal, it's all well and good that gay Palestinians are protected by the Israeli government. But what about all the other Palestinians?

Israel will be a state based on the principles of liberty, justice and peace as envisioned by the prophets of Israel; it will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, irrespective of religion, race or sex.

I find it kind of hard to swallow, see as the Israeli military occupies Gaza and the West Bank with tanks.

AnnetteGross | April 17, 2008 8:00 PM

Thank you Guest Blogger for such a wonderful post! I've been to Israel and had a fabulous time there!!!! The people are wonderful and it's a beautiful country! I'm glad they're so open to GLBT people!

I'd like to inform your Jewish GLBT readers about an upcoming trip to Israel being sponsored by Hadassah. The trip will take place on September 8-17, 2008. The cost is $1,199.00 double occupancy (not including airfare). This price includes ALL transportation, lodging and food (when with the group) and any activities that are done with the group. The only time someone will need to use their own money will be to buy gifts, alcohol or food during any free time.

Here is a blurb about the trip:

Pride in Israel is a 10 day trip to Israel for young professionals from 20-40, who wish to explore gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues in Israel. Pride in Israel is perfect for groups, couples or individuals looking for a fun, yet meaningful Jewish experience. Our program offers a visit to all Israel’s classic sites, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Massada and the Dead Sea, while at the same time taking a deeper look at Israel’s LGBT community. Some great highlights are meeting with gay soldiers in the Israeli army, dancing at gay and lesbian clubs, attending the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, speaking with LGBT activists and leaders and learning about the many issues going on in Israel’s LGBT community today.

For more information, go to www.youngjudaea.org/prideinisrael I've been on a Hadassah trip and I can vouch that these trips are fabulous!!!! Also, if your partner is not Jewish but wants to go with you, that's okay.

Hope some of you will check this out!!!!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 17, 2008 10:48 PM

I would like to thank the Isreal lobby for this thoughtful post. It is impressive that the number one recipient of United States foreign aid in the world would find time to "reach out" to us to remind us of how we are valued.

It is also considerate of the (exempted from military service) ultra orthadox, who consider themselves the only true Jews, would happily consign us to a Palestinian Ghetto if they could.

Isreal handily won the 1967 war against five neighboring countries in a couple of weeks and she is much stronger militarily today including being a "secret" nuclear power. She can defend herself while imprisoning Palestinians and encouraging the USA to bomb Iran.

Oh, and Gays in the military? That is only the EU norm. This does not make Isreal special. Just fortunate, because the United States is a backward thinking country paying for the military in Isreal

When any of humankind are prisoners none of us is free. It is callous in the extreem to assert how many rights Gays and transgendered persons have in Isreal while she is oppressing others.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 18, 2008 4:06 AM

Small addition. Go to Barnes and Noble and pick up a copy of "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" by professors John Mearscheimer and Stephen Walt.

Just read the 19 page preface and introduction and decide if you want to spend for the book as it is not inexpensive, but wow, what a read! The words Gay, Lesbian, Transgender never appear in this well written book, but every international human rights orgnaization you can think of is referenced plus every Washington politician and oil company you can imagine.

Oh, and even though Mearscheimer is Jewish, he and Walt were decried as antisemitic by the very well oiled Israel lobby.

Just to quibble, Robert.

Oh, and Gays in the military? That is only the EU norm. This does not make Isreal special. Just fortunate, because the United States is a backward thinking country paying for the military in Isreal

Israel isn't in the European Union. They are in the Middle East - where most countries make homosexuality illegal - some by death. They're further along than the US on that issue.

And while you point out that the US funds them extensively, what does it say that we're willing to pay for something we won't tolerate? Perhaps a double standard? LOL

While I know Israel has other issues (don't we all...), I think this post is very deserving of it's spot here. On gay rights issues, they lead the region - and our own country in some regards.

Thanks for posting, Michal.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 18, 2008 12:13 PM

It is deserving of it's spot Bil. Israel is composed of primarily Europeans and that was my point of reference for my EU comparison. We must remember that this is a country that has created apartheid like homelands that it is surrounding with walls. Behind those walls exists much misery in striking contrast to Gay, Lesbian, Transgender freedoms.

I have been to Israel as a pilgrimage and to learn about the conflicts of this small plot of land that three religions claim as a student of history. I also respect that our guest poster has done a great amount of work in creating the information he has given us for which I also thank him, and ask that he forgive any comments I have made above that could be interpreted as harsh.

John R. Selig | April 19, 2008 2:22 PM

I always find it interesting that when somebody points out something positive about Israel that others have to focus exclusively on the negative and do everything to degrade Israel.

I am a non-practicing Jew who identifies as an atheist. I don't support the treatment of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by the Israelis. I don't support the policies of the Israeli Right Wing. I don't support settlements in the occupied territories. I would like to see occupied territories that came into existence when other countries attacked Israel (let's not forget that part) returned to the Palestinians. However, Israel will need to feel assured that once the land is returned that the will be safe from attacks.

Everything about Israel is not evil and everything about the Palestinians is not righteous. I wish for peace in the Middle East. I believe that the Palestinians deserve a homeland and to live in peace. The Israelis also deserve to live in peace. The state of affairs in the Middle East is complex, troubling and many people are paying the price for hatred and fear.

I see many fellow liberals in America who get extremely defensive when folks in other countries condemn the U.S. for our negative policies without at least mentioning a few of our many good points. Like most countries we have our pluses and minuses. So does Israel.

Gays have a much better life in Israel than they do in other parts of the Middle East. I salute Israel for that. I salute Michal Swany for enlightening all of us by sharing his information on what it is like being gay in Israel. However, I don't think that using Michael's post as an attempt to bash Israel for their warts is appropriate. Certainly it is appropriate to hold Israel, the Palestinians, Arab countries and the United States responsible for their misdeeds but not as a response to Michal's post.

Certainly Israel should be held accountable for it actions as should all parties involved including the United States and all of Israel's neighbors. Many of the Arab countries would like to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth and they use the Palestinians as pawns. the amount of humanitarian aid given to the Palestinians by many of their Arab supporters is paltry. I don't support many of Israel's policies. but I don't support Iraq's, Iran's, Syria's, Saudi Arabia's, et al either. There is plenty of blame to pass around and their is far too much hate on all sides. the majority of Israelis want to live in peace as do the majority of Palestinians.

Tell me, would you make a comment soft pedaling the negative treatment of gays in Arab countries because of their other policies? I would hope not!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 20, 2008 8:46 AM

John, I would not want to go on a "Gay vacation" to Israel. Nor would I choose any type of trip to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Oman, Jordan, etc.

With Africa in shambles "right next door" our government chooses to send more money to Israel than to an entire, starving, Aids ridden, continent.

Please, have a look at Mearscheimer's Book.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 21, 2008 6:31 AM

I’m a long time supporter of free speech but this flagrant misinformation is not about free speech, its free propaganda in defense of the zionist apartheid state. The US is unquestionably the worlds number one terrorist state, having murdered over a millions Iraqis while stealing their oil. Stalinist China with its anti-labor practices is probably second on the list, but the zionist state is number three with its long history of murdering and torturing Palestinians to steal their land.

The only thing we have to know about them was summed up by Desmond Tutu, who just got a much deserved award for supporting GLBT equality. Quoted by the BBC and the Guardian, Tutu, the former Anglican South African Archbishop accused the zionist state of implementing a colonialist apartheid system to super-exploit Palestinians.

The Nobel peace laureate said he was "very deeply distressed" by a visit to Palestine, saying that "it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa". In a UN speech in the United States he attacked the zionist policy of "the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about".

Because he knows that all critics of the zionist terror-apartheid state are routinely smeared as anti-Semites he went out of his way to prove he wasn’t. Then he added, "I am not even anti-white, despite the madness of that group," he said.

Tutu went on to criticize the political power of zionist groups in the United States, saying: "People are scared in this country, to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful - very powerful. Well, so what? The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1957644.stm

www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org

www.electronicintifada.net a source of up to date news

www.merip.org an excellent analytical and scholarly site on developments in the Middle East and the resource wars

www.fromoccupiedpalestine.org Eyewitness accounts
www.btselem.org/english/Torture Eyewitness accounts

http://www.alternet.org/story/62618/ a report on the growing Jewish anti -zionist movement and the use of zionist smear tactics

www.couragetorefuse.org/English a website about IDF soldiers who refuse to torture and kill Palestinians

im an iranian gay and I only and only hate iran regim . willing to help to bring back love to iran . I can feel haw much suffer Israel has gon for bing minority as I am asa gay man .

Can you explain law of slavery? Jesus said to be a good slave in Mathew? Why,is it wrong if it was okay by Jesus word of scripture? How come I can't have many wives like old testament? Im lost can you help me understand scripture? Old Testament or God Laws were updated by Jesus New Law? Why, is wrong to be gay? Old Law? Jesus said, Love all man unconditional? Why, is it wrong for gay's to marry. Old Law of God? New law of Jesus unconditionaly? Is this not double jepardy? We don't do it today's law, except with Gay people?Is this not double jepardy? A Double standard? I dont get it. I guess this is why so many say it contradicts! We say Love equal than say you can't get Married? Justify with old law when Jesus said, Love all man and old testament says love all man? If, so can I use it in Law today? Sounds good to me.I can have slaves? Updated law dont mean anything? We can still use old laws and new laws? What is Human Right. Is this not to be equal.What is unconditional then.I looked in dictionary and says without conditions. Is this not double jepordy? To say I love you unconditionally,except if your Gay.What about Gay Christians that dont want to sin by Adultry. We say we love them equal with limitations.Then use old scripture or Laws and say No? How is this fair? I'm lost? If we just got rid of Old Testament it wouldn't be confusing? Like our old Laws.We no longer use Old laws with new. Old Law of God,One Book.Law of Jesus another Book of laws. Do you see where I'm going. If a man stole a cow we used to hang them. Why not today? You do it in the Bible, it must be okay for us today? We can just make laws to fit us? So if I have many wives I can Justify with Old Laws like Old Testament. Why keep old law if new ones take its place? Thus old test. law and new test. law. Jesus said, Unconditionaly.And also said Meant to be between Man and Woman. Can I justify having two wives by old law? What does word Meant mean. I looked in dictionary it say Soposed to be. So I can have many still? Meant in law mean today. Did it change of something? Meant, man and woman. Does it say not man and man? Where is the limitations on it. Surely not in old law?Updated law of today dont allow that.Why would God make it differant, Is he not fair?Does he love one more than the other? Jesus said under no condition and we say yes we are then no you cant. What is that? Two most important Commandments,Mathew said Jesus Updated the Law and we use old law of God. No wonder people say, It contradict. Do you see where Im going. How is a lesser law hight than More important law. I know the truth! I just wanted you to see it. You would do better without old law of Moses, Just used Jesus New Testament Law. To use both wouldn't stand up in court. Unless Prejudiced? Do you catch my meaning.We do it to Gays and then use old law to justify over new law. You Guy don't even see it.Blind and now do you see!!I have been trying to tell people won't but won't listen? I just hear justification of old law of Moses.So Moses law more importand than New updated law?Im trying to tell the world something and get blown off. I know I had been going around it wrong.I just don't know what God's meaning is behind it.Something Im positive of. God gave me the gift of scripture yet I did not know how to tell anyone without thinking I'm crazy. I hope this one get's taken seriously. I know without a dought what I'm soposed to do but don't know how to tell ya.This is my best bet to use parable as Jesus to get point across without putting up a wall. I was blind and now I see. I was a Christian for long time to. I'd thought someone was crazy if opposite situation. Can't blame them plus it is for some reason. God only know though.I will see soon. I'm trying to tell them he's comming. Like a thier in the night. Lot shorter than you think. More like now.This is the Alpha of omega. I know you think, huh? He wants you to be ready. Think 2012 calendars stop. You think ah,maybe. I say no for sure. If you knew what I do you'd go nuts as anyone else in my shoe. He hints then I wait then bang out of know where I just jump and as high as I can. He is real. You know he's real. Forget the old Testament. Like old law of society.Read word for word in bible truth of scripture only new law not moses's. Read Mathew at least. Then read Rev. the same way. No more contradiction and you will see his comming. Pleas try it he does love you.Believe in him you shall not parrish but have eternal life.If you don't catch on to this message you safe. Wouldn't like a little less burden. "Justice is mine says", The Lord. I can maybe help you if you missed the meaning.It is for reason all is for reason. God's Ordained Rev. Parker 3