Pride in Jerusalem

I think that everyone around the world already heard about what happened in Jerusalem yesterday.

I was there. I’m still trying to process what happened. The same thing happened in 2005, by the same guy who did the stabbings yesterday. It seems as though no lessons were learned in 10 years.

The march started out at Independence Park. Everyone started marching with a drum circle, music, laughter, dancing, waving flags while shouting and chanting slogans for tolerance, love, diversity and equal rights.

Suddenly, police cars and ambulances rushed through the crowd. Cops on scooters and on horses, or in police units, vans and cars, and on foot urged people to the side and proceeded to the scene of the incident. As word passed down, within minutes everyone knew that a man with a knife stabbed some of the marchers. The music died down almost immediately, the chanting, the dancing and the laughter too. The rest of the march took place in absolute silence. The thousands of marchers were all in shock. Some scattered marchers tried chanting “A gay person marches and is not afraid,” but these were all drained out by the screams of the sirens.

People talk and they say that now that the community knows that being proud and “flaunting it” is dangerous, we would know better than to take it to the streets and instead stay at home, in the closet, in the dark, and let all these hate mongers drag  the rest of this country into the dark as well. This was not a parade. Jerusalem has no floats with half-naked men dancing around. This Pride march in Jerusalem is there for the very struggle of the LGBT community. The only thing being “flaunted” is diversity, beauty, light, courage, pride and love. Lots of love.

I, along with the rest of the LGBT community in Israel, say fuck that. These incidents are exactly the reason why Pride must keep going, year after year. This was the recurring message in the speeches given yesterday. We must fight darkness with light, and we must fight hate with love. A former Knesset member, Nitzan Horovitz, came out a few years ago, and has been a supporter of the LGBT community’s fight for equal rights ever since. He was one of the speakers yesterday. His words were so powerful and resonated so much with what I was feeling, that I couldn’t stop crying during his entire speech.

This is not democracy and it is not Judaism. The Goddess does not create people to kill and be killed. The Goddess loves us all, and She is the only one who has the right to judge us. I don’t care about the abomination statement in the Torah and how homosexuals should be killed. I care that we are human beings, and all we want to do is love. And I also know that if the Goddess was a person, She would march right alongside us.

And yes, I am straight and yes I do say “we” because this is a struggle that we must all take part in. We must recognize our privilege in this society as heterosexuals and join the Pride march as a march for tolerance for all people, all races, all genders and all sexualities. Nitzan Horovitz also said that we must fight this aberration because this affects us all, Israeli Jews and Arabs, black and white, religious and secular, gay and straight. The stabber did not discriminate either. He stabbed anybody he could reach, regardless of whether or not they were gay. I saw one of the injured people in the hospital today. He’s straight, he went to the march with his girlfriend to support this struggle. This is a “we”. We’re all in this together.

The LGBT community in Jerusalem is made up of Israeli Jews just like the rest of us, and they are deserving of equal rights, human rights, love, health services, tolerance, respect and justice. This is not just a struggle for survival. It’s a struggle for the preservation of democracy and against the people who supposedly do these acts of violence in the name of religion.

One of the marchers said in an interview to the press that this is something that happens on Tu Be’Av, a holiday of love, a few days after Tisha Be’Av, a day of mourning the destruction of the Temple, where Orthodox Jews fast as a sign of mourning. She said “This fast is worthless.” Because if the Temple was destroyed because of sinat chinam, hatred between Jews, this is what is still going on today. This act of violence carried out by an Orthodox Jew, who may have very well fasted on Tisha Be’Av, completely obliterated any hope of reconciliation between Jews. This fast was not worth shit.

It was wonderful to see the new group of religious homosexuals marching along with us, and even arguing with the other religious Jews standing on the sidelines. While the sideliners were screaming and spitting at them, the religious homosexuals stood their ground and bravely fought back.

Diversity is what characterizes Jerusalem. The rainbow flags that painted the streets of Jerusalem yesterday proudly represent this diversity. So why did these colors all fade to blood-red? We all saw the blood on the pavement. This is Jewish blood. These are innocent people. The only abomination in this march is the terrorist who infiltrated it. You cannot be a hater and call yourself Jewish. This is not Judaism. I refuse to accept this monster as a member of the Jewish community. Whatever happened to “love thy neighbor”? Why can’t these assholes live by that?

When I came back from the march, my husband said he was practicing Queen’s “We Are the Champions” on guitar. And this was totally fitting because despite the rampant homophobia in this society, the LGBT community will keep on fighting to the end.

Peace, love and Ahava Ge’avah

PS – I am currently selling some Alternative Jerusalem postcards on my Etsy shop. The ones that were made about Jerusalem Pride are sold as a fundraising effort. All proceeds will be donated to the Jerusalem Open House, the LGBT organization in Jerusalem. Please support this initiative and buy the postcard.

Proud1

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