Autumn is fast arriving in Jerusalem and this year it is bringing with it controversy and mayhem. On November 10th, the Jerusalem gay community, backed by the world gay community, plans to march in the holy city. By marching they will declare that Jerusalem also belongs to the gay community. The opposing factions, consisting of politicians, religious clerics, and others, who are the self declared voice of morality and god, vow to oppose the march. The danger of violence towards the marchers is not to be underestimated. Last year a person was stabbed, and this year right wing radicals are threatening to beat the marchers. The police are not taking these threats seriously enough.
An unholy coalition of the three monotheistic religions has managed to finally agree on a crucial issue: the denial of fellow humans the basic right of marching openly and publicly in the city. Don’t bother them with minor issues such as peace and social justice. Those who oppose the parade, say it is shaming the holy city, and it is offending god himself. “Let them do their things in Tel Aviv, they belong there” is a common phrase often heard. On this issue I say that too many people make the mistake of thinking that god is works for them. It is my belief that we work for god.
True, there are sensitivities which are special to the holy city, and I do not agree with some of the positions of the gay community. Modesty and consideration of the needs of others apply to the gay community as much as any other. Therefore, the march ought to be planned on a designated route with restrictions on nudity. But, there should be no right for one group to impose their values on another group. True, religious tolerance means respect for somebody else’s opinions and needs. This is why I shall march alongside the gay community on November 10th. If I don’t I fear that other voices will be stifled. Next year Arabs, or others the ‘establishment’ doesn’t like, may be prevented from raising their voice.
I have decided, along with my friends, to march along under the Labor Party flag. Although I am marching as a private person, I believe Labor should raise the flag of human rights, not ceding it to other parties. These are important issues just like decisions about war and peace.
If any of you will be in Jerusalem that day, I will be glad if you could join us.