Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

2017 Jerusalem gay parade reporting shows homophobia — but also improvements

The 2017 Jerusalem GLBTQIA Parade was a great success in numbers. Again, some rabbis no doubt unintentionally (some “wisely” seem to have held back reporting enraging things until after the march) really helped to make its number of participants swell greatly. The police had expected 4,000 marchers. The actual figure varied from report to report, between 12,000 (Jerusalem online) to 22,000 (Times of Israel). The media did not only report some antipathy – unfortunately, also  reporting itself showed some signs of hostility. And don’t assume automatically that the progressive press was the least biased.

The one-quire English weekend Haaretz (my delivery guy brought me the wrong paper) had a small report at page 2, and an opinion piece at 5 and 7. The whole top- part of the front page was (of course) reserved for trashing the PM. To be fair, the paper did have a front-page picture-free article on the penultimate ruling before retirement of the first Arab to sit in the Israeli High Court condemning same-sex’ discrimination in surrogacy. (That article continued on page 4, with a picture of … a Jewish professor weighing in. Racism is by far not absent in the Left. Also, the whole paper also had one token picture of a woman; all the other portrays were of men (12) or groups of people (21) – in which sometimes women too (9). Sexism is never far behind racism.) Not in the paper Haaretz but on its website, a Conservative rabbi explained why he would march too. This is worse than silly, because instead of bragging that the Conservative movement is way ahead of Orthodoxy, a more humble apology for over four decades of oppression would have been more opportune.

The four-quires Jerusalem Post of course had a color picture at the top of the front page. In the caption it also mentioned, thanks to broad security measures, the widely reported enormous knife that police found on a counter-demonstrator. (Haaretz did not mention it.)

Surprisingly, Arutz 7, which never had much trouble giving the floor to anyone and everyone who saw reason to trash homosexuals (here the most recent assault), now had three positive stories: about the President, about Lapid and a lengthy rabbinic opinion piece that the Torah forbids hurting [gay] people.

I found a video of this year’s march that looks like a faithful reflection.

The sentence in one report that members of the GLBTQIA community still suffer from discrimination is the understatement of the year.

Homophobia is a real disease. Just like anti-Semitism, anyone can have it. This depends largely on people’s personal history.

  • Someone may be extremely religious or traditional, but if their mother came out as lesbian quite some time again, chances are that this person condemns any animosity towards gays.
  • Another may be very liberal of progressive, but for some reason only knows gays from a distance but just hates them.
  • The bug can be found in someone who is a Reform Jew who suddenly quotes the Bible to justify and sanctify their homophobia.
  • It can be absent in someone who’s a racist and a sexist and a snob but happens to understand that GLBTQs need intimacy just like they need it.
  • Someone may make terrible jokes but when confronted say sorry and do their best to be gay-friendly from then on.
  • Another may be extremely well-mannered and friendly but suddenly blurt out that they hate the despicable gays.

A hater may be:

  • A woman (though generally women are more friendly),
  • An academic (though they are supposed to have more grip on primitive emotions),
  • A modern, not so old person (though older people tend to be more set in their likes and dislikes),
  • Someone who is heavily oppressed themselves (though you would have hoped that they would recognize oppression on others), or
  • Someone living free lifestyle (though you would think that they would keep far from all overprincipledness).

So you can only distinguish friend from foe by asking or confronting them. There is no reliable telltale sign if someone is against or with homosexuals. Rabbi Boteach holds that familiarity sorts out most people.

In any case, experience teaches that if a hostile person is someone who loved a homosexual when they told them, and they haven’t hurt them (cheated on them), eventually they’ll come around, generally. Even if their first reaction is terrible, most people straighten themselves out over time. Such is the power of love.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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