Last year’s Jerusalem’s Pride March was an unexpected record-breaking 22,000 people, many of them religious heterosexuals, fed-up with and embarrassed by the unabashed bigotry and hatred of hundreds of Israeli rabbis.
This year the organizers expected 30,000 demonstrators. This seemed not too much as a demonstration in Tel Aviv against a new anti-gay law just weeks ago draw 100,000 people.
I expected to blog why it was a new record again, but I’m forced to write about something else. “Only” 20,000 people showed up. That’s still almost as much as the whopping size of last year’s March but it’s not a record and organizers admitted to having been a bit disappointed.
They say that size doesn’t matter but it does. And we should learn from mistakes not to repeat them.
First of all, there were a lot of favorable conditions.
What Helped the March’ Size
- As mentioned above, a demonstration in Tel Aviv against a new anti-gay law just weeks ago draw 100,000 people. Every year, the Jerusalem March is the last in a row, a concluding party that draws gays and allies from all over the country. It’s more subdued and self-restrained than in less-holy cities, but Jerusalem is seen more-and-more as Israel’s Capital and so it seemed reasonable to expect a new record attendance.
- The weather was wonderful. After weeks of sweltering heat, only interrupted by a cool day on the Fast of Tisha be’Av, G^d again showed His mercy by making Jerusalem Pride Day cloudy with an afternoon temperature of only 30 degrees Celsius. That should help.
- Individually and collectively (with some fake media agreeing), again, many Israeli rabbis felt an urge to insult and attack anyone non-straight, uninhibited by humbleness (Avot 5 calls arrogance one of the three hallmarks of enemies of the Jews, together with only seeing the bad and being bloated) or empathy. Astonishingly, they were not stopped by any consideration that the blood of their gay congregants who suffer or commit suicide is on their hands.
- Just before the Parade, a Hebrew intellectual newspaper refused a pro-gay ad. They were more afraid to lose “conservative” readers than avoiding the truth, even in an advertisement.
- Even the metrosexual anchors of the archconservative Arutz 7 were allowed to report positively about the GLBTQ+ cause! This happened the day after the same station “by mistake” had posted (and quickly removed) a piece implicitly calling for the extermination of gays.
Secondly, there were some things that must have reduced the number of marchers.
What Hindered the March’ Size
- This year, after 250 Israeli rabbis attacked homosexuals and transgenders in the most-foul words, the media reported a day before the March, that 75 Israeli and US “liberal Orthodox Rabbis and others” had sighed a counter-declaration. The intolerance of the rabbis, I believe, was the main force between the record set last year. But this counter-declaration undoes that. If it’s just a dispute between the rabbis, who needs to interfere. (On closer inspection, the list hardly contains any Orthodox rabbi and not one single Israeli Orthodox rabbi. It was just fine-print bluff, USers seeking the limelight. Israelis (any many other nationals) don’t like it when USers tell us what to do and how superior they are.) Big mistake. Instead, the truth should have been stressed that thousands of Israeli Orthodox rabbis stayed silent.
- The Tal Aviv demonstration was clear enough. It didn’t need a repeat. Organizers should have stressed what other GLBTQ causes people also should march for in Jerusalem. I’m not attacking the organizers. Hindsight is the only perfect vision – it can teach us.
- It’s a tactical mistake to let politicians (and I mean any politician) speak at the really. Human rights are not owned by the Left. You chase away Right-Wing allies if you do. Declarations (or silence) by candidates for the elections of Jerusalem Mayor about being for or against the March, should be countered by the organizers saying that their support or lack of it is irrelevant. Stop politicizing the issue.
- It was still a sizable March. What was a whopping 22,000 last year cannot be a mere 20,000 this year. It was a big Parade and success.
- Finally, the police got their act together, with 2,500 law enforcement personnel (one on every eight marchers), almost giving the demonstrators celebrity status.
- The rabbis who defamed GLBTQs should each be charged in court. Either they are convicted or it will show that we need a law against calling innocent vulnerable people names. Win-win. This should be done before they learn how to speak from both corners of their mouths.
- Let’s hope next year’s Parade can be more a celebration and commemoration than a protest and encouragement to the ones in the closet. With the rabbis acknowledging that Judaism only forbids homosexual intercourse to heterosexual men and asking forgiveness for their decades of confusion, cruel abuse and indifference.
Allow me, now we’re talking about GLBTQ Oppression, to comment on something related in the news.
A closeted US Neo-Nazi of 20 stabbed his 19-year old gay Jewish “friend” to death. He claimed that the victim had tried to kiss him. He is now charged with an anti-gay hate crime, facing a stiffer penalty. But this is by his own admission that makes him seem kind-of innocent. He was only defending himself against this vile pervert, no? As Neo-Nazi, he should not be believed and be charged with a hate crime of killing a Jew.