An anti-Semitic wave is rising among LGBT movements in Europe and the Americas. We saw and we can still see it rise during the various pride parades and LGBT gatherings as in Madrid few years ago and in Chicago last year and again last month. This anti-Semitism may be hidden behind a more politically correct anti-Zionism but the same question remains: why do progressives succeed in fighting racism and anti-Semitism from conservatives more efficiently than from their own community? Why are we able to see racism and anti-Semitism in conservative spaces and not in our own progressive spaces?
I would like to offer my explanation for this: considering our minority as a victim always and everywhere makes it more difficult to realize that the very same minority can become the aggressor – or the accomplice in aggression – against another minority. “There is no anti-Semitism within our NGOs,” or, “you have to choose between supporting Israel and supporting LGBT movements,” are opinions we often hear today from our LGBT colleagues. These mirror what we used to hear 40 years ago from our Jewish colleagues: “there is no homosexuality in Judaism,” and, “you cannot be both Jewish and gay.”
What has occurred because of that rhetoric is a situation that I deem intolerable: some LGBT activists would – rightly, in my opinion – protest against the treatment of Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints but would – strangely – accept the boycott of LGBT activists on the ground that they are visibly Israeli or Jewish. Their main focus is against dominant Jews and Israelis. Is it so hard to conceive of people supporting the State of Israel AND a future State of Palestine? To be a proud Jew AND a proud gay?
By an ironic twist of modern history, the Jewish people – less than 0.2% of humanity – and Israel – one out of 200 countries – appear to have moved – to the eyes of some lgbt activists – from the positions of eternal victims and heroes to one primarily of dominant aggressors.
In the end, others always expect that, as Jewish LGBT people, we choose between two important components of our identity. I hope that we will not allow ourselves to be forced into this black and white anymore than we did 40 years ago.
We will discuss this issue and many others at our worldwide conference in Paris on September 7-10, 2017. Please click here to visit the event page.
I look forward to welcoming you there.