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NYC Queers for Jihad

Posted By Phyllis Chesler On May 30, 2011 @ 12:15 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 58 Comments

Last Friday, May 26, 2011, “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid” exercised their hard-won right to hold their meetings at New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Center. Their right to hate and to be grossly misinformed was, as usual, presented as a free speech right and as yet another victim-driven Intifada (uprising).

This meeting followed the long campaign to vilify City University Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld for daring to dissent from Tony Kushner’s anti-Israel views; Kushner, who happens to be both gay and Jewish, is nevertheless being given an honorary doctorate this week. These two events are intimately connected to each other and have been further empowered by President Obama’s shameful and dangerous actions towards the Jewish State.

We have all seen black and white footage of people dancing the night away, even as the crematoria or the machetes did their deadly work somewhere off camera. We understand that people elsewhere continue eating, having babies, buying first homes, going on vacations, even as genocidal wars rage on camera, even as tornadoes, nuclear plant meltdowns, and savage flash floods destroy whole communities elsewhere, also on camera.

Right now, in my little neck of the planet, Manhattan, the weather has turned gloriously sunny and summery; people are enjoying this respite from the unending rains and freezing winter weather. As people amble through leafy city streets, the world is preparing to slaughter the Jews again. As if the Muslim Brotherhood and the Gama’a al-Islamiyya in Egypt were not enough, a new swastika-flying Nazi party has emerged in Egypt—Egypt, Israel’s friendly neighbor; Egypt, which on Saturday opened the Rafah crossing to admit even more weapons and terrorist fighters into Gaza in the unending Arab war against the Jews; Egypt, where many are demanding an end to the cold peace treaty with Israel.

Some say that President Obama might be touring Europe in order to gain European allies to help him pressure Israel into accepting the “pre-1967” Auschwitz borders.

Here at home in America, we continue to enjoy Gazan Intifadas on our campuses. For example, the people are getting ready to party in the streets when, on June 3, 2011, City University of New York gives playwright Tony Kushner his honorary doctorate. In my view, they are feting Kushner, not so much for his art but rather for his celebrity and for his obsessively harsh views of Israel. The playwright has not led any campaigns against genocide in Sudan or against real gender and religious apartheid in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Like the “Queers Against Apartheid,” Kushner also scapegoats Israel for the crimes of the Arab and Muslim worlds.

The LGBT “queers” had threatened to storm or “surge” into the Center if they did not receive official approval for their group meeting.

“Surging” and “storming,” Arab street mob behavior, is a vision and a tactic that has been recommended by none other than journalist Tom Friedman, long adopted by international “Free Gaza” activists; it reminds me of Nazi Brownshirt behavior. Think Kristallnacht. Civilians and men in uniform breaking Jewish shop windows, breaking Jewish bones, burning Jewish books, eventually burning millions of living Jews.

But, you must understand: The German Nazis felt “victimized.” They had lost World War I and were humiliated because they should have been triumphant; they had also been unfairly economically penalized. Kushner and his supporters claim that the genuine dissent of one CUNY trustee, Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, somehow “victimized” their views because their views are supposed to triumph, not Wiesenfeld’s. His pro-Israel view is not supposed to exist and, in their view, is not protected by academic or free speech rights. Only the anti-Israel views deserve such protection.

One thousand six hundred and eighty people signed a petition to the Center on behalf of “Queers for Palestine.” Like Tony Kushner and his CUNY supporters, the aggressors first claim victimhood and protest the denial of their free speech rights; then, they “surge” forward as a mob (on petitions, on the Internet, on the streets, on other battlefields), to either murder Jews or to honor those Jews who hate Israel, and to silence gay Jews who are pro-Israel.

This is what happened at the LGBT Center last night.

According to my sources, approximately 28 people attended the evening meeting and donated $123 to their cause. (Not a great showing, not a large collection but still…) Siege Busters, represented by mostly older women, is an anti-Israel/pro-“Palestine” group which had not been allowed to meet at the center; now, they want to join “Queers Against Apartheid.” Those present decided to reach out to non-“queer” groups which also oppose Israeli “apartheid” and support Palestinian terrorism.  They also decided to present their right to make an alliance with terrorist, homophobic misogynists as a matter of “free speech.”

What is going on? For the last five days, a 32-year old Saudi woman, Manal al-Sharif, has been sitting in jail in Saudi Arabia because she dared to drive her own car. Real gender and religious apartheid dominate the Arab and Muslim worlds in general, and in Gaza and in the West Bank in particular. Palestinian-on-Palestinian honor killings of women and gays are rampant. Palestinians are forcing Palestinian women to veil and are arresting and torturing them if they behave in too Westernized a manner. Ask most Palestinians and they will tell you that they would rather live either in Israel or alongside a Jewish Israel because it is the only country in the Middle East willing to employ them. (Palestinians are denied both citizenship and employment in most Arab countries.) In addition, gay Palestinians have fled to Israel for asylum when their lives have been threatened.

The gay “thing” is very complicated in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Homosexuality is rampant but is more like prison-sex or pederasty than like western liberation-oriented versions of homosexuality. Women are devalued and kept apart. Many men cannot afford a wife or many wives; even when they can, many married men still have male lovers. However, one denies this. One never confesses. If denounced, or if one adopts too “Western” a style, one risks torture and death.

Failing to understand all and any of this, the “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid” have decided not to talk to center member Michael Lucas (see below), not to engage with him in any public forum. This is typical. The left ostracizes anyone with another view of reality and refuses to listen or talk to them.

Lucas is the first gay Jewish man who has actually stood up to the hate-Israel crowd at the NYC Center. There are many others who stand with him, myself included. It is no coincidence that Lucas grew up in Soviet Russia. He understands and recognizes totalitarianism and anti-Semitism when he sees it. When Lucas spoke for Israel at the center, he was heckled and demonized. When another gay group wanted to have him speak about Israel, they were threatened and frightened so much that Lucas decided to deliver his speech elsewhere for them, not at the center. According to Lucas:

The President of the Board of Directors for the LGBT center, Mario Palumbo, and Executive Director, Glennda Testone are staunch anti-Zionists. In fact, they are [so} anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli that they would not meet with representatives from major Jewish organizations (Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs) who wanted to explain to them that the word “apartheid” cannot be applicable to the Jewish state. Initially, they agreed to the meeting but then they cancelled it two hours before it was to take place.  However, Palumbo and Testone  have had many meetings with all the anti-Israeli organizations who requested a meeting which culminated in the decision to grant “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid” the space.

Now, in the light of what has happened, Lucas, a major financial supporter of the center, has withdrawn from it. His letter is brief, dignified, and to the point. I will give him the closing words. He writes:

Dear supporters of the state of Israel-

I just learned that tonight the Gay Center of NYC will be hosting the first meeting of the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. This organization stands for boycotts, divestments and sanctions of the Jewish state. In other words, it stands for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Jewish men, women, children, and Holocaust survivors living in Israel.

I am a proud gay man and a proud Jewish man, but I have made my choice.  I ask you to boycott, divest and sanction the LGBT Center of NYC. Today Jewish people in Israel are in incomparably greater danger than the gay people in America will ever be. This is a difficult choice and I am asking you to make the same choice.

Alienate yourself from NYC LGBT Center. Stand with Israel, stand with Israeli Jews, and defend their right to exist, their right to defend themselves, not to let the world exterminate them again.

And even if all the gay groups will condemn this letter, I will not change my mind.

Michael Lucas


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