Home Jon Sutz The LGBT filmmaker boycott of Israel is anti-Semitic and hypocritical

The LGBT filmmaker boycott of Israel is anti-Semitic and hypocritical

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A special report by Jon Sutz, Editor, SaveTheWest

Summary:

  • In early March 2020, more than 130 LGBTQIA+ film directors, actors, producers and artists signed a pledge to boycott a gay-themed Israeli film festival, allegedly in “solidarity with Palestinians… and Palestinian members of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
  • The Palestinian LGBTQIA+ community is being oppressed — but not by Israel. To the contrary, Israel is the lone refuge in the entire Middle East for those in the Palestinian LGBTQIA+ community, to escape the systematic governmental and cultural terror inflicted on them in Muslim-majority environments.
  • The anti-Semitic nature of this myopic boycott is revealed by the fact that these film professionals have said nothing about, let alone organized a boycott against China, which holds more than 1 million Uighur Muslims in bondage, and is both using them as slave labor, and forcibly “re-educating” them.
  • This insidious, anti-Semitic, Islamist-protecting boycott can survive and gain support only so long as the general public remains unaware of these realities — especially who and what are actually the Palestinian peoples’ primary oppressors — and it is not Israelis.

On March 2, 2020, The Hollywood Reporter featured a story about more than 100 LGBTQ filmmakers who plan to boycott a gay-themed Israeli film festival, TLVFest, which they described as “a new, proactive stand by queer film artists in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and dignity”: Excerpt:

The pledge was organized by Palestinian queer organizations and PACBI, the academic and cultural arm of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, a pro-Palestinian activist group that seeks to cut, among other things, global cultural ties with Israel in protest of the country’s treatment of Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories. […]

According to the signatories, LGBTQIA+ liberation “is intimately connected to the liberation of all oppressed peoples and communities” and commits “not to submit films or otherwise participate in TLVFest or other events partially or fully sponsored by complicit Israeli institutions until Israel complies with international law and respects Palestinian human rights.”

To the everyday person who knows little or nothing about Israel, the Palestinian-governed territories, or the broader Middle East, this may appear to be a noble, principled stand against alleged systemic injustice, especially concerning LGBTQ persons.

To those who are well-informed on these issues, however, this boycott is Orwellian, viciously anti-Semitic, and can serve only to protect and embolden those who are actually inflict the worst terrors on the LGBTQ community both in the Palestinian-ruled territories, and the Middle East in general — and it’s not Israel.

Let us unpack this, step-by-step. Click the numbers at left to see in-depth reporting on that issue, in this report:

(1) Palestinian rulers have outlawed all LGBT organizations — which may explain why none are identified in reports of this boycott (or, because they don’t exist at all)

(2) The Palestinian LGBT community lives under systemic repression and terrorism, from their Palestinian rulers, and even from within their own families

(3) Israel is the only refuge for the LGBT community within the entire Middle East

(4) Israel hosts one of the world’s largest, most recognized annual Pride celebration

(5) Starting in 2017, China put more than 1 million peaceful Uighur Muslims in concentration camps, where they are subjected to forced labor, and “re-education” — and Tunisia represses its LGBT community. Yet the filmmakers behind this boycott against Israel have said nothing about those atrocities, nor have they organized any boycotts against the film festivals in those nations.

(6) Conclusion: This boycott is anti-Semitic at its core, is predicated on hypocrisy and lies, and is perpetrated by individuals and organizations that are either (a) Egregiously ill-informed on these basic realities, or (b) Assuming the general public is stupid


(1) Palestinian rulers have outlawed all LGBT organizations

The Hollywood Reporter article claimed:

“The pledge was organized by Palestinian queer organizations”

Similarly, the Gay Star News claimed:

“Palestinian LGBT+ groups organized the boycott.”

The Times of Israel, meanwhile, reported:

“The boycott was called by Palestinian queer organizations”

Yet curiously, none of the articles happen to mention the name/s of the “queer” organization/s that incited this boycott.

Perhaps that’s because LGBT and queer organizations have been strictly outlawed in the territory ruled by the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the Gaza Strip, ruled by the notorious terrorist group, Hamas.

Further, members of the LGBT and queer community in Palestinian-ruled territories must live in terror of being discovered — and are even murdered by their own families.

Are the “journalists” who wrote these articles really unaware of these basic facts? Here are some recent articles that document the reality:

PA bans LGBTQ activities in West Bank; The ban came after LGBTQ group Al-Qaws was planing to hold a gathering for its members in Nablus, Jerusalem Post, August 19, 2019.

PA police arrest, harass members of LGTBQ community; Members of the Palestinian LGBTQ community have in recent weeks been violently targeted and harassed by PA officers, Jerusalem Post, October 30, 2019.

LGBTQ community violently targeted by Palestinian Authority police, i24NEWS, October 30, 2019.

Hamas Executes Prominent Commander After Accusations of Gay Sex, Newsweek, March 2, 2016.

Given these facts, it becomes clearer why none of the articles happen to mention the name/s of the “queer” organization/s that incited this boycott — likely because they don’t even exist.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that the following Tweet was posted six months before the boycott was announced, by Pink News, one of the world’s biggest gay news sites?

Do the “journalists” who wrote the stories about this boycott really not know the reality?

Or, do they assume the readers of their boycott stories will not discover the reality?


(2) The Palestinian LGBT community lives under systemic repression and terrorism, from their Palestinian rulers, and even from within their own families

Here are just a few recent articles that detail this phenomenon:

Hatred of Israel, Homosexuality and Women’s Emancipation Are Dominant Beliefs in Arab World, New BBC Poll Reveals, The Algemeiner, June 24, 2019.

The Plight of the LGBT Community in the Palestinian Authority and Muslim Countries, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, September 19, 2019.

Palestinian gays flee to Israel, by BBC, October 22, 2003. Excerpt:

One 22-year-old gay man who fled from Gaza… says that when he was 18, he was caught with his boyfriend by his brother.

“[My brother] brought a stick and hit us,” he said. “He tied us up with an iron rope and went to call my dad, and tell my partner’s. Then he came back and hit us again.”

The man said he escaped after his brother went out and told his mother and sister-in-law to make sure they did not run away. “I started crying to my mum, begging her to let us go. So she untied us, and said if my dad found out, he would kill me on the spot.”

In fact, Palestinian societies are among the most notoriously anti-LGBT in the world, and the cultural acceptance of honor killings*, at 8%, is higher than for homosexuality, at 5%.

*For those who are unfamiliar with the term, “honor killings” are the cultural practice of murdering females for “dishonoring” their families — by being raped, dressing the way they want, marrying men of their own choice, or refusing to marry the man their family dictates, making “selfie” videos, or defying their husbands’ or families’ commands, leaving Islam, and other “crimes.”

Here is an extended excerpt from the documentary “The Honor Diaries,” a documentary produced by Muslim and formerly-Muslim women:

And yet, perpetrating an honor killing is more acceptable in Palestinian society than being discovered as a homosexual.

Curiously, not one of the filmmakers behind this boycott — or the “journalists” who wrote the articles describing it — mentioned anything about this murderous anti-LGBT repression in the Palestinian ruled areas.


(3) Israel is the only refuge for the LGBT community within the entire Middle East

This facet of our examination of the boycott issue is best told by the Muslim members of the LGBT community who fled their oppressive homelands, to find freedom and peace in Israel. Here are but a few such narratives; many more are available to anyone who is seeking the truth about LGBT issues in the Middle East:

For Gay Palestinians, Tel Aviv Is Mecca, by Kathleen Peratis, The Forward, February 24, 2006. Excerpt:

Arab human rights organizations sometimes advocate for gay rights, but they do so sotto voce. In fact, the only country in the Middle East in which gay people may safely leave the closet is Israel. Which is why, for gay Palestinians, Tel Aviv is Mecca.

Gay Palestinian men flee to Israel because they are not safe in the West Bank and Gaza. They also have no place else to go.

“Israel is close and far at the same time,” says Haneen Maikey, a gay rights activist with Jerusalem Open House, one of the principal gay rights organizations in Israel. If the sexuality of a gay man in Palestine is exposed, his family might torture or kill him and the police will turn a blind eye.

Because they are so vulnerable to blackmail, it is assumed by the families and neighbors of gay Palestinian men — sometimes correctly — that they have been blackmailed into becoming informers, either for Israeli intelligence or for opposition Palestinian factions. So when they meet a violent end, the motivation of the killers is not entirely clear.

Hiding Out: Gay Palestinians In Israel: The ‘Invisible Men’, by Itay Hod, The Daily Beast, August 13, 2014. Excerpt:

On January 26, 2010, Rawashda was picked up by the Palestinian secret police in the middle of the night. Cops had gone through his friend’s cellphone, where they found text messages sent from Rawashda that made it clear they were both gay. Next thing he knew, he was in an interrogation room being accused of collaborating with Israel. “I’d never even been to Israel before. But anyone who’s gay is immediately accused of spying for the enemy.”

For the next 16 hours, Rawashda was brutally beaten and tortured. Twelve thugs in uniform dunked his head in a toilet, trying to get him to sign a confession. “It was the worst night of my life. I don’t like talking about it.” When Rawashda refused, they picked up the phone, at 5 a.m., called his dad and told him his son was gay. […]

With the help of some friends, Rawashda escaped to Jordan, then Israel. He was in awe of Tel Aviv, a gay-friendly city with Pride parades rivaling those in Berlin and Amsterdam. As we chat about his life in Israel, Rawashda tells me to pan the camera so he could see the street behind me. “How is Tel Aviv?” he asks. “I miss it.”

Video: “Israel: Gay Oasis”

 


(4) Israel hosts one of the world’s largest, most recognized annual Pride celebrations
Tel Aviv’s Pride Parade is the biggest Pride event in the Middle East and Asia. Photo by Guy Yechiely (from Israel21C)

A scene such as this is unthinkable in any of the 50 Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

Yet each summer, for an entire week, Tel Aviv Pride openly celebrates the LGBT community. Consisting of Israeli Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze and Bedoin gays, lesbians and others, proudly and openly affirm their right to exist, under the same legal protections and privileges as other citizens and legal resident aliens.

Learn more about Tel Aviv Pride week here, here and here.


(5) Starting in 2017, China put more than 1 million peaceful Uighur Muslims in concentration camps, where they are subjected to forced labor, and “re-education” — and Tunisia represses its LGBT community. Yet the filmmakers behind this boycott against Israel have said nothing about those atrocities, nor have they organized any boycotts against the film festivals in those nations.

Numerous stories presenting these facts have been published in respected world news organs. Here is but a sampling; note that the first was published in August 2018, long before this LGBT boycott of the Israel film festival:

August 28, 2018, The Atlantic: China Holds a Million Uighur Muslims in Camps, UN Told

September 13, 2018, Al Jazeera: China holds one million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps

November 24, 2019, BBC News: Data leak reveals how China ‘brainwashes’ Uighurs in prison camps

December 23, 2019, NPR: ‘For Their Own Good’: The Detention Of Muslim Ethnic Groups In China

February 17, 2020, The New York Times: In China’s Crackdown on Muslims, Children Have Not Been Spared

Note also that China hosts several LGBT film festivals…

11th Shanghai Pride Film Festival – Call for Entry 2019

ShanghaiPRIDE Film Festival – FilmFreeway call for entries: “The submission period is December 28, 2019 to April 12, 2020”

… as well as several general film festival:

CALL FOR ENTRIES: 10th Beijing International Film Festival (2020)

BJIFF 2020 – 10th Beijing International Film Festival – Fulldome Event

Did the filmmakers behind the anti-Israel boycott, also organize a boycott against China for its sadistic treatment of more than a million Muslims (not to mention all the other human rights atrocities it perpetrates on a regular basis)?

No. We know this because a March 7, 2020 Google search using the string “LGBT boycott film festival” (archive here) reveals no other filmmakers — LGBT or straight — organized any boycotts against any other recent film festivals.

These filmmakers focused all their wrath, influence and propaganda on only one nation: the world’s lone Jewish nation, which is surrounded by the very nations in which the LGBT community faces the most inhumane discrimination, oppression and terrorism.


(6) Conclusion: This boycott is anti-Semitic at its core, is predicated on hypocrisy and lies, and is perpetrated by individuals and organizations that are either (a) Egregiously ill-informed on these basic realities, or (b) Assuming the general public is stupid

The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.

Aldous Huxley

Do these filmmakers’ acts and omissions constitute anti-Semitism? To answer this question, we must first define “anti-Semitism.”

For thousands of years, anti-Semitism has been defined as the hatred of Jews. Since Jews were enabled, in 1948, to return to their ancestral homeland in Israel, however, the definition of anti-Semitism has broadened, to encompass the expanded manifestation of the hatred and discrimination its root. Many major organizations have now adopted some variation of the “three Ds” test for defining anti-Semitism, developed by the scholar and human rights activist Natan Sharansky:

  • Demonization: Vilifying Israel or Jews as a whole; bigoted smears versus legitimate criticism over factual issues
  • Double-standards: Applying standards of conduct to Israel (or Jews) that are applied to no other nation or group
  • Delegitimization: Denying Israel’s right to exist, or the fact that Jews have existed in Israel (and the “occupied territories”) for thousands of years

There is also a fourth “D,” though, that pertains directly to this boycott:

Dehumanization: The claim that Jews are not part of the human race, and therefore do not deserve the same status or considerations that human beings enjoy. Just as slaveholders justified trading in black Africans on the basis that they are a sub-human species, akin to cattle, for thousands of years anti-Semites claimed that their attacks on Jews are justified, because they are akin to vermin, infesting the world.

In the context of this boycott, these filmmakers singled Israel out for special, libelous treatment, while making no mention of the fact that:

  • Israel exists among a swath of 50 Muslim-majority nations, every one of which indoctrinates children, as a matter of culture (if not law), that homosexuality is a mortal sin, to be punished severely, including by execution, to be carried out by the government, or the sinner’s family, or by his/her fellow citizens
  • Israel is the lone safe refuge for Muslim members of the LGBT community in the Middle East

These filmmakers’ acts and omissions beg two questions:

(1) Do they really not know the reality in Israel, and the Middle East?

(2) Or, are they just assuming that the general public is so ill-informed that it does not know this reality, and will not discover it anytime soon?

This insidious, anti-Semitic boycott can survive and gain support only so long as the general public remains unaware of these realities — especially who and what are actually the Palestinian peoples’ primary oppressors — and it is not Israelis.

Further, the only ones who benefit from this boycott are, ironically, the very people and nations that perpetrate the worst, dehumanizing horrors on the LGBT community in the Palestinian-ruled areas, and throughout the broader Middle East.

Should the facts in this article become publicly known, these filmmakers, and the “journalists” that produced what amounted to a press release by them, will be exposed for exactly what they are.

You can help this process by hitting the “share” button, and emailing this report to those whom you think may be interested in its contents. You might also consider sharing this report with some of the following major LGBT organizations in America and beyond, and ask if they’ve spoken out against this boycott:

North America

GLAAD – Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

National LGBTQ Task Force

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)

Human Rights Campaign

International

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

European Parliament InterGroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights


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