Israel's Pride Revolution
Sunday was an enlightening day in Israel. The gay pride “community”, which was recently expanded to include bisexuals and cross dressers who demand to be recognized as members of the opposite sex, held public demonstrations throughout the country.
While a deadly pandemic is sweeping across Israel, they could think of nothing more important than gathering to publicly display pride in men sleeping with men or pretending to be women. Love is love, as one of their mind-numbing slogans goes, and apparently pride is pride as well. Whatever they feel simply must be expressed, however they feel like expressing it.
I call this day enlightening because certain facts about this movement, the authorities who support it, and the response of those who oppose it all became more clear. All these facts were previously clear to the discerning eye, but now they are clear to the naked eye.
The organizers held Sunday's events under the theme “The revolution is not yet complete”. In so doing, they have done us a tremendous favor by openly acknowledging that this is in fact a revolution. Homosexuals, et al. are not persecuted in Israel. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where they are truly free, and in fact Israel actively promotes itself as a warm home and tourist destination for practitioners of these lifestyles that fly in the face of traditional values.
At the same time, Israel is the only country in the Middle East that is attacked by these same people for not being “progressive” enough. Even within Israel, these demonstrations are held exclusively in Jewish-majority cities. The organizers have literally zero interest in holding events in Gaza, Ramallah, Jericho, Hebron, or East Jerusalem, where gay people live in fear of execution. Not a single word about that. Instead, they protest the fact that gay people within Jewish areas are not yet allowed to hire a woman to bear a child for them at the expense of taxpayers, and are fighting for this “right”. Chelm.
The so-called mainstream media, including the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel, dutifully play along, bemoaning the oppression of gays in Israel, celebrating every time a gay person is elected to public office as a sign of “progress”, and supporting them in whatever cause is next on their agenda. Those who oppose whatever they demand are condemned as far-right extremists and murderers-in-waiting not only in editorials but in news pieces.
This is no longer portrayed as an opinion, but as a fact that cannot be disputed. You will never see an opinion in the “mainstream” press so much as questioning anything about the revolutionary movement. There is literally only one side to this issue. You are simply not allowed to tell them no.
The fact that someone born with a Y chromosome is a man can be disputed, but the notion that one who does not support the gays in whatever they demand is a hate-filled extremist who must be reigned in by police cannot be disputed.
Indeed, the organizers did us a great favor by stating that this movement is not really about any particular right or societal injustice, but a revolution. There can no longer be any doubt that if they achieve whatever they are demanding today, tomorrow they will come up with a new demand to push the revolution forward.
Those who allow themselves to be convinced that it really is unfair that people who choose not to marry and have children naturally must be allowed to have state-sponsored surrogate children are suckers. This isn't what they want, and giving it to them will neither satisfy them nor appease them. It will only encourage them to launch the next phase of the revolution.
What the revolutionaries declare “oppression” today would have been laughed at by their predecessors just a few years ago. Oppression today means not being given everything I want and demand, with apologies, this very minute.
The goal of the revolution – as with all revolutions – is to overthrow the social order and create an entirely new system. This new system is hostile to Bible-believers with traditional family values. The revolutionaries do not wish to simply live in freedom among religious, God-fearing people who promote moral boundaries. They wish for the promotion of God-fearing moral boundaries to be denounced as primitive, banished from the educational system, and outlawed as a hate crime. Nothing less will please them.
It is especially noteworthy that there is no public voice of dissent within this revolutionary movement. One would expect that among the thousands of activists who supposedly just want to be “accepted” as equal members of society, there would be some expression of acknowledgment of the many sacrifices and accommodations those who don't share their values have made for them. The vast majority of people living in Israel – Jew, Muslim and Christian alike – are not happy to see people parading through their cities proudly flaunting behaviors that they find provocative and reprehensible. Those with traditional values have, with few exceptions, raised hardly a peep of protest as the demonstrators have pushed the envelope with each passing year.
Perhaps a little thank-you is in order? A little gratitude for allowing – and in many cases supporting – very painful changes in society that fly in the face of their sacred teachings, which are still dear to them? A little acknowledgment of the fact that such changes are extremely difficult for them to witness, and appreciating their willingness to make room for people whose lifestyles fly in the face of everything they believe in? A little love and tolerance toward those who have had to stomach many things they find abhorrent?
No. Not a single word of acknowledgment and appreciation for religious people who are not thrilled to see the rainbow – God's symbol of wrath for immorality – flying in their face wherever they go. Religious people are intolerant, primitive, homophobic, racist, oppressive hypocrites. That is the official position of the revolutionaries and their media bedfellows. This position is relentlessly broadcast, as nuance and appreciation for the enemy would weaken the cause of the revolution.
Again, this has been clear to the discerning eye for many years, but the revolutionaries have achieved enough power, influence, and support to now state it openly. This has nothing to do with rights, equality, tolerance, justice, love, or any of their other empty buzzwords and slogans. It is a revolution to purge Biblical values from society and persecute those who uphold these values.
The authorities who support it
Bible-bashers have all the momentum on their side, so it is no wonder politicians and the authorities kowtow to them. It's good for business, plain and simple. Supporters of this movement can say anything they want about religious people with traditional values and get away with it – their free speech must be protected, after all. They routinely speak of traditionalists in the most inflammatory of terms, the likes of which are reserved for no one else, even actual terrorists with blood on their hands. Unbridled rage and incitement against traditionalists is justified as a legitimate expression of their feelings. These are people in pain expressing their grievances. We must try to understand them and support them in their struggle.
Religious people, on the other hand, must walk on eggshells whenever they bring up the subject, if they dare bring it up at all. They face a real danger not only of being harassed and bullied by supporters of the movement, but extra-legal persecution from the authorities. Israel grants tremendous leeway for people to be investigated, arrested, and even incarcerated for long periods of time without even being charged with a crime. The mere suspicion of thinking about committing a crime – which in and of itself can be broadly interpreted – is sufficient grounds to destroy a person's life. This is not theoretical. It has happened countless times to religious people more to send a message and keep others in line than to prevent actual crimes.
Traditionalists who still dare bring up the subject know they are walking a tightrope. They do not enjoy the benefits of free speech or anything resembling it. One careless word can have detectives bursting into their home in the middle of the night, guns drawn, to ransack the place in search of “evidence” and haul them off to a dungeon for interrogation, without the right to legal counsel. This is Israel, the self-proclaimed “only democracy in the Middle East”.
Religious people must make it abundantly clear that they do not advocate violence or breaking the law in any form, and are merely discussing theoretical ideas (on that note, I do not advocate violence or breaking the law in any form, and promote love even for those who engage in behaviors that violate my beliefs). Have you ever heard a gay-advocate insert the disclaimer that, while Orthodox Jews are hate-filled terrorists, they do not advocate violence against them? That they are criticizing only the sin, not the sinner? Never. But religious people must do just that, otherwise they are guilty until proven innocent, and it is impossible to prove innocence.
Religious people are schmattas.
The response of traditionalists
The response of those who support traditional Biblical values was never strong, and now that the deck is stacked against them it is virtually nonexistent. It is not too late to turn things around, but it will require more widespread participation and a complete change of approach.
The few people who come out to protest gay pride parades have their heart in the right place. I admire their willingness to stand as a minority that is detested by the media, persecuted by the police, and ignored by those who share their traditional values. Twenty-seven of these activists were arrested by police on Sunday, and according to media reports they did not commit any crimes. The “mainstream” media has expressed no objection to this, and in fact seems extremely satisfied with this heavy hand against “extremists”. It seems their only concern is that such “extremists” still exist and must continue to be deterred altogether. Supposedly this proves the need for continued “struggle”.
Politicians have been predictably silent. They know religious people can be trampled upon and will still support them when the time comes, so long as a few crumbs are thrown their way, and even if not.
We can whine and complain that the deck is stacked against us – and it's true – but this will get us nowhere. We need to look inward to determine why the majority that does not want gay parades in their streets is being completely overwhelmed. We also need to understand why the message from anti-tradition activists is winning over so many people, while we are failing to capture the minds and hearts of society. Not only is our response to the challenges woefully insufficient, it is a dismal failure.
The public relations tactics employed by the anti-tradition revolutionaries have much in common with those of Black Lives Matter, radical feminist groups, and the BDS movement against Israel. Their cardinal rule is to portray themselves as perpetual victims, an oppressed minority struggling for basic rights against a cruel Goliath that wishes to destroy them.
There is often a kernel of truth to the message – blacks have faced a long, uphill road against racism, for example – but this kernel is hijacked to foment an endless war on society replete with lies and exaggerations. Those who challenge any of these lies and exaggerations are condemned as disloyal to the pure, noble mission that the group supposedly stands for. Those who fully identify with the goals, but raise concern about any of the means to achieve these goals, are similarly attacked without mercy. Either you fall completely in line with the “rights” group, or you are the enemy of all that is right and good, and shall be dealt with accordingly.
Successfully portraying themselves as righteous victims struggling against “the system” attracts young people seeking identity and purpose, lost souls seeking affirmation, and those with a spiritual void to fill. The media – which tends to be dominated by such people – eagerly latches on to their story, and sensationalizes it with compelling hyperbole, while ignoring the flaws, hypocrisy, and even crimes of the activists.
Politicians see which way the wind is blowing and quickly jump aboard the bandwagon. And just like that, you have a runaway movement.
This brings us back to the response of those who defend traditional family values against this growing tide. I was forwarded an announcement about a counter-protest against the gay parade the very morning of the event. I only received it because someone who knows someone thought I might be interested. The announcement was not widely circulated, and it seems it was limited to a small group of people who all know each other. If there was any effort to engage larger segments of the population who share their concerns about the revolution against traditional family values, there is no evidence of it.
I attended protests against the Pride Parade in the past but did not attend this one. I was turned off by the lack of organization in a last-minute announcement, the lack of effort to attract a more diverse group of supporters, and the manner in which they attempt to spread their message. Again, I want to emphasize that I think these are good people, and I admire their willingness to speak up when few others do and to sacrifice for their values. However, I disagree with their methods, and it is time to recognize that they have not only failed, but they have been counter-productive.
These protests typically consist of a few dozen people, most of whom are hilltop-youth types and look the part. They are surrounded by a battalion of police and soldiers, many of whom do little to conceal their contempt and hostility for them. Most likely undercover agents rove around as well. Occasionally a protestor is set upon and hauled away on some pretext, while the others rush to capture it on camera and jeer about a police state. The police get to flex their muscles and send a message, their prey gets a badge of honor from his group, the rest of the protestors have something to complain about, the lawyers are kept busy trying to get the kids out of prison, and the media gets footage of extremists causing trouble. Everyone wins.
The rest of the protest consists of people yelling slogans like “it's not pride, it's an abomination”, and loud speeches from political has-beens and never-will-bes. There will be banners with similar slogans, a prayer service, and lots of milling around. The media will smile at wild-looking people and invite them to be interviewed, effortlessly lure them to say something inflammatory and barely coherent about gay people, then show the world how crazy and dangerous religious people are.
Not a single politician or rabbi who is remotely mainstream will be present at a rally whose purpose is ostensibly to uphold traditional values that are most dear to them. They will be attacked for being cowards – which in many cases is surely true – yet the failure to attract all but fringe elements cannot be blamed entirely on cowardice.
It seems there was a plan on Sunday for protestors against the parade to try to infiltrate the other side, posing as gay supporters, and disrupt their event. No such incidents actually occurred, and we should be grateful for that. Can you imagine what the media would have done with that? How the government would have unified like no other time to condemn religious people and traditionalists, using this as a pretext to “crack down” even more on those who oppose “gay rights”? How rabbis and other religious leaders would also unite to condemn their own communities, which had nothing to do with this, and call on them to do soul-searching and repent for the sins of others?
The pro-gay activists would express outrage and fear at how they were “violated” and “endangered”, all while thanking God (figuratively speaking) for their good fortune. The foolish behavior of a few opponents would push their revolution forward by years, and they would milk it for all it was worth. Indeed, left-wing activists stage crimes just for this purpose; a real one is a gift that doesn't stop giving.
Five years ago a mentally disturbed man with a criminal history stabbed several people at the gay pride parade in Jerusalem, including a teenage girl who died. This tragic event has been cynically used ever since as ammunition against all those who oppose gay parades. The criminal is portrayed as proof that religious Jews are dangerous, extremist, murderers-in-waiting who must be reigned in by police. Those who dare oppose gay parades immediately become suspects of planning a terrorist attack.
It makes no difference that the attack was universally condemned with complete sincerity. No one who opposes gay parades took any satisfaction in the wounding and murder of participants. There is not a single voice in the Orthodox Jewish world promoting violence against marchers or justifying it. If Orthodox Jews learned that someone in their community intended to hurt marchers, they would stop him and call the authorities.
The capacity of Orthodox Jews to be provoked and offended, yet respond without violence, is virtually unmatched. The dream of the Orthodox Jew is to devote himself to Torah study, hasten the redemption, spend time with his family, and perform community service. Unlike left-wing activists, who are perpetually angry, who blame society for all their problems, and who exploit anger as a virtue to advance an agenda, Orthodox Jews view anger as akin to idol worship, the lowest of human traits. There is no doubt about any of this – the media and the authorities know this quite well – yet the lie that Orthodox Jews are a violent threat is perpetuated like the blood libels of old.
In light of this, the idea of infiltrating the pro-gay group and causing a disruption is incredibly foolish. Do they really believe that pulling a high school prank would advance the cause of traditional family values? Do they really believe that calling homosexuals pigs and beasts will garner interest in the rabbi's next class? Do they really believe observers will see the pro-gay crowd fighting for “equality”, playing music, and having fun, then look at the religious side, and choose the latter? Do they have any self-awareness or long-term plan to engage the masses? It seems not.
What's most disappointing is that we don't need to resort to slogans, stunts, and bully tactics like the anti-tradition crowd. We should be able to win over the hearts and minds of the public to stand for traditional family values, if only we really tried. There is nothing more foundational to a society, and more fulfilling, than a wholesome family life. The pro-gay crowd offers carnal gratification without moral boundaries, posing as “love”; a lifetime of anger; denouncing their predecessors as primitive and condemning the future to alienation. The traditional crowd offers a wholesome family life; inner spiritual peace; grandparents we admire and grandchildren who will admire us. We should win that contest hands down.
Instead of having unkempt teenagers shouting slogans at poorly organized events, we should be reaching out to the masses and teaching, teaching, teaching. We should be showing the world how rich the Torah is with lessons that the contemporary world desperately needs. We do not need to shy away from the Torah's position on sexual behavior and gender identity, nor should we, but the lesson needs to be deeper than shouting a prohibition.
At the same time, protests against the Pride parades need a completely different approach. First, they should be organized well in advance and widely promoted. The left-wing activists have a well-oiled and well-funded machine, and they are incredibly organized. Traditionalists need to get their act together and up their game. Those who promote the message need to be presentable.
The actual protest should not consist of shouting at marchers. This sends a poor message and plays into the hands of those who need to play the victim card. The protest should be a gathering of a wide cross-section of citizens who are concerned about the values (or lack thereof) being flaunted in their streets against their will.
Residents of a city or neighborhood should demand the right to petition for publicly funded events they find disturbing and provocative to be held elsewhere. The vast majority of Jerusalem residents do not want gay activists from other cities and countries marching through their streets, and they should not have this imposed upon them. It would be difficult for any journalist or politician to side against this.
The protest should be more against the politicians who force this upon them than the actual marchers. The marchers cannot be swayed, but the politicians certainly can. The protestors should make it clear that politicians who do not respect the needs and sensitivities of local residents with traditional family values will be replaced by those who do. That will get their attention much better than a prayer service.
Here's an even better idea. Invite those in favor of traditional family values to line the streets and simply turn their backs on the marchers. Jews, Muslims, Christians, and secular people who respect tradition would stand side by side, backs turned to those promoting licentiousness, without even saying a word. Men would stand together on one side of the street and women on the other, further demonstrating that gender is inviolable and chastity is a virtue. Grandparents would stand with children and grandchildren, all proud of one another, quietly displaying what the revolutionaries will never have.
Can you imagine such a thing? The Messiah might come right then and there.
There is no reason why this can't happen.
Leftist activists speak of “changing the narrative”. They have successfully portrayed themselves as righteous victims fighting for such noble ideals as love and equality, while traditional people are primitive and hate-filled. They have parlayed this farce into revolutionary changes to the law, the educational system, and society, while traditionalists have backpedaled, confused and disorganized.
It is time for the overwhelming majority of people across faiths and ethnic backgrounds to wake up, come together, and stand up for traditional family values. If we continue to stay on the sidelines, we will have these values taken from us.
We truly have so much to be proud of and our values are worth standing up for. Let's finally do it, and let's do it right.