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drama

July 31, 2010

the media cruised the crowd of 3,000 participants marching in jerusalem pride on thursday for drama and when they found none they looked to the folks watching along the perimeter of the parade for drama. the two groups of spectators that i saw along the 2.5km pride march route, who consisted of loads of media and about 30 teenage american tourists hovering the fence and cheering, did not seem to qualify as drama. folks i was with just seemed to laugh at the only potential drama which originated from the yeshiva we passed by that blasted animal noises from a speaker. i did see a group of 5 folks holding anti-gay signs but they even looked bored. so, sorry, media we are no longer dramatic. we are now just a bit colorful and way over protected with about one bored police officer to each participant.

whatever. there was plenty of political and behind the scenes drama leading up to the march. the drama included a protest of orthodox men in a nearby neighborhood, a fully decorated bomb-squad team showing up days before the march without a known bomb threat, a sketchy process of negotiations on the cost of security as well as the consistent threat of pulling all of our marching permits.

the behind the scenes dramas in my opinion originates not simply from the (ultra) orthodox jewish community but from the jerusalem municipality and local police who seem to publicly agree with the community rhetoric that pride should not happen in jerusalem. their rhetoric is so over-stated that after a month in israel i even roll my eyes when i hear it. so here is an example, just to catch you up, on the overly-stated usual conversation that i experience, “i am so in favor of gay people. i mean it is great to be gay, right. gay people can be everywhere in israel. we don’t discriminate at all in israel against gays. but {insert contemplative pause} why do you need to flaunt and cause such a scene in jerusalem? it is jerusalem. it is such a holy city. why can’t you just drive 45 minutes to tel aviv to have your gay pride there?”

obviously, if you are reading this on this blog, i am sure you can easily pick apart the statement above. it is filled with so many ill-conceived notions that your head can explode. instead of picking it apart, let’s just say, that statement is one of the reasons we march. our true equality is not yet understood. i often ask the person saying this statement, how do you suggest we as LGBT people live freely in this democracy if when and how, for example, we go to the grocery store with our same-sex partner and (because it is israel) two to three babies and not then be considered flaunting our sexual orientation?” for some reason this example seems to work here and folks seem to then agree that in order to be safe at the grocery store we need to be safe to be ourselves as a group in the streets… for a few fun visuals and because my camera is pretty low quality, here are a few photos taken by a two global lgbt activists:

yonatan gher leads his incredible staff and volunteer team into a group a hug jerusalem open house style before the march begins. they were the force that made this march happen. (Photo by Chad Meacham)

a young person holds a flag during the pre-march gathering at gan haatzmaut (independence park) (photo by sebastian scheiner)

folks chill out in independence park before the march begins (photo by sebastian scheiner)

look at the media chasing behind the one of two activists detained by israeli police officers (photo by sebastian scheiner)

a sweet couple kisses and a older fellow is caught behind the couple in the scene taking his own photo (photo by sebastian scheiner)

bored israeli police with their big guns (photo by chad meacham)

there were several protestors from the ultra-orthodox jewish community, who mostly made sheep noises. (photo by chad meacham)

folks march holding a huge flag (photo by sebastian scheiner)

ayala katz, mother of nir katz, z'l one of the victims of last year’s tel aviv bar-noa shooting, gave an emotional speech at the post march vigil about her hopes of ending homophobia. Ayala now heads an LGBT support organization for parents of the LGBT community in Tel Aviv (photo by chad meacham)

ultra-orthodox jews attend a prayer and protest against our gay pride parade, in the mea sharim neighborhood of jerusalem, before we march. executive director of jerusalem open house, yonatan gher has been quoted saying, "there is no religious monopoly on the holy city. the reason the march takes place in Jerusalem is not to upset anyone. we're here because we're jerusalemites & this is our city as much as anybody else's."

i had another incredible day in jerusualem meeting folks, seeing the sites and getting ready for pride. the day began at jerusalem open house by meeting with a new social justice hero, dr. ishai menuchin, the executive director of the public committee against torture in israel, over frozen yougart. and the day ended with one of the most interesting and tasty dining experiences in jerusalem with new friends idit klein the executive director of keshet and jordan namerow with american jewish world service at chef moshe basson’s  kosher eucalyptus restaurant inside the hutzot hayotzer artist colony. without a doubt, it was a day worth shooting photos of on my little green camera so please take a look at the my photos of the day by clicking here.

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3 Comments
  1. Jenns permalink

    Beautiful pictures!

  2. Jonathan S permalink

    amazing. I wish I’d been there too.

  3. Ali Michael Cannon permalink

    Great to see your blog friend Finkelstein. So nice to know you were in the Holy Land. I can’t wait to connect when you get back. You rock!!

Comments are closed.