(full disclosure: I work for CBST, which is pretty much JOH’s contact in the States; our senior rabbi was the North America co-coordinator for WorldPride 2006, and obviously works very closely with JOH.)

This shit is ridiculous:

Jerusalem Open House,* one of the Middle East’s few LGBT resources and certainly one of the only LGBT community centers is under siege by Haredi Jews for having the audacity to have a pride march.

To quote Israel National News (I don’t know much about, but I get the impression that this is a right-wing source, ergo they are probably getting their own things right):

Israel’s Chief Rabbi, the Rishon LeTzion Rabbi Shlomo Amar, publicized a declaration condemning the homosexual march and advocating wide public protest. He called upon “every Jew for whom the existence of the Nation and Land of Israel is important,” as well as rabbis all over the world, to “arouse a tremendous protest until this bad parade is totally called off.”

Rabbi Amar “calls with love and affection to all our brethren, the House of Israel, to strengthen themselves in holiness, modesty and purity, and especially during these difficult days when Israel is persecuted from without and within and we are in need of great Heavenly mercies…”

Or, to quote ynet.com:

The Haredi counter-march is set to take place on Hillel Street, where the march is set to begin. One plan that came up in Haredi forums is to infiltrate the march with some fifty men who “don’t look Haredi…who will ‘blast’ the parade from the inside,” said a source close to Rabbi Weiss.

“He said every cop seen along the way should be beaten. After all, the police will try and stop us…so we should be prepared and bring sticks to hit them,” he stated, adding “a direct order hasn’t been issued, but everyone knows.”

The Haredis will most likely be joined in their protests by religious group Agudat Israel. Despite pushing ninety, movement leader Menachem Porush is still active in advancing a counter-march to the rally.

“We haven’t yet decided what to do, but we can’t, without a doubt, allow such an abomination to go by as part of the daily agenda in Jerusalem,” Porush told Ynet. His goal, he said, was to “take away their right to march.”

And there you have it.

JOH remains undeterred, however, making plans for the worst and hoping for the best. What’s the worst? Well, aside from the threats being made above (follow the links below for more press on the assorted issues), this isn’t all baseless. In 2005, at the Jerusalem Pride March, an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed three marchers before being subdued. No one really knows how much of this is just talk.

If you are interested in contributing to a fundraising drive — the costs of security for this march are going to bankrupt JOH — please contact Rachel Kahn at CBST: rkahn@cbst.org.

Dour news, right? But now you know.

More links:








* Obligatory discussion: JOH, in fact, has shown a huge commitment to working on both sides of the wall. They do regular events for Palestinians living in Israel as well as in Palestine, make sure all their outreach materials are in both Hebrew and Arabic, and are one of very few gay-friendly resource cites on the Arabic web.