Queers for Palestine?

Of all the slogans chanted and displayed at anti-Israel rallies over the past month, surely "Queers for Palestine" ranks as the most oxymoronic.

BY James Kirchick

January 28 2009 1:00 AM ET

Of all the
slogans chanted and displayed at anti-Israel rallies over
the past month, surely “Queers for Palestine” ranks
as the most oxymoronic. It is the motto of the San
Francisco–based Queers Undermining Israeli
Terrorism (QUIT), a group advocating financial
divestment from the Jewish State. QUIT contends that Zionism
is racism, regularly demonstrates at gay pride
marches, organizes with far-right Muslim
organizations, and successfully lobbied the International
Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission to boycott the
2006 World Pride Conference due to its location that
year in Jerusalem.

What makes QUIT
oxymoronic is that their affinity for Palestine isn’t
reciprocated. There may be queers for Palestine, but
Palestine certainly isn’t for queers, either in
the livable or empathetic sense. Like all Islamic
polities, the Palestinian Authority systematically harasses
gay people. Under the cloak of rooting out Israeli
“collaborators,” P.A. officials extort,
imprison, and torture gays. But Palestinian oppression
of homosexuality isn’t merely a matter of state
policy, it’s one firmly rooted in Palestinian
society, where hatred of gays surpasses even that of
Jews. Last October, a gay Palestinian man with an Israeli
lover petitioned Israel’s high court of justice
for asylum, claiming that his family threatened to
kill him if he did not “reform.” He’s
one of the few lucky Palestinians to be able to
challenge his plight.

And that’s
only in the relatively benign West Bank. The Gaza Strip,
which has stagnated under the heel of Hamas’s
Islamofascist rule since 2007, is an even more
dangerous place for gays, “a minority of perverts and
the mentally and morally sick,” in the words of
a senior Hamas leader. As in Iran, Hamas’s
patron and the chief sponsor of international terrorism,
even the mere suspicion of homosexuality will get one killed
in Gaza, being hurled from the roof of a tall building
the method of choice.

It’s these
facts that make the notion of “Queers for
Palestine” so bizarre. Contrary to what some
gay activists might have you believe, there really are
not that many political subjects where one’s
sexuality ought influence an opinion. Aside from
the obvious issues related to civic equality
(recognition of partnerships, open service in the
military, etc.), how does homosexuality imply a particular
viewpoint on complicated matters like Social Security
Reform, health care policy, or the war in Iraq?

Tags: Politics

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