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Lucas: It's Not About the Money

Lucas: It's Not About the Money


COMMENTARY: I wish I could have been there to see it. Last Tuesday, a handful of anti-Israeli activists' heads exploded when they found out that New York's LGBT Center had canceled their planned Israeli Apartheid Week shindig and barred them from meeting at the center ever again.

The only explanation they could find for this horrible injustice: A porn star named Michael Lucas had used "his wealth and connections" to shut them down. While decrying characterizations of their group as anti-Semitic, they blamed rich Jews for forcing the LGBT Center's hand.

Their Jewish conspiracy theory allowed them to ignore the true reason the LGBT Center decided to disassociate itself from their cause: Their advocacy is hateful, runs counter to the cause of LGBT rights, and has no place at an organization established as a safe space for all members of the LGBT community.

Let's explore these points individually.

1. This fringe group is hateful: Sherry Wolf, a self-described socialist, is part of the Siegebusters Working Group. She and her top comrades, like Judith Butler, have challenged "the right of Israel to exist." This isn't the blatant kind of anti-Semitism where someone says "I hate Jews." Theirs is of a more subtle variety. The group's goal is that all of Palestine should become a multiracial secular state. The inevitable consequence of that is that demographics would turn this "Palestine" into an Arab dominated state, and Jews would lose their homeland. That's perhaps not an issue for Sherry, who lives comfortably in the U.S., but it's a matter of life and death for many Jews. Show me one Muslim state with a vibrant, protected Jewish community. You can't. And so she and her cohorts would deny Jews the only refuge that is actually theirs. That, in my mind, is anti-Semitic.

Butler, who teaches at University of California, Berkeley, has praised the terrorist organisations Hamas and Hezbollah, telling a liberal German daily, "These movements could be described as left." No, Ms. Butler. Anyone with a grip on reality would describe them as murderous Islamic terror groups. Hamas and Hezbollah would love nothing more than to send a suicide bomber into a place like the LGBT center.

Why would these phony feminists direct their anger toward Israel instead of the inequalities and injustices in the Arab world, if not for their anti-Semitic motivations?

Their apartheid claims are patently ridiculous. The misappropriation of the term is disrespectful and minimizes the tragic history in South Africa. In Israel, Arabs and Jews are not separated. They go to the same schools, share the same rooms in hospitals. Young Arabs and Jews party at some of the same clubs. There is no legal separation.

The Arab activist she mentions, Omar Barghouti, who leads the pathetically unsuccessful boycott campaign, is himself enrolled at Tel Aviv University as a Ph.D. student. Some apartheid state that is!

As for the examples they site of the handful of Jews and Israelis who agree with them, you'll always find a few outspoken fringe malcontents to use as propaganda. It's a tried-and-true method used by those whose arguments are too weak to stand on their own.

2. The Party to End Apartheid runs counter to the LGBT cause: The intellectually dishonest position of this group prevents them from addressing the reactionary homophobic and homicidal ideologies of the organizations they support. Their supposed interest in human rights does not extend to gays and lesbians who are imprisoned, genitally mutilated, tortured, and stoned to death by the oppressive regimes that surround Israel. They couldn't care less about the horrifying treatment of women in Arab countries.

Just watch. In responding to and commenting on this column, they will again blame white "moneybags" and insidiously play off of Jewish stereotypes. However, they will never, ever even mention the brutality and frequency with which gay lives are being destroyed by Islamists. They are incapable of acknowledging the fact that Israel is the Middle East's lone LGBT safe haven.

3. This hate group has no place at the LGBT Center: The LGBT Center is a precisely a center for the LGBT community. It is not a "liberated place" where political extremists can have their meetings. IAW isn't even an LGBT organization.

Just as the LGBT center's leaders would rightfully bar members of the Ku Klux Klan from meeting on their premises, they've made the wise determination that an organization composed of anti-Semites and self-hating Jews has no place there.

Meanwhile, on their websites and on online forums, Wolf and company attack the LGBT Center's donors, calling them a bunch of "Zionists," "moneybags," and "white bigots." Um, hello? These donors are giving money for gay causes. What have IAW and other anti-Israeli groups ever done for the LGBT Center or for gay people? They would nonetheless be happy to use the facility as a venue for plotting against the state of Israel.

Her accusation that money is power is no more than the feeble complaint of someone who has lost an argument. She is welcome to her misguided view that Israel is an apartheid state, but when presented with the facts, if people disagree with her, it is disingenuous to claim that those nasty Jews with their money and power have silenced her free speech.

My advice to them: Call up the Iranian consulate. I'm sure they'd be delighted to lend you their space.
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