Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Isolated by their ‘allies,’ LGBTQ Jews gather to parse Pride’s anti-Israel leanings

NEW YORK — Leah Forester knows what rejection feels like. When the Orthodox Jewish comedian came out as a lesbian several years ago, her Haredi family stopped speaking to her. But that “was nothing compared to the hate and vitriol I felt from my own Queer community during Pride month,” Forester told a packed room at The Glasshouse in Manhattan on July 1.

Forester was speaking on a panel, “Proud in Pride: Deconstructing the Queers for Palestine,” during a two-day conference sponsored by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM).

Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas has highlighted the complicated relationship LGBTQ Zionists have with the LGBTQ community writ large, particularly the Queers for Palestine movement.

Queers for Palestine is a movement that appears incongruous at best — the Palestinian territories rank 147th in LGBTQ rights on the World Equality Index. And while the laws differ between the West Bank and Gaza (where same-sex relationships between men can be punishable by prison time), there are no civil protections in either area for LGBTQ Palestinians, and police rarely act against queerphobic violence.

For Jewish members of the Queer community, this cognitive dissonance is more than baffling — it feels like a betrayal.

“What we are seeing in the streets is scary,” Forester said.

Earlier this month, Pride parades in Toronto and New York were halted due to anti-Israel protests initiated by participants, while in Washington, DC, pro-Israel marchers reported being booed by Capital Pride marchers and parade-watchers. READ MORE