34 thoughts on “Tel Aviv Gay Massacre | Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. There seems to be some disagreement between the different sources as to whether 2 or 3 people were killed.

    Richard, when I try to include the URL of my website I’m told that my IP has been associated with spam in the past. Can anything be done to rehabilitate me?

    1. Sorry for that. I have an overactive spam filter that occassionally goes haywire like this. Tell me what your URL is & I’ll add it myself and see if I can prevent you receiving this error msg.

  2. No one knows who this killer was. For all we know, it could be an angry Haredi, or a homophobic nutjob, or a distraught ex-lover of one of the people in the club.

    No one knows, so to blame anyone (be it Shas, or whoever) is as ‘tolerant’ as the wrong statements by the various Shas people.

  3. There is no fundamental understanding or appreciation for human rights within Israeli society because there is no constitution that protects them as a foundational principle.

    It is worse than that, discrimination is woven into the fabric of the society and State of Israel. The root of the problem is a culture where many believe in, and are encouraged to believe in the efficacy of violence and the importance of physical supremacy.
    Your comments yesterday “Extremist Settlers Call Obama ‘Nigger,’ ‘Arab’” now seem almost clairvoyant.

    1. Miles, discrimination is inherent in the very concept and definition of the State. You cannot have an ethnocratic state that is not by its very nature discriminatory, and when you establish an ethnocratic state on land inhabited by members of the “wrong” ethnicities – well, we have seen what happens.

  4. I’m interested if this principle applies to other countries. In the United States there are regular violent attacks against minority groups. Is this because the United States does not recognise the rights of the individual or the value of the minority, or is it for some other reason?

    1. Actually, yes it is because the attacker has no understanding of the American constitutional system & the need for tolerance & appreciation of the value that minorities add to our society. The diff. bet. the U.S. & Israel is that we have a constitutional system and those who violate it are considered aberrant and are punished for it. In Israel, I’m afraid this is hit or miss. Who understands that when Shas speaks vile filth about Israeli gays that it is fundamentally undermining the social contract? Who makes Shas pay a political price for its hate?

  5. good points at the end of the article. as a palestinian, i agree that discrimination stems from a deeper form of imbalance; it is never incidental. but if we are to acknowledge “minorities” as equals, we should also recognize and identify them for who they are– it starts with respecting and recognizing the person or group with their proper names. “israeli arabs” are palestinians with israeli citizenship– in other words, they are palestinians. perhaps “israeli arab” would be a more appropriate label to identify israeli jews from morocco, iraq, syria, etc. this is a term that has been imposed on palestinians residing in the ‘48 regions and one which has attempted to deny our heritage and identity.

    1. One of my readers pointed this out to me and I’d like to come up with a 2 word descriptive phrase if possible that is easier & quicker to type than Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Perhaps Israeli Palestinians though I’m not sure that would be clear enough to readers.

      1. Richard, Palestinians don’t like to be identified as Israelis, especially since this was imposed on them. The most appropriate term, if you must describe them with a term other than Palestinian, is ’48 Palestinians. This is also a term that we use to describe Palestinians from the regions that were stolen in 1948.

        1. It is so degrading for a Palestinian to be identified as an Israeli that we refer to the ID documents (which also have been imposed) as “blue”

        2. I don’t want to dispute your view since you have a closer awareness of the issue than I, but Israeli public opinion polls of Palestinian Israelis don’t attest to this utter rejection of everything Israeli. In fact, these citizens of the state seem to yearn for integration into it (on equal footing of course, rather than the piecemeal deal they now get).

          1. This poll was probably funded by the Israeli government, which I am sure was not instigated in the favour of Palestinians living in Israel. Integration in Israel is equatable to apartheid and this is a well-known fact. Furthermore, Palestinians are the only ones who are required to integrate. They are expected forget their heritage and identity, both of which are denied. Perhaps the poll confused equality with integration. They simply want to be treated as dignified human beings and not constantly be harrassed and discriminated against. They are sick of being second-class citizens. Just like gays all over the world, they want to live in peace and harmony. But that doesn’t mean they want to be called Israelis. I think you have to look deeper than this poll and understand what people have endured since 1948 to understand this. It’s a sign of disrespect.

          2. This poll was probably funded by the Israeli government

            That’s not fair. I would NEVER quote a poll funded by the Israeli government, nor do I believe the government conducts polls that it makes public. This was a legitimate independent poll published in an Israeli newspaper. And it’s not the only one either. I’m afraid I’m with Azmi Bishara on this: Israel must become a state of all its citizens, meaning Palestinian Israeli citizens must receive full, equal rights. This does NOT mean losing their heritage or historical experience. In order to do that they must be integrated within Israel itself. I’m sorry you see such equality (strangely, I might add) as apartheid. Or did you misunderstand my pt of view?

          3. A couple of thoughts on this:

            I think one of the reasons most Palestinian citizens of Israel do not appreciate being called Israeli is precisely that it identifies them with a country and a first-tier “fellow citizenry” tat rejects them both symbolically and practically. Therefore, calling them Israeli seems like a lie, and a patronizing, insulting one at that.

            I think also that we should not conflate wishing to be treated as equal citizens with equal rights, equal privileges, equal treatment, and equal recognition and respect for their ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and religious identity with wishing to identify and be identified as Israeli. They are two rather different things.

          4. i agree shirin, well said. that was my point in a posting above: that wishing for equality does not equate with being identified as an israeli, even a palestinian israeli (which is an oxymoron).

            richard, perhaps i should have first asked where this poll came from. but an israeli nespaper doesn’t really write in the favour of palestinians, does it? equality doesn’t means they wish they could live without the israeli influences imposed on them. can you imagine what it feels like to walk through the streets of haifa with all the israeli flags waving around all over the place? in the OT they’re used to mark settlements and checkpoints, in israel they are a reminder of the nakba.
            i didn’t misunderstand your point of view, i think you misunderstood me as claiming that you promote apartheid. i didn’t say that. what i meant is that the current situation is an apartheid situation. in the west bank and gaza it has been administered physically with the wall, in israel it is a mental form of apartheid.
            when azmi bishara he speaks of integration he means both ways. why do you think he got so much flack from the government? i don’t think that he would ask any palestinian to start waving the israeli flag or to join the military (even though some have) or to practice all the rights that israelis enjoy (as shirin just described) because many of them were implemented when this so-called democracy was created exclusively for jews. therefore, in order to achieve true equality in israel, the system must be changed from within. and i don’t see that happening anytime soon.

          5. in order to achieve true equality in israel, the system must be changed from within. and i don’t see that happening anytime soon.

            I completely agree on both pts. But one of the reasons I write this blog is to lobby for precisely these changes. As to flags and other national symbols, I agree that Israel needs to have symbols that are inclusive of all its citizens. But lots more needs to change including laws, a need for a constitution guaranteeing equal rights for majority & minority (whether they be Jewish or Muslim/Christian).

            I don’t think Israel should expect its minority population to serve in the IDF until the army and society itself reflect this diversity and equality for all. But at that point, I would expect Arab citizens to participate in society’s institutions & I think they would want to do so.

            I also don’t think you should paint the Israeli brush with a broad negative brush. I believe I read the poll in either Haaretz or Yediot, which are generally (though not always) reliable & independent papers. Believe me, I have my antennae up whenever I read material that is this contentious. I was frankly surprised by these findings. But fr. what I can tell they generally reflect opinion within the Palestinian Israeli population. I’m not saying these views are unanimous because clearly there are many nationalists who side w. yr perspective & that is certainly a legitimate one within that community. I’m just making the pt that there is not unanimity on this subject.

          6. I think it is unfair to label me as a nationalist. I am patriotic and passionate about my cause and I love being Palestinian, but that is different than being a nationalist.
            As long as Israel has a political agenda to destroy, deny and insult everything Palestinian, the brush that it paints itself with remains negative 😉

          7. I didn’t mean “nationalist” in a pejorative way. I suppose there can be people of various political stripes who can hold the views you do. But I am most familiar with these being called “nationalist” in a Palestinian (& Israeli) context. But if the term was wrong I apologize.

        3. The problem with ” ’48 Palestinians” is that it is to broad, and would tend to be confusing. It is generally used to refer to the victims of the ethnic cleansing of ’48. I think of it as meaning Palestinians who were there prior to ’48 and are now no longer there due to having been ethnically cleansed. To me it also has never referred to the descendants of Palestinians who were there in 1948.

          1. no shirin, this term specifically means those living in israel after the 1948 expulsions. you have the ’67 territories (the occupied territories) and the ’48. the ones that fled or were evicted are referred to in arabic as “laji3een” or exiled.

          2. With respect, Nihal, not everyone uses exactly the same terminology in the same way. Yes, we use Al Laji3een to refer to those who were ethnically cleansed in 1948, but we have also call them ’48ers, or 1948 Palestinians in both English and Arabic, and so do many of the Palestinians I know who were expelled in 1948.

            But it is not a subject for argument. Different people use different terms, but the concepts stay the same. Referring to Palestinians as simply “Arabs” is inaccurate, since not all Palestinians are Arabs, and it is a way, often conscious, of denying them their identity.

  6. Alex, I’m afraid you haven’t responded to my point on the other thread.

    Israeli Jewish society is sick. The name of its sickness is hate. There exists a basic hate which cuts across the whole society, which is hate of Arabs. I would say 85% of Israeli Jews are infected with it. And it’s a toxic, virulent hate; a hate of almost cosmical proportions nowhere to be found with such an intensity in any other Western society, with the possible exception of hate of Gypsies in Eastern Europe.

    That hate has become normalized in Israel. From the ignorant Sephardi masses who shout “Death to the Arabs” to the sophisticated scholars who state “Ben Gurion’s mistake was not to expell the remaining Arabs,” just about everyone hates the Arabs.

    And when hating one minority is the norm, hating other groups becomes socially more acceptable. Be it the gays, immigrant workers, Ethiopians, Breaking the Silence, etc.

    But it all starts with hate of Arabs.

    1. Sorry Hasbara Buster I don’t have regular net access this week.
      I think Israeli society has an increasingly serious problem of racism towards Arabs; partly a result of the growing toll of the conflict and partly a result of the increasing triumph of the ethnocentric aspects of Zionism. But to speak of 85% seems excessive, not to mention the frankly absurd “of almost cosmical proportions.”

      How often do you visit Israel?

      1. hi alex, i have lived there and didn’t meet more than a handful of israelis that genuinely treated me with respect after telling them i was palestinian. and those were all people that had previously served in the army and taken a change of mind afterwards. and out of these really friendly israelis, all of them were closet zionists!
        everyone knows how much brainwashing goes on in the army, especially before. i am aware that it is a popular argument amongst israelis to claim that military service is mandatory, but something only remains that way without protest or a revolution. and i personally have not met many israelis that want to make any concessions to make lives more bearable for palestinians. only a few that protest on a daily basis or that moved away.
        last year, the large majority of israeli citizens were in favour of the genocidal attacks on gaza– i think that says a lot about this society.

  7. RE: “Israeli police indicate that Avigdor Lieberman’s indictment is near.”

    MY COMMENT: Hang in there, Avigdor. Remember your days as a tough guy bouncer in Moldova. Never give up! Never give up! Never give up! Hold on to your cabinet position and make them prove these scurrilous, politically-motivated allegations in a court of law!

  8. I was devastated reading about this awful attack, but I agree that, until we know who did this and what their motive was, we should withhold blame.

    I just observed Tisha B’Av for the first time, with a gay/lesbian/bi/trans congregation in New York City. One of our Rabbis spoke of the evils of sinat chinam, senseless hate. The only way to truly fight senseless hate is to look within ourselves and see that none of us is free of it, that we all need to fight it. Israel can never be whole until we realize that we are all God’s children and all are deserving of equal rights and mutual respect. Although I realize religion can often divide, I do believe that profound faith can also heal and bring us together. I also truly believe that gay, lesbian, bi, trans and queer people have a special mission in this world – we will be the corner stone of a new peace – I pray the common struggle faced by Jewish, Muslim and non-religous gays will bring us together and allow us to guide the entire world to a better future.

    My heart aches for these beautiful children whose lives have been cut so short, for those whose lives have been forever changed, and for their families and their friends.

  9. RE: “Israel is certainly less homophobic than surrounding Arab states, but less tolerant than many western nations.”

    FROM YNET: ‘50% of gay teens physically or sexually abused’, by Yael Branovsky, 08/03/09

    Gay community reps meet with Social Affairs Ministry officials, introduce data suggesting 80% of gay teens in Israel suffer some sort of sexual orientation-related abuse.

    (EXCERPT) “…In the aftermath, representatives of the gay community have met with Social Affairs Ministry officials and presented them with daunting information: According to their data, 80% of gay teens have been subject to verbal abuse due to their sexual orientation and about half of them have suffered some sort of physical and/or sexual abuse…”

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3756038,00.html

    PS. No insinuations or generalizations were intended by the preceding comment.

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