Friday, June 29, 2012

Israeli, Gay and Proud vs. Queers Against Israeli Apartheid

by Eyal Feldman

I had the honor and pleasure of marching with the large Israeli contingent of the NYC Gay Pride Parade this past weekend and it was great. Being both Israeli and gay are two of my most important identities and are major sources of happiness, pride and strength, as it is for many people like myself around the world.  A few days before the parade was to take place it was discovered that the anti-Israel hate group QAIA (Queers Against Israeli Apartheid) was to be marching in the NYC Pride parade as well. This group openly discounts and discredits Israel's sovereignty and security with its cynical and malicious use of Israel's liberal culture as a weapon against it in a perverse double standard that it does not ever ask any Palestinian or Arab nationality to meet. To me this is akin to allowing gay members of a KKK group to march in a pride parade because they happen to be gay, and I doubt that would be even allowed. So as upsetting as it was to have this group march it was even more shocking and sad to find who was marching with them, Andy Humm, one of the two hosts of an NYC public access show on cable TV that covers important gay news topics and issues called Gay USA.

As the group was marching by I called Andy Humm over to me standing in the sidelines to ask him what on Earth he was doing marching with this hate group. He answered uncomfortably that he were merely "meeting friends for a walk." As if strolling in Central Park meeting some buddies, and not carrying a sign that read “I support Palestinian Queers” marching with this controversial anti-israel hate group. By the way Israel grants asylum to LGBT Palestinians to save their lives from their own violently anti-gay culture, one more reason why I march for Israel. He initially hesitated to align himself with this group so as to absolve himself of any responsibility of doing so and went on to say that he supports both sides of this conflict, but in actuality he showed me and the whole world that he stands firmly in opposition with Israel, her proud people both gay and straight and aligned himself with certain dark forces who will never ever be satisfied or pleased by anything Israel does for LGBT rights.

Why did Andy Humm not march with a Palestinian or Arab gay group? Probably because no such group exists and if they did they would be killed immediately. Of all the deserving LGBT issues in the world to support and march for why not advocate for hanged LGBT Iranians, Egyptians, Russians, Syrians or any other myriad of needy gay groups around the world? I sincerely believe that one must not have to destroy or diminish Israel in order to build Palestine, but that is exactly what QAIA advocates, an overt pernicious double standard for the Jewish state only while asking absolutely nothing of the people they purport to stand for.
       I implored him to step away from this group, stop marching with them in the future and bring balance to his show, Gay USA, which uses highly inflammatory and inaccurate terms like “Apartheid” “Occupation” and “Pinkwashing” when discussing Israel without anyone to defend Israel’s side. Unfortunately Andy Humm and Gay USA continues to be totally uninterested in having me on or anyone else on to represent Israel’s point of view. I am even willing to have an open debate just to have both sides of this issue out there, but these radical leftist practices are killing any impartiality that he pretends or thinks he has while alienating many of us in the Jewish and Israeli communities who are an integral and leading part of LGBT society around the world and especially here in New York City.


Andy Humm said...

I have never used the words “Apartheid” “Occupation” and “Pinkwashing” in my writings or on my show, though a guest who believes in those things has. We have had a Palestinian lesbian leader on Gay USA and confronted her about Palestinian anti-gay bigotry and an Israeli gay leader on and spoken about orthodox Jewish anti-gay bigotry--as well as the many positive things to protect LGBT rights.

I will not be intimidated into dissociating myself from colleagues who are raising legitimate questions about the plight of Palestinians.

Steve Yuhas said...

Why is it that people that march with groups almost universally use the words, "I never used the words..." and then distance themselves from the organizations they support?

Andy said, "I will not be intimidated into dissociating myself from colleagues who are raising legitimate questions about the plight of Palestinians." Does Humm realize that the only government in the Middle East that allows a free press to debate such issues is the government of Israel? Ask the people of Syria what they think about the Palestinian issue (they'll be glad to talk about the Palestinians rather than what's actually happening in that country right now).

The issue for people like Humm is that once he's caught in an untenable and irrational position, marching with a hate group in an event designed to recognize freedom, his first reaction is to use the "but I have black friends" red herring. He doesn't say he sees genuine problems with the fact that since the uniting of the Fatah and the Hamas gay Palestinians have fled (and been granted) legitimate status in Israel. He fails to point out that Iran and Saudi Arabia, presumably "free" for gays since he's not marching against them, both hang and behead gays in public spectacle or that in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan - Iraq and even "modern" places like Kuwait it is specifically illegal to engage in homosexuality (as it is in Gaza and in areas governed BY Palestinians).

Nope the enemy in the minds of people like Humm is Israel. It's always Israel. Israel could swing open the doors and say "everybody is welcome no matter your status" and there would still be those whose objections are against the Israeli state itself. There is no more apartheid in Israel than there is in NYC, but it's a good message - so good that when people are marching for it they pretend they're out walking with friends (don't look behind the curtain Andy, you're carrying an anti-Israeli sign that somebody must have slipped you when you were not looking).

I'm sure he thought he was carrying a US or Israeli flag...