Australian gays hostile to Israel
Supreme idiocy. In Gaza they would be thrown fron a high building, as Mohammed commanded in the Hadiths. They are hostile to the one place in the Middle East where they would be safe. There are obviously some queers whose brains are as dysfunctional as their sexuality
Veteran gay rights campaigners Kerryn Phelps and Jackie Stricker-Phelps have joined a chorus of members of the LGBTIQA+ Jewish community expressing dismay at an open letter on the Israel-Hamas war issued by the chief executive of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
The couple, who led the marriage equality movement in Australia, say the conduct of Mardi Gras leadership has made them feel marginalised, after Dayenu – a key body representing Sydney’s gay Jewish community on Thursday warned that it was reconsidering participating in this year’s famous event due to concerns over the safety of its members.
Dr Phelps, a GP and former AMA president and independent federal MP, said she had contacted Mardi Gras organisers after chief executive Gil Beckwith last month released an open letter to Anthony Albanese calling for “an immediate and enduring ceasefire in Gaza.”
“I was really not satisfied with the response,” said Dr Phelps, who converted to Reform Judaism more than 20 years ago after committing to her relationship with now wife Ms Stricker-Phelps, who was born Jewish and had many family members killed in the Holocaust.
“The statement was silent on the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7, and its impact on Israel, and on the Australian Jewish community. They only spoke of violence in Gaza.
“There was no statement about Hamas, or the treatment of the LGBT+ community in Gaza, or in Palestinian culture.
“I have yet to see a statement from Sydney Mardi Gras about life for LGBTIQ people in Iran, or Saudi Arabia, or Yemen or Afghanistan.
“Where are the statements about other conflicts, and where are the statements about countries where the LGBT+ community risks the death penalty, persecution, and violence?
“The best that can be said about this statement is that it is well-meaning but highly selective. As a humanitarian, I understand the distress about all people affected by the October 7 attacks and its aftermath. Realistically, there can be no lasting ceasefire unless all hostages are safely returned, and Hamas is disarmed.”
Ms Stricker-Phelps said the letter mentioned violence only in Gaza, making no mention of the October 7 attack on Israel.
“They are advocating for a culture where they would not last five minutes as an out and proud gay or lesbian person. The Israeli gay and lesbian community, by contrast, has the support of their government and culture, so it is a false equivalence,” she said.
“I have fought hard for equality for the LGBT+ community for over 20 years, and am shocked at the statement by Mardi Gras, which further marginalises the Jewish gay and lesbian community. It is at best misguided, and at worst reckless.”
Mardi Gras organisers did not respond to a request for comment.
Queer Israeli woman Ofra Ronen, who has lived in Australia since 2003, founded new national group “Jewish-Israeli Pride Australia” late last year, “out of the need to counter the threats and exclusions that LGBTQI Jews face in online and offline spaces, especially from those who deny Israel’s right to exist”.
“It is in my opinion a much bigger issue than do we feel safe to go to Mardi Gras,” Ms Ronen said. “We haven’t felt safe since October.”
Ms Ronen, of Sydney, said she had been working with the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies on ways to ensure the safety and wellbeing of queer Jews during Mardi Gras celebrations in February and March, as well as in the LGBTIQA+ community more broadly.
She said a Melbourne cell of JIPA was working with Victoria’s Pride Centre to discuss concerns over the safety of Jewish community members at the upcoming Midsumma festival.
Fellow Jewish gay man Joshua Roth lives across from Sydney’s Hyde Park, which has become home to anti-Israel protests since October.
“For almost three months, at least once a week, I have had to sit in my apartment and hear genocidal calls for the end of Israel and the Jewish people,” he said.
“I will not be boycotting Mardi Gras this year just because I am deeply ashamed of the organisation. I will be boycotting it because I am scared. The hatred for Jews and Israel has trickled into every corner of society, and organisations like Mardi Gras are to blame by endorsing this behaviour.
“Instead, as this year’s parade proceeds below my apartment, I will fly my Israeli flags and sadly not my rainbow flag. The Mardi Gras organisers have forced me to choose between two sides of my identity – how is that in line with what they claim to represent?”