Friday, July 28

A Piano Should Fall on His Head

I know some might think it a wee bit inappropriate to suggest that a piano fall on the head of Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, the head of Israel’s extremist (and historically anti-Zionist) Eda Haredit rabbinic court, especially as missiles are being launched at Israel by Hezbollah guerillas in southern Lebanon. However, I cannot attempt to hide my contempt for a man so consumed by bigotry and dogmatic zeal that he blames those same missiles on Israel’s GLBT community.

In Fred Phelps’ fashion, Sternbuch has declared that Hezbollah’s assault on northern Israel is the result of G-d’s anger at Israel for playing host to the upcoming WorldPride, which is scheduled to take place in Jerusalem this coming August. “We have not protested enough against this parade of abomination and therefore we have received this warning,” he warned in a hand-written message to his followers. “Who knows where things will get to if we do not act further and more stringently against it.”

Notwithstanding the rhetoric of Sternbuch and the opposition of conservative Israeli politicians, Jerusalem’s mayor, and many religious leaders (this is one area where Jews, Muslims, and Christians seem to put aside their differences), the controversial event will proceed as planned, minus the parade, which has been postponed. In a recent press release, the Jerusalem Open House stated:

“As a result of the current hostilities in the region, the Jerusalem WorldPride march will be postponed. The march, that was scheduled to take place on August 10 in Jerusalem, requires extensive security, including police reinforcements from other parts of the country, which the police are unable to provide for at these volatile times. Therefore, Jerusalem Open House will hold the march at a later date, as soon as the circumstances in the region allow for the march to take place.”
In Sternbuch’s warped vision of the world, acceptance of GLBT people brings on God’s wrath. Not only does his Bible teach him that homosexual acts are an abomination, but his Scriptures are chock full of episodes in which G-d punished Israel for her wickedness by sending in the armies of neighboring superpowers like Babylon and Persia. In a way, one can hardly blame him. He sees the world as he has been taught to see it. One cannot condemn Sternbuch without also condemning his particular religious tradition as backward, divisive, full of hate, and utterly lacking in humanity.

One cannot regard Sternbuch as an isolated villain or zealot. The problem isn’t one rabbi who views Hezbollah missiles as G-d’s punishment of Israel for allowing WorldPride. The real problem is a religious fundamentalism (of any variety) that divides the world neatly into saints and sinners.

Of course, in a free society religious extremists like Sternbuch are free to express their views, however disagreeable they might be. Such is the high price of freedom of expression. At the same time, fundamentalists must never, ever be allowed to interfere with the rights of those they deem sinners. This is no less true for America than for Israel.

It is very easy to scapegoat GLBT people by pointing to Israel’s moral decline and divine wrath as the cause of the current crisis between Israel and Hezbollah, while ignoring the thousands of displaced Palestinians whose claims to the land and whose grievances are afforded no legitimacy whatsoever. That is not meant to suggest that the Israelis don’t also have a legitimate claim to the land. The problem is that each side tries to defend its claim in a way that invalidates the other’s claim. That alone is why missiles are falling in northern Israel. It’s certainly not because of WorldPride.

6 Comments:

Blogger RIC said...

Hearing or reading about certain subjects makes me often wonder if we aren't somehow going back in time. Having a reasonable knowledge of European Medieval History, I'm afraid we may be heading to a new Dark Age, where ridiculous, insane, revolting, preposterous (you name it) ideas are gaining advantage over any sobermindedness whatsoever...

4:57 AM  
Anonymous outiboy said...

when times get tough, blame the fags. it's happened innumerable times before, even when glbt folk arguably had far less visibility. even my more optimistic side concedes that's it's going to continue to happen for a long time to come. it's just one more example in a long string of examples pointing to how utterly ignorant we are as a species, in so many ways. we're not heading toward the dark ages; we're already there, and there are too few candles still flickering.

happy friday! go to the beach!

2:51 PM  
Blogger castor said...

Here is another interesting link to this subject matter:
http://www.answers.com/topic/holocaust-theology

12:52 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Agreed--fundamentalism, as practiced by any organized religion hatsoever, is anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, generally misogyic, frequently racist and always anti-GLBT.

One wonders how the Rabbi explains away David (soon to be the heavily glorified King David, putative author of the Psalms) and Jonathan. The Old Testament does just about everything but place them in bed together. Every time the Rabbi and his co-Neanderthals read or chant one of the Psalms, they're performing the work of a homosexual writer.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous G said...

Not just the Rabbis but Greek Orthodox as well - I chant psalms every Sunday.......

12:50 PM  
Blogger toobusyliving said...

Here's my latest plan from a recent blog bost re: Israel -

Perhaps the biggest news though, is that I made my first enquiries into converting to Judaism. I've talked about this before, but I'm VERY serious. I'm not religious, and as far as I know it's an OK religion, but that's not the reason. Tonight was (I hope, what with my conversion) the last time in my life that when I dare to criticize the State of Israel someone will say:

"You can't understand, you're not a Jew."

Well I will be a Jew - whatever it takes - just so I can never be "trumped" by that "this conversation is over" thing. And I'm not kidding. I've even met an uncut Jew once.....so, we'll see. I'm meeting with a Rabbi at Hillel House at the University of Toronto on Tuesday. By the time Israel invades Lebanon the next time, I should be all good, as they say. For the first time in my life I'm hoping that there is no afterlife, cause this would really upset my mother.

11:46 PM  

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