Posts tagged: israel

Israel, trans folks, marriage, and pinkwashing

By , January 21, 2013 12:39 pm

So Israel had its “first transgender wedding.” (I should note that it’s really the first public trans wedding that received news coverage. It’s entirely possible trans folks have gotten married in Israel before, but they didn’t invite a news crew to the wedding.) While the linked article, from the Times of Israel, has a few problematic phrasings, it’s generally positive. Huzzah for Arizona and for her new husband.

The comments, on the other hand, are less complimentary. One major exception, currently at the top of the comment thread, is worth nothing:

And here I thought we Jews were supposed to be a light unto all nations? Reading some of the hateful comments here, clearly the darkness of the rest of the world is descending upon us. As a proud Jew, married to a a male to female transsexual who converted to Judaism I am intensely proud that Israel is enlightened enough to have not only sanctioned this (Arizona’s) marriage, but showing the world, that love is what is most important. Stop acting Christian, people. it’s unbecoming of you.

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Emotion versus Reason – Military might and Israel

By , September 24, 2012 3:58 pm

Compensating much?

Last night, while watching TV, I spent some time on my laptop surfing Wikipedia’s pages about the military. I was sent to Wikipedia by some link in a discussion over at Slashdot on why aircraft carriers are still important. I looked at military expendituresMissile defense systems. The history of the US Navy. And, or course, aircraft carriers themselves. Delving into Wikipedia was, as it so often is, entirely fascinating. While doing all this browsing, though, I noticed a disconnect between my emotion and my reason. Logically, I want US military expenditure (currently at $700+ billion a year, and accounting for 41% of worldwide military spending) to drop. I want it to drop a lot. The US spends less than 1% of that amount on the National Science Foundation. About 3% of that amount on NASA. About 0.03% of that amount on the arts.  If even a fraction that money went to education, to science, to space exploration, to the arts, to education imagine where we’d be. A world with the US spending $600 billion on the military (still kind of absurd) with tens of billions going to other projects.

At the same time, while browsing Wikipedia, I am reminded of the emotional security that comes with an absurdly (even obscenely) powerful military.

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Jewish antisemitism (in which I badmouth Israel AGAIN)

By , June 6, 2012 4:14 pm

I’m no stranger to opening my mouth and talking about Israel, even though I’m relatively ignorant about its history or its current situation. My biggest foray into Israel and its history were two posts last May, about Obama and Israel and whether or not Israel is an apartheid state. (Short summary: Obama said “borders” when Israel prefers “armistice lines,” and no, Israel isn’t an apartheid state, but not for lack of trying to subjugate the Palestinians.)

A little over a year later, my mom is dating someone who is vocally pro-Israel. I like him a lot, and we agree on lots of political issues, but we send pro- and anti-Israel emails back and forth every so often. Most recently, he said he’ll buy us each a copy of Side By Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine, so we can talk about it sometime. While we wait for the books to get here, though, he sent me this gem:

 if you want to make it in this incipient debate, here’s some very strong amunition for your side.  Join up with the Holocaust deniers, those who believe we use the blood of children in our matzos, and that we are all members of an international conspiracy to take over the world…for these are the beliefs of those who argue for the total recognition of the Palestinians and all of their arguments. Link:

My response is below.

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“Israel is the gender-neutral bathroom of my people”

By , February 22, 2012 3:14 pm

I recently spoke to a group of high school students at the synagogue I’d attended growing up, and where I had my Bar Mitzvah. The workshop went really well, and the students seemed receptive and open to what I was saying. I’m speaking next week to a group of seventh grade students, which should be fun, too.

After the workshop, I had a conversation with the friend of mine, Dinah, who runs the youth programming. We were discussing our queer identities, and how those do and don’t mesh with our Jewish identities. I brought up a conversation I’d had over the weekend, in which, while discussing Israel, someone Jewish (Sam) said, “Israel is the only place I’ve ever visited where I haven’t been a minority.”

Dinah agreed with Sam’s sentiment, and said one way she’s explained the importance of Israel to queer friends is in a context many queer people understand. As she put it, “Israel is the gender-neutral bathroom of my people.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about that concept, but I’m not sure it rings true for me.

Continue reading '“Israel is the gender-neutral bathroom of my people”'»

Israeli Aparthied?

By , May 27, 2011 4:02 pm

That’s right, I’m wading back into Israel. Not satisfied with my recent post about Israel, Obama’s speech, and the 1967 borders/lines/whatever, an article I saw in my Google News feed caught my eye. The Sacramento Bee disappointingly reprinted a total fluff piece entitled “New York LGBT Center Taking Sides of Anti Semites.” The subtitle is “Michael Lucas Organizes Boycott,” and the piece is by none other than one Michael Lucas. Way to be classy. I’m not linking to the piece, since it’s total propaganda, but it did make me really curious about the organization being referenced, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. And, more broadly, is Israel supporting a state of apartheid?

(For the record, I do think this discussion and disagreement is newsworthy, I just think it’s really poor reporting to reprint a biased self-written press release supporting a specific position. So I’m not opposed to the Sacramento Bee reporting something,  just on how they chose to report.)

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How Obama pissed off Israel – the 1967 “borders”

By , May 23, 2011 1:53 pm
For all its faults, Israel is pretty badass

Picking on Israel went really well for the aggressors...

Following my last post, I’ve been trying to do some research to figure out why Obama’s urging to use the 1967 Israel borders as a starting point was a bad thing, and why it pissed off Israel (and a bunch of other folks). Here’s what I’ve been able to figure out.


In 1967, Israel was attacked (again…) by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in the Six Day War, so called because that’s how long it took for Israel to kick everyone else’s ass and over double its territory. That’s right: Israel was invaded and ended up with more land than it started with. Specifically, Israel ended up with the Sinai Peninsula (since returned to Egypt), the Gaza Strip (which Israel has already pretty much withdrawn from), the West Bank (which Israel has also basically said they’re wiling to part with, even though Jewish settlers keep making new settlements), East Jerusalem (which Israel is most emphatically not willing to part with and no one seriously expects them to), and the Golan Heights (which is, as far as I can tell, the biggest point of contention concerning the 1967 borders). For more info, check out Wikipedia’s page on Israeli-occupied territory.

But even the use of the word “borders” is making some people upset. Someone on Twitter sent me this link, which talks about how the map to the right describes armistice lines following the 1967 Six Day War, not mutually agreed upon borders of a cohesive, internationally recognized and legit state. And, apparently, the pre-1967 borders/lines/whatever were really just the result of the cessation of hostilities in 1948, when soldiers (mostly) stopped shooting at each other for the next two decades. (Noticing a pattern here?)

As far as I can find, the outrage over Obama’s comments, from right wing US politicians as well as Israel, is pretty much manufactured. This has been the US’s official position for the last 20+ years, and shouldn’t have surprised anyone. But is it a good position? That, not surprisingly, is much more difficult to determine.

Continue reading 'How Obama pissed off Israel – the 1967 “borders”'»

Israel needs to suck it up

By , May 22, 2011 10:56 pm

Can someone explain to me why using the 1967 Israeli borders as a starting point is a bad thing?

Standing Against Israel

By , June 1, 2010 9:18 pm

I’m a bad Jew.

I don’t say this because I’m not observant. (Although I’m not.) I don’t say this because I haven’t been to services in years. (Although I haven’t.) I don’t say this because I don’t keep kosher. (Although I don’t.)

I’m a bad Jew because I dislike Israel. Indeed, I oppose the very fact of its existence.

Israel has been on my mind a lot this past week, first because of the flotilla raid near Gaza, but also because of a post at From the Rib?. Specifically:

I believe that Jews should be able to be Jewish without needing to be tied to Israel; Israel does need the support of the international Jewish community and cannot be abandoned, but a connection to Judaism should not only be based on a connection to Israel. While learning about Israel is one important way to establish a Jewish identity, why can’t there be other ways? What ever happened to cultural Judaism based on Jewish literature, plays, and heritage? What happened to having a unique Jewish culture? (Emphasis added)

Yes, being Jewish should not depend on one’s attitude toward or connection with Israel. But I disagree that Israel cannot (or should not) be abandoned.

Continue reading 'Standing Against Israel'»

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