Sodom to Invade Jerusalem

Will the Holy City Become A Battleground Over “Gay” Event?

Mark Alessio

( “If a controversial international gathering is held in Jerusalem as planned this summer, it could spark a worldwide Islamic furor worse than that generated by cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, say Jewish and Muslim religious leaders,” reports the Cybercast News Service (June 21, 2006).

This gathering is Jerusalem WorldPride, scheduled for August 6-12, 2006. It is described as a massive demonstration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) pride and human rights. Major events include a Multifaith LGBT Clergy Conference, a Pride March through the streets of Jerusalem, an outdoor festival, Human Rights Day, LGBT Health Day, an International LGBT Youth conference, an LGBT Film Festival, and the Keshet Gaava annual conference.

But Jewish and Muslim religious leaders say that they will do everything they can to prevent the event – especially the march – from taking place. And although they are calling for nonviolent protests, some say things could get bloody.

"We're not coming here to suggest violence. But we are here to suggest peace, shalom," said Rabbi Yehuda Levin, founder of the U.S.-based Jews for Morality. Levin, who said he represents the views of more than 1,000 American Orthodox rabbis and hundreds of thousands of Jews around the world, is pressing the Israeli government to prevent the event from happening. He has called on Christian leaders in the U.S. and Muslim leaders in the Middle East to raise their voices against the event and said if it goes ahead, Jews will defend Jerusalem "with our bodies and with our souls."

Levin said that he wants the Arab masses to "rise up in indignation" now, so the Israeli security establishment will see the homosexual event as a security risk and put a stop to it. "I want to make an appeal, a desperate appeal to the entire Muslim community," said Levin. "We are faced with the prospect of six days of promiscuity and debauchery unparalleled in the Middle East," he told reporters at a press conference organized for the benefit of the Arabic media.

While religious leaders are advocating peaceful protest against the large-scale gathering of homosexuals, lesbians and transgender individuals, Levin said he fears there will be violence. Rabbi Menachem Froman predicted even worse. The shocking things that the world witnessed as a result of the publication of the caricatures of Mohammed in European newspapers would be nothing in comparison to the Muslim outrage that would be sparked if a homosexual parade takes place in the streets of Jerusalem, said Froman, the rabbi of the Jerusalem-area settlement of Tekoa who has been involved in Jewish-Arab contacts for years.

Israeli Knesset Member Sheikh Ibrahim Sarsur, of the Islamic Movement, said he backed the statements of Levin calling for peaceful protest but he agreed that holding the event in Jerusalem could bring a backlash worse than that sparked by the cartoons. "Not only in Jerusalem, not only in Israel, [but] in the whole world [it] is the beginning of a catastrophe for the whole human community. I think every sane individual must oppose such a phenomenon," Sarsur said.

Hagai El-Ad, executive director of the Jerusalem Open House, the main organizer of the WorldPride event, said efforts to halt it would fail.

Comment: A statement co-signed by three Jerusalem-based “evangelical” groups provides an apt summary of the true genesis of the WorldPride 2006 debacle. According to The Jerusalem Post (June 27, 2006), the statement, cosigned by Bridges for Peace, Christian Friends of Israel, and the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, states:

It is clear that Jerusalem has been deliberately targeted not because it has any particular significance to the gay and lesbian community, but because of the supreme importance this city holds for those of biblical faith. The decision to hold this event in Jerusalem can only be seen as a calculated and confrontational act meant to provoke and offend those who adhere to timeless, biblical moral standards in the very place they hold most dear.

This analysis is born out by the WorldPride organizers themselves. They had originally wanted the Jerusalem WorldPride event to take place in 2005, but postponed it in the face of massive opposition, although the official reason was the “Gaza pullout.” By their own admission, the organizers of WorldPride perceived it is a challenge: “World Pride 2005 will bring thousands of us to Jerusalem to confront preconception with reality, prejudice with an opportunity for understanding, in a way that will capture the attention of the world.”

This year, the organizers have added a “spiritual dimension” to their propaganda, but they still admit that there is an agenda at work. They describe as “strategic goals,” a number of steps which will be taken “to help the LGBT movement better describe our struggle for equality in moral terms, so that we can respond effectively to religion-based homophobia.” What they call religion-based homophobia is nothing else than the prohibitions against homosexual behavior found in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Even the Dalai Lama has said that sexual activity must be geared towards procreation!

So, how will the WorldPride organizers pursue their noble aims in Jerusalem? When WorldPride 2000 was held in Rome, sights included “men dressed up as women, men and women hardly dressed at all and enough spiked collars, leather and bizarre mascara to cast a remake of the Rocky Horror Picture Show .... a Swiss man sporting a Roman collar and ultra-tight shorts, an Italian wearing a bishop's miter with the message ‘God loves me, too" (National Catholic Reporter, July 28, 2000). It was enough to cause Pope John Paul II to call WorldPride an "insult" to Rome and the Church's Jubilee Year.

A public opinion poll released last year found that three-quarters of Jerusalem residents were opposed to holding the event in the city, while only a quarter supported it. Despite such widespread city opposition, WorldPride 2006 organizers reiterated that they are determined to hold the international event in Jerusalem in August, setting the stage for a major showdown in the city this summer. "The World Pride event will take place in Jerusalem because we believe Jerusalem should be a center of tolerance, pluralism and humanity. Unfortunately, there are those who prefer Jerusalem to be fanatical, dark, pursuing strife and hatred," said Noa Sattath, chairperson of Jerusalem's Gay and Lesbian Center.

In 2005, Jerusalem authorities had originally banned the local “Fourth Annual Gay Pride Parade” on the grounds that it would be provocative. In a letter to the parade’s organizers, the Jerusalem municipality stated their belief that "it wouldn't be right to authorize the march and the related festivities in Jerusalem out of the concern that it would be provocative and hurt the feelings of the broader public living in and visiting the city.” But, the politicos turned tail and the show went on. As it turned out, nearly 1,000 protesters lined the streets of the march. Some threw bottles of urine and bags of feces into the crowd, while others yelled "shame" at the passing marchers. Protesters gathered in front of the Great Synagogue held signs which read: "People with AIDS belong in hospitals" and "Homosexuality is a sickness." In addition, three young marchers were stabbed by a man described as a “young, ultra-Orthodox youth.”

Ultimately, it is the politicos of Jerusalem who will be able to defend the honor of the Holy City by showing WorldPride 2006 the door. So far, the prognosis is not good. Although former Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert withheld city funding for the city’s first homosexual parade in 2002, the Jerusalem municipality was later ordered by the Supreme Court to pay the organizers 40,000 shekels (approx. $9,000) for the event. During the second parade, in 2003, the Jerusalem Municipality hung “gay parade flags” along the flag route. In 2005, a Jerusalem district court fined Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski and the municipality for trying to stop the local "pride" parade. To make matters worse, Natan Sharansky, Minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, said last year that he welcomes "the international [WorldPride] event taking place in Jerusalem that would bring thousands of tourists to the city from all over the world.”

The organizers of WorldPride 2006 could easily hold their debacle in the secularized city of Tel Aviv, where they would be welcomed with open arms. When the “Seventh Annual Gay Pride Parade” was held there in 2004, the Deputy Mayor of that city, Yael Dayan, welcomed American homosexual attendees by informing them that “Tel Aviv is more than San Francisco.” But, no. With a pit-bull like tenacity, the organizers of WorldPride want to dominate Jerusalem. Why? Because the symbolism of such an act is worth any price.

The “evangelical” statement quoted above says it well: The decision to hold this event in Jerusalem can only be seen as a calculated and confrontational act meant to provoke and offend those who adhere to timeless, biblical moral standards in the very place they hold most dear. You can already imagine the headlines. “Marchers in mascara, spiked collars and ultra-tight shorts line the streets where Jesus walked!”

Are we supposed to stand up now and cheer on violence perpetrated by Muslims or Jews? No. But it is a fact of human existence that people – all people – defend themselves when under attack. The WorldPride folks know exactly what they are doing. Their concerted assault upon the very fabric of the Holy City may be a lark or a “public statement” to them, but there are those to whom the city’s spiritual patrimony means everything. The organizers could stop it. And they would stop it, if they believed even one iota of their own “spiritual” propaganda.

In the meantime, we can only wait and see. It’s a three-way standoff: the WorldPride organizers, the Jerusalem municipality, and the people and religious leaders of the Holy City. Everyone wins if legal action is taken against the WorldPride event, action which would both recognize the city’s unique place in the spiritual history of mankind and send a message to any groups who would presume to slap its citizens in the face with such blatant disregard. This would quickly and efficiently defuse any opportunities for violence in the matter.

As an aside, “Gay Pride Week” took place in Boston from June 2-11, 2006. Supported by various politicos and Macy’s (which advertised the event in their window), handouts given to spectators, even children, included condoms (including special condoms for “gay sex”), lubricants and photos of naked men. The official emcee for this “pride” event was Hedda-Lettuce, a man dressed as a woman, who gave a talk, blasted through huge loudspeakers, which was so crude, obscene and degrading to anything even remotely human, that many adults, some with children in tow, had to leave (for a transcript of this talk and photos of the event, those with strong stomachs can go to

Can anyone in his right mind blame the residents of Jerusalem (or Boston, or any city, for that matter) for wanting to spare their families such displays of “pride?”