LONDON, June 22, 21007 – “We
applaud the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court to reject an application
to ban the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade,” said Brett Lock, spokesperson for
the London-based LGBTI human rights group, OutRage! said last night.
He was commenting on the court
judgement, ahead of yesterday’s Gay Pride march.
“This is a big victory, not only
for gay rights but also for the right to protest of all Israelis – gay and
straight, Jew and Arab,” added Mr Lock.
“The judges’ refusal to succumb to
threats of violence by homophobic Jewish fundamentalists is a gain for all
Israelis who cherish freedom and liberty.
“The fundamentalists had been given
official encouragement by the deplorable vote in the Israeli parliament, the
Knesset, which sought to ban Gay Pride marches.
“This bigoted and dangerous
restriction on the right to freedom of expression was carried on its first
reading in early June by 41 votes to 21. It was backed by a cowardly,
bigoted alliance of religious and right-wing parties, led by Shas and the
National Religious Party,” Mr. Locke said.
Also backing the Gay Pride ban was
the President-elect and former Labour Prime Minister, Shimon Peres. The
left-wing Meretz party was the only political grouping to robustly oppose
the draconian new legislation.
“Fortunately, the legislation was
not ratified in time to halt Jerusalem Gay Pride,” Mr. Locke continued.
“Following the Supreme Court decision, it is now unlikely to reach the
“We are troubled that attempts to
ban Jerusalem Gay Pride received such widespread, cross-party support in the
Israeli parliament. We hope the Supreme Court decision will put the brakes
on these attempts to outlaw gay marches.
“The increased right-wing religious
influence in Israel's parliament is extremely bad news for gay rights and
for the prospect of peace in the Middle East and justice for the Palestinian
“We condemn the recent anti-gay
riots by Orthodox Jews and their blood-curdling incitements to attack the
Gay Pride marchers,” said Mr Lock.
Jerusalem’s Gay Pride march went
ahead yesterday; and despite the presence of 7,000 police officers, some
Jewish fundamentalist protesters infiltrated the route. A group of
ultra-religious teenage girls screamed “disgrace, disgrace” at the 5,000 Gay
At least 19 Judaist fanatics were
arrested during the parade, including one man who poured oil on the march
route, and several people who waded in and assaulted several marchers.
Police also arrested an
ultra-Orthodox Jew carrying a home-made bomb.
The Israeli Supreme Court rejected
three petitions against the Gay Pride march. The petitions argued that the
march would offend the sensibilities of religious believers.
They were submitted by Trade
Minister Eli Yishai of Shas, Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky, and Hebron
Jewish activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir.
Trade Minister Yishai argued that
the homosexual march is a “vulgar event that offends and violates the
sanctity of Jerusalem”.
He said that in approving the
parade, the police had not given sufficient weight to the “offence caused to
the sensibilities of the hareidi public”.
The Marzel-Ben-Gvir petition
submitted that the Gay Pride march “would lead to public disturbances and
riots on an unprecedented scale”.
Deputy Supreme Court President
Eliezer Rivlin, Justice Ayala Procaccia and Supreme Court President Dorit
Beinisch wrote in their judgement:
“Authorizing the Gay Pride parade
allows for the realization of the right to expression and demonstration … It
allows the marchers to voice their message by virtue of their right for
equality and social recognition. Additionally, the permit affords deserving
priority to the principle of the rule of law, and to the perception that
violence is not to be rewarded nor succumbed to.”
In the week before the Gay Pride
march took place, the Orthodox Righteous Court of Law (Badatz) placed a
curse on the parade’s organizers and participants and on police officers
tasked with protecting the march.
Prominent Orthodox rabbis published
a declaration which read: “To all those involved, sinners in spirit, and
whoever helps and protects them, may they feel a curse on their souls, may
it plague them and may evil pursue them; they will not be acquitted of their
transgressions from heavenly judgment.”
In previous years, Jerusalem Gay
Pride marchers have been violently attacked by both Jewish and Muslim
religious fundamentalists. At the 2005 march, an ultra-Orthodox believer
stabbed and wounded three marchers.
Last year, fears of violence from
fundamentalists led to the march being moved from the city centre to a
sports stadium in a distant suburb.
Posted: 22 June 2007 at 00:00 UK