Monday, June 18, 2012

The Beginning of the Demise of Pinkwashing?

My therapist constantly warns me against predicting the future. To be fair, he particularly has taught me to be cautious of negative predictions. So perhaps predicting that pinkwashing is on its way out isn't as hazardous to our collective mental health as some other things might have been. But there have been signs, including a thing or two that I have written about here, and some stupid and/or vicious things said by Israeli politicians just in recent days that indicate that it may becoming more hip in Israel to be Rick Santorumesque than to be in Michael Oren's shoes at Equality Forum.

But all of this is, for now, just a hypothesis, and that's all I'm willing to say at this juncture that is not completely based on solid facts. What follows will be one of the things I do best, which is to deal with language. I will provide you with a translation of an excerpt of an interview with MK (that's Member of Knesset, the Israeli parliament) Uri Ariel on the Knesset's own television channel. This excerpt is provided here as a YouTube clip in Hebrew, and it was also embedded in the following Mako article in Hebrew, within their [LGBT] Pride portal:

The interviewer is veteran journalist Nechama Duek. 

ND: Not to draft them to the army, for instance, the gays?
UA: That's a question that the army has to answer.
ND: What do you think?
UA: If I had to decide, I think that I wouldn't draft them, but not ... 
ND: Why?
UA: Remarkable, eh?
ND: Yes.
UA: Well, okay, why? Because I think that there are things that interfere with the army's ability to fight. And that there are phenomena that are not...
ND: A gay man is less brave than a man who is not?
UA: I'm not talking about one particular man, or about ten, whether they're brave or not. The question is about the natural phenomena, and about whether we conduct ourselves according to the values that we have in Judaism and in the Torah, or whether we conduct ourselves in a different manner. I think that by and large, we have to behave in the spirit of Judaism à la millennia. It seems that it was prevalent, and was probably very popular, mostly among the peoples of the region, so that Israel, the People of Israel arrived in the region and was exposed to phenomena of this sort, and probably adopted some of these phenomena. And therefore the Torah goes against it very severely and with extremely harsh punishments. 
ND: Yes.
UA: Does punishment help? I believe that by and large, yes. If you ask me whether they do specifically for these cases, for this type, I don't know.
ND: "This type?" Are you afraid to utter the word "homosexuality?" What's "this type?"
UA: No, no, gays and lesbians...
ND: Okay, and transgenders too...
UA: No, if anyone was ofended that I said "this type,"I have no problem calling them names. They appear, as I said, in the Torah. Our Torah doesn't cover up anything, it doesn't hide anything, but it confronts the issues.

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