Sunday, August 02, 2009

Murderous Homophobia in Tel-Aviv

A gunman opened fire at a gay and lesbian youth center in Tel-Aviv yesterday, killing two people. The man escaped and has not yet been apprehended.

Israelis were shocked by this terrible hate crime. Many of my friends on Facebook have changed their profile picture to the gay pride flag with a memorial candle or black stripe as a sign of protest and identification with the gay community. Accusations are flying against the leaders of Shas, the ultra-Orthodox party, who have in the past condemned homosexuality as a perversion that must be treated. Politicians from Shas have condemned yesterday's murders.

I think that while Shas's homophobic words and policies are horrible, it is too early to lay blame on them for what happened. We don't know who the shooter is and whether he's a Shasnik, or even religious. Unfortunately, there are plenty of possible sources for this intolerance.

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