Palestinian activists stand up for LGBTQ Rights
“We Stand With Palestine” Contingent in Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade
Confounding many people’s expectations, our “We Stand With Palestine” contingent in the Chicago Gay Pride Parade yesterday – with its huge 160 sq foot banner, “Israel: STOP killing Palestinians!” – was met with almost universal approval by the approximately 1 million people who lined the four-mile parade route.
With the recent killings of over 100 unarmed protesters by Israeli sharpshooters, including children and clearly identified medics and journalists, and the wounding of over 11,000 others, people in this country are waking up to Israel’s systematic deprivation of Palestinians’ rights.
This list, of course, does not include Democratic Party politicians like Barack Obama or Dick Durbin, who have opportunistically bewailed the Trump administration’s tearing apart migrant families at the US/Mexico border, but who took no notice of the killing of Palestinian children at the border fence of the Gaza open-air prison.
LGBT people in the United States have a particular responsibility to respond to these atrocities. Not only is Israel by far the biggest recipient of U.S. arms exports in the world, but it’s a central theme of Israeli propaganda, aimed at diverting attention from its brutality against Palestinians, that Israel is alleged to be a gay paradise.
But it’s no paradise for LGBT Palestinians, who are generally prohibited from going to Tel Aviv (even though some of their families were expelled from there), and the Israeli secret police have a widespread practice of blackmailing gay Palestinians by threatening to out them unless they turn into informers on their own people.
LGBTs in the United States have won many freedoms that LGBTs in other countries don’t enjoy. But that record of progress in no way excuses the vicious racism of police killings of Black people, theft of Native American lands, separating children of immigrants from their parents, and other racist crimes. Likewise, whatever relative freedoms LGBTs have won in Israel does not excuse that country’s continuing brutal treatment of Palestinians.
To privilege one oppressed group’s freedoms over another is playing a divide-and-conquer game that only bigots can win.
We were proud today to march in solidarity with Palestinians. We helped in a small way to re-water and reaffirm the radical roots of gay liberation in the years following the Stonewall Rebellion, when LGBTs cared not just about their own rights, but opposed the U.S. war in Vietnam and marched in solidarity with women and people of color. We recognized then, as we do now, that the liberation of all oppressed groups is the task of each.
Statement from the Gay Liberation Network, LGBTliberation@aol.com
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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