June is Gay Pride month, but sadly even those committed to the fullest and freest expression of individual identity are not immune from bashing Israel or a profound lack of moral courage. Organizers of the Madrid pride parade, said to be one of the world’s largest gay pride events, have disinvited the Israeli LGBT group that was set to sponsor a bus in next month’s parade.
Citing fears that the presence of Israelis would incite local pro-Palestinian groups, and even raise the need for excess security, the Spanish organizers, in what can only be called a sadly ironic decision, told people that because of who they were, they were not welcome. I guess, at the end of the day, we really do unto others as has been done unto us. What a shame.
Not to mention the weirdness of excluding from participation those citizens of the country in the Middle East in which members of the GLBT community have the greatest safety and freedom of expression. While far from perfect, there is no question that Israel does better by its gay citizens than any Arab county, and in terms of military service, even better than the United States – openly gay Israelis serve with both honor and distinction in all branched of the Israeli military.
When will people learn that when we seek our own liberation at the expense of others, we end up not only defeating their cause but our own as well? That awareness forms the basis of the necessity of a two-state solution in the march towards Middle East peace, and should cause the Madrid parade organizers to re-think their current position. I guess we’ll see.