The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, August 24, 2002  

Martin Peretz & Co. Connect With Gay Palestinians

Catch this!

Martin Peretz and the rest of the thorougayghly predictable gang at the increasingly tired New Republic have suddenly discovered a very small section of the Palestinian populace with whom they are willing to display the slightest degree of sympathy, even publicly: gay Palestinians.

The focus of TNR’s compassion, naturally, doesn’t extend to the Palestianian people as a whole, though of course we applaud TNR, unlike many of its ideological allies, for not putting scare quotes around the word Palestinians. Yet we emphasize that TNR’s sudden interest in the residents of the West Bank and Gaza extends only to a small group that happens to coincide with a vocal minority here in the U.S.

TNR’s venom regarding the plight of homosexuals in the region is directed solely at cases of mistreatment of gay men (lesbians go unmentioned, of course) by Palestinian authorities, all of which are presented anectodally.

What TNR fails to mention is the not-so-different treatment of gay men in, among many other countries, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, China, South Korea, India, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Cuba, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Pakistan, most of Africa and the Middle East, as well as parts of Russia, the Ukraine, the Republic of China, Mexico, Turkey, Colombia, Peru, and the Bahamas.

And of course TNR leaves unmentioned the rabidly deranged and disturbed remarks of the leaders of the major Orthodox Jewish parties in Israel, many of whom participate in the current government or have been coalition members in the past, who do not share the magazine’s limited concern with the well-being of gays, whether Jewish or Palestianian. Nor does Peretz’s most useful wedding gift make note of similar hateful anti-gay comments made by Orthodox and Conservative Jewish leaders -- and editors of, and writers in, “mainstream” Jewish publications -- here in the U.S.

Funny, that.

Somehow the whole thing smells sleazy and opportunistic to us.

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