Omar’s response to Palestinian LGBT crackdown in West Bank is telling

(FILE PHOTO by video screenshot)

On around Monday, the same day that anti-Semitic Muslim Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib held a press conference to spout even more anti-Semitic rhetoric about Israel and its alleged mistreatment of the allegedly “oppressed” Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority instituted a crackdown on a gay rights group in the West Bank.

And in response to this crackdown, the Muslim congresswomen appeared to quadruple down on their anti-Semitism.

“Palestinian police have banned events organized by the LGBTQ rights organization alQaws because they go against ‘traditional Palestinian values,'” NBC News reported Monday.

“The statement from the Palestinian police announcing the ban came after alQaws held an event in Nablus, a city in the northern West Bank, in early August. The organization had plans to hold another event there at the end of the month. Police said Sunday they would ‘pursue this gathering’ and seek charges against anyone involved in it.”

While the congresswomen initially said nothing about this draconian and genuinely oppressive move, Omar was eventually forced into responding after being hit with criticism. But instead of excoriating the Palestinian Authority, she attacked Israel again.

Look:

Pretending that this act somehow balances or mitigates Israel violating the dignity & rights of Palestinians — or undermines case for defending Palestinian rights — is deplorable,” she tweeted.

AlQaws, the gay rights group that was targeted by the Palestinian Authority, subsequently came to her defense, saying in a lengthy statement that Israel is the true culprit.

Colonialism, patriarchy & homophobia are all connected forms of oppression. Singling out incidents of homophobia in Palestinian society ignores the complexities of Israel’s colonization & military occupation being a contributing factor to Palestinian LGBTQ oppression,” the group said.

The group added that claims that the Palestinian territories are oppressive states while Israel is, in reality, “a liberal state that protects LGBTQ rights is counter-productive and factually baseless.”

Omar’s remarks were not well-received, in part because they contained no clear-cut condemnation of the Palestinian Authority:

Moreover, the fact remains that — outside of the Palestinian territories, which are governed by a separate entity — Israel offers the only bastion for gays in all of the Middle East.

“Israel is the only Middle-Eastern country to support gay rights legislation, and the country attracts gay people from Palestine and Lebanon,” The Independent reported in 2008. “Tel Aviv has a growing scene and is tolerant and gay-friendly for both men and women.”

This means that gay Palestinians — whom Omar and alQaws both claim are being oppressed by Israel — were fleeing the Palestinian territories to acquire genuine freedom in Israel, which Omar, Tlaib and alQaws argue is an oppressive state.

Is this still true 10 years later? Yes, according to journalist Mark Segal, one of the original founders of the Gay Liberation Front.

“I don’t support the call for a boycott of Israel for a number of reasons,” he wrote in a column earlier this month. “Those calling for the boycott seem to be supporting people who embrace genocide of the LGBTQ community in Gaza and honor killings in the West Bank. LGBTQ people literally have to escape the region to save their lives. Many of them flee to Israel.”

“How bad is it? The grandson of Hamas founder/leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef, Mosab Hassan Yousef, had to escape, worried that he, too, would be executed. Yes, he’s a gay man, and he is worried that his father would kill him in an honor killing. His father gave an interview where he clearly stated that if his son returned, he’d face Islamic justice. Even being the son of a leader is not a pass to be gay.”

It’s unclear whether Omar and Tlaib — both of whom are ardent advocates of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — are aware of these realities. While Tlaib is Palestinian by ancestry, she was born in the states, so it’s unclear whether she even understands what life among the Palestinians actually looks and feels like.

As of Wednesday morning, Tlaib had not yet directly responded to the Palestinian Authority’s crackdown, though she did retweet alQaws’ factually inaccurate statement about Israel.

Meanwhile, just last Friday, Israel held one of the largest pride parades in the world.

“Some 250,000 people turned up for Tel Aviv Pride on Friday afternoon, with the parade showcasing 14 floats with people celebrating their sexuality,” The Jerusalem Post reported.

“Voted the world’s ‘Best Gay City’ by GayCities.com and ‘The Most Gay-Friendly City in the World’ by Wow Travel, Tel Aviv’s Pride parade is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading LGBTQ events, attracting thousands of visitors from around the globe.”

Fact-check: TRUE.

See scenes from the parade below (*Language warning):

 

Vivek Saxena

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