PHOTOS: LGBTs, Protestors Attend Celebrate Israel Parade

On Sunday, members of the LGBT community marched in New York City’s Celebrate Israel parade for the first time in the event’s 48-year history.

It’s a big change from 1993, when the LGBT synagogue Congregation Beit Simchat Torah was banned from the parade after school groups threatened a boycott.

More than 100 marchers, including members of CBST and JQ Youth joined the march. “There was no heckling or booing. It just didn’t matter,” says Jayson Littman, the founder of the Jewish gay social group he’bro, who joked the organizers of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade could learn a lesson. “The Jewish community has made great strides in understanding the diversity within their community, but at this parade they included us too. That’s history.”

Not everyone at the event was thrilled with the Land of Milk and Honey, though: Members of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA) were on hand protesting Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and the country’s current pro-LGBT publicity blitz. “The Israeli government’s ‘Brand Israel’ PR campaign tries to sell a twisted message: Israel supports gay rights, so you must support Israel—you can’t oppose Israeli violence against Palestinians,” said QAIA’s Emmaia Gelman. “What a disgusting abuse of the LGBT community.”

There’s no doubt a place for criticism, but there’s also difference between celebrating a community and the actions of their government—a distinction Americans, of all people, are pretty clear on. “I think it would have been more effective for the QAIA to celebrate this inclusionary effort, rather than protesting it,” says Littman.

Photos: Robert J. Saferstein, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #goods #israel #newyork stories and more


  • Myles MacLean

    Israel is such a good role model for gay people everywhere.Why just last week the Knesset rejected any possible consideration of marriage for gays.
    Are you not aware that Palestinians,who happen to be gay are also routinely rejected as refugees by this apartheid state.
    Let us sit back and enjoy the fun that would come if gay people even walk down the street in most areas of Jerusalem.
    American gays have a really great friend here.
    Celebrate this open society.Celebrate Netanyahu and his pink-washing.

  • Kev C

    Palestinians should do more pinkwashing. Stoning the homos just isn’t gay friendly.

  • Clueless

    I find it hard not to support Israel considering it’s the only democratic state in the whole region (not to mention gay-friendly). However I think No.1 makes a very valid point… there are many problems, but why should we subject Israel to the sort of Western criteria that we don’t apply to its neighbors ?

  • Charles The Great

    When will the Palestinian National Authority protect the rights of LGBT who are their own people then? When will they allow a Pride Week? Is Hamas in Gaza going to do the same?

  • Joseph Shapiro

    The report that there was “no booing or heckling” is not accurate. I was confronted by Ultra-Orthodox hecklers along the way, as were others.

  • Charles The Great

    and why would the Queers Against Israeli Apartheid would not like this? Wait Palestinian Authority and Hamas bans this in Gaza and the West Bank. Queers Against Israeli Apartheid are the real pinkwashers where. I guess they can not stand the fact that Palestinian Authority and Hamas bans this kind of activity. Oh Well! maybe the Queers Against Israeli Apartheid should go to Gaza and the West Bank and demand Palestinian Authority and Hamas to give Palestinian LGBTs equal rights and allow them to have a Pride event. No! No! they blame Israel for all this of course

  • Charles The Great

    The Queers Against Israeli Apartheid would not like this? Wait Palestinian Authority and Hamas bans this in Gaza and the West Bank. Queers Against Israeli Apartheid are the real pinkwashers where.

  • Mary

    They should all stay in New York then stealing other people land

  • Ryan

    Interesting but not surprising that the Salute to Israel parade didn’t get the kind of negative publicity from the newsmedia for excluding gays that the St Patrick’s Day parade has received for years. When are we going to see gay Puerto Rican groups marching proudly in the Puerto Rican Day parade? Or gay Italians marching in the Columbus Day parade? Or a gay group marching in the Thanksgiving Day parade?

  • Cam

    @Myles MacLean: said…

    “Israel is such a good role model for gay people everywhere.Why just last week the Knesset rejected any possible consideration of marriage for gays.
    Are you not aware that Palestinians,who happen to be gay are also routinely rejected as refugees by this apartheid state.”

    1. You’re a liar, and homosexuality is one of the reasons refugees are accepted into Israel.

    2. Gay Adoption and foreign marriages are legal there.

    3. You support countries that kill gays and attack a country that gives us rights. You are an anti-gay bigot.

  • Matt

    Israel is not a good country and yes Jews and people from Israel are homophobic. The way Israelis treat Palestinians is hypocritical to say the least.

  • Dame

    Why am I feeling like some of those pictures are photoshopped???

  • Myles MacLean

    My dear Cam,is your reading ability as stunted as your reasoning?
    Read Haaretz,any day,and you will receive knowledge about the events and decisions made by the people and government of Israel.The lies you so eloquently state,all happen to be in your head.
    Go to visit Israel or Palestine as a gay person and see for yourself how the I.D.F. treats you.Go with any gay Palestinian and hear their story about their rejection as refugees.
    Those no-go areas in Jerusalem are backed and supported by Shas,one of the parties backing “BEBE” and his government.Pick any neighbourhood and take a walk.I dare you.
    Cam,I have a very difficult time accepting that you could possibly be gay.Most gay people have their eyes opened to the truth at a very early age.
    Perhaps you are just one more of the Quislings from Go-Proud.You might also be just another troll who goes to gay websites to stir the shit.
    Your friend,

  • Martin

    @Myles MacLean: If a whole country should suffer for the acts misdeeds of historical or contemporary leaders or subpopulations of thos country, THEN WHERE WOULD US OF A BE, PAL???
    You nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki when Japan was no longer any threat… Your latest President set aside all principles of justice and humanity when introduced torture and secret CIA prisons. Your armed forces commited Abu Ghraib human rights violations and napalm bombed Vietnam.

    Does that make everything American evil? Does it make you evil?

    You answer these questions

    Your friend

  • Damon

    I agree Myles, Israel is notoriously against Palestinians treating them like subhumans and Israel is NOT for LGBT rights at all.

  • Mary

    Move them all back to New York and they can have thier ‘state’ there

  • Mordechai levovitz

    Why LGBT participation in the Israel Day Parade is not “Pink Washing”:
    Huffington Post
    huffingtonpost. com/mordechai-levovitz/gay-jews-march-first-time-celebrate-israel-parade_b_1570861.html

  • VivaG

    @Mary: Do you really want the Arab Palestinians to host your parade? Do you want to see how Hamas hang LGBT participants in the square of Gaza?

  • Kevin

    A LOT of Jews can be very ra_cist and against LGBT people too.

    I worked with a Jewish man who ignorantly said, “Florida used to be for the Jews but now there are way too many Latinos there!” *facepalm*

    I’ve met many Jews who are highly ra_cist towards blacks.

    I have also met a lot of Jews even the so called “reform” Jews who thought nothing of calling gay and bisexual men [email protected] and who are not for LGBT people’s equality at all.

  • Matt

    Mordechai levovitz of course you’re not going to claim that this is somehow not Pinkwashing.

  • Kev C

    The problem is that the radical Left, many of the progressive left, are not just anti-Israel but anti-gay. Columbia University liberals, Pacifica activists, the Occupy movement, George Galloway, are serving an anti-gay agenda where the safety and security of LGBTs around the world is not important .. unless it furthers some unrelated left-wing goal. In the latter case, the Left would prefer for LGBT blood to be spilled as a rallying cry, as PR, as political theater for unrelated leftist goals.

  • rick

    Israel is gross. So many double standards and so much apartheid. I’ve been.

  • Charles The Great

    @rick: Really? So why doesn’t the Palestinian Authority and Hamas government in Gaza advance LGBT rights? I think they will not since they seem not to care of the well being of their own people and this also is LGBT Rights. Also Maybe the QuAIA should tell this to them.

    Also what Apartheid? Everyone in Israel is equal under the law, everyone can vote, there are no segregation, Hmmmmm. I guess it Apartheid since Israel is a rich capitalist economy (things the left hates) and does not murder their own people like Assad(who regime is a Apartheid system)

    I wonder what parts of Canada’s Indian act they copied? South Africa used it to create their Apartheid but of course this ignored by the leftist

  • Charles The Great

    @Kev C: Ken but even groups like the QuAIA just love everything you said sadly.

  • Kev C

    @Charles The Great: I doubt it. But it’s not really a gay issue. It’s an Israel vs Palestinian issue, with gays being used as PR pawns by both sides. The pro-israel side has issued nationalistic pamphlets touting gay-rights and sexy gay tourism. While the pro-palestinian side has coined words, opened websites, organized protests and endangered the safety of LGBTs.

  • Will

    Rick I agree. It’s true Israel does practise Apartheid.

  • BB

    @Will: and you just say it and how does this event in New York have anything to do with it

  • B

    No. 23 · Charles The Great · wrote, “Also what Apartheid? Everyone in Israel is equal under the law, everyone can vote, there are no segregation,”

    The issue is not how Israeli citizens are treated but how non-citizens living in the occupied territories (e.g., the West Bank region) are treated. They obviously have fewer rights – they can’t even set their own zoning regulations to stop construction of Israeli settlements. It’s been going on for over 40 years. At some point, you have to start asking for one of two outcomes – either give the Palestinians living in the occupied territories full control over their territory, or give them the full rights of Israeli citizens. Otherwise you can’t really call yourself a democracy.

    It’s not that I or anyone I know would want to live under a Palestinian government, but that doesn’t mean they should be permanently occupied without having the same rights as their occupiers.

  • Charmen

    Israel offered the Palestinians 97% of the West bank, 100% of Gaza and $30 billion dollars t for their “refugees” at camp David, and Arafat said No. A similar offer was made at Taba- still no. Israel’s Prime minister Olmert just a few years ago repeated the offer. Still no.

    So when will the palestinians say yes to Peace?

    Its not about the settlements- the palestinians and their supporters aren’t interested in a state for the jewish people within any borders.

  • Mary

    Jews have New York

  • Ken

    Typical leftist spin. Israel is one of the most pro LBGT societies in the world. They have a gay pride parade for g-ds sake. Try being open on the streets of Cairo. Better yet, take a vacation in Saudi Arabia, and you can report back.

    The left doesn’t mention Syria, or the intolerance and discrimination throughout the middle east. And who is funding the boycott Israel movement?; the same groups that are intolerant of homosexuality.

  • Amos


    Why does Israel’s pro-LGBT status justify the heinous atrocities they are committing in Palestine?

    If we hypothetically assumed Syria was pro-LGBT, would that justify their repression of their own citizens? So why does it justify Israel’s repression of others?

    We should be against ALL forms of injustice, and racist government policies and occupations should NOT be excused simply because a country is “pro-LGBT”.

Comments are closed.