Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Hamas, ISIS and Iran kill Gays like me

NEW YORK – Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, executive director of This World: The Values Network, and Israel advocacy group Stand With Us have taken out a full page ad in The New York Times this week exposing the repression and persecution of LGBT communities throughout the Middle East

The text of the ad follows, via  Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
My name is Rennick Remley. I’m a gay American. And I support Israel.

If I lived in Gaza or Israel’s neighboring states, I would be thrown in jail, mutilated or killed.

Though I am not Jewish, Israel is the only country in the Middle East where I can live without fear. I am free to adopt children, serve openly in the military, advocate for my community’s rights and be accepted as a human being.

I visited Israel and marched with thousands of people from around the globe in Jerusalem’s Gay Pride parade, and all were treated with dignity. The freedom I experienced made me feel at home.

That’s why I’m appalled that so many in the Western world – including the media, Hollywood, and self-proclaimed human rights activists – fail to hold terrorist organizations like Hamas and autocratic governments like Iran accountable for their persecution of LGBT communities.

Have you no decency?

Hamas calls homosexuals subhuman, accusing us of engaging in a “filthy practice” that is punishable by death.

It’s not an empty threat. Gay Palestinians have been tortured and killed. That’s why many gay Palestinian men risk their lives to cross the border and seek refuge in Israel.
If I lived in Iran, or under Hamas’ ideological cousin ISIS, chances are you’d be seeing my picture.

Not in this ad, but hanging from a crane in a public square. That’s a regular practice against gay men by the Iranian regime.

The only way for gays to avoid persecution in Iran is to undergo a forced sex change operation.

To those who scapegoat Israel while pretending to care about human rights yet remain silent about the oppression and violence Hamas, Iran and other Middle East countries inflict on the gay community:

Shame on you. You are letting them murder us, literally.

Your misguided actions ensure that LGBT people in the Middle East continue to live in hiding under constant threat of violent death.

It’s time to hold oppressive dictators and religious fanatics accountable for their homophobia and violence against LGBT communities.

As a nation that respects the rights and humanity of every citizen, Israel is a model for the rest of the region. Speak up for Israel. You don’t have to be Jewish to love the only democracy in the Middle East.

Join the fight for justice and human rights in the Middle East at, and

In Israel, I am free.

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