Tags: israel | jerusalem day | pride | parades

Pride and Liberation: A Tale of Two Parades

Pride and Liberation: A Tale of Two Parades
Israelis, including a large contingent of Jewish religious nationalists, gather outside Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem on June 2, 2019 to mark Jerusalem Day. Jerusalem Day commemorates Israel's capture of the holy city's mainly Palestinian eastern sector in the 1967 Six-Day War. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

By Wednesday, 05 June 2019 12:58 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Earlier this week, Jerusalem Day was celebrated in Israel.

A highlight of the festivities was the Dance of Flags. Thousands of men, women, yeshiva students, pre-military academy students and people from every religious stream converged on the Western Wall to celebrate the liberation of Jerusalem. Israel's capital city turned a resplendent blue and white to mark the Six-Day War, a logic-defying military operation that's taught in air force academies around the world.

Miracle? God only knows. Parade-worthy feat? Most definitely.

Later this week, my fair Jerusalem will be holding another parade.

That's right, we've mastered the art of distraction, sprinkling flags and glitter over growing piles of trash in a city where nearly 40% of families are considered poor. Roman emperors used chariot races and gladiatorial games to pull the wool over their subjects' eyes. Today, Jerusalem's city elders put on parades, marathons, bicycling events and even a Formula One race to project an image that belies some harsh realities.

But I digress…

On Thursday, Jerusalem will put on its annual Pride Parade.

The LGBT community will have an opportunity to display its confidence and self-respect. This is portrayed by event organizers as a celebration, a coming together of the entire gay community — from all sectors, faiths, backgrounds, identities, and genders. What can be more inspiring than witnessing a socially marginalized group marching in unison, striving with every step towards equal rights, liberty, and personal security?

But the very concept of gay pride is curious. We attach feelings of pride to things we have accomplished. Or, we take pride in the accomplishments of friends and family. Sometimes, we're proud of well-fought failures. I washed out of law school after a hard year of endless study and constant effort. These efforts were for naught, except for the feeling of pride I took with me: I didn’t go down without a fight.

This is why I'm confused by the term 'gay pride.' The concept attaches virtue to a trait that most people believe is largely innate: sexuality. I'm not proud of being heterosexual since I never had to strive to be straight. Pride that isn't the result of effort, the constant striving to improve both personally, professionally, and as a member of society, paves the way to unchecked ego — the single greatest enemy to growth.

When I leave the surly bonds of earth, friends and family will gather and reflect on the man, husband, brother, son, friend, and citizen I was. Was I kind? Patient? Magnanimous? Wise? Brave? A role model? The answers to these questions most assuredly won't be: "He was all those things and more. After all, he was a heterosexual."

No, I will be judged by the sum total of my successes, failures, virtues, and vices. If I made my loved ones proud, it will have been because of my actions and values. Our virtues are developed over our lifetimes, they're not genetic entitlements.

Parades are public processions that aim to bring people from very different walks of life together around a central theme, a common goal, a common challenge. Jerusalem Day celebrates a national triumph, a victory against all odds brought about by the brave actions of men and women of every ethnic background, religious affiliation, and sexual orientation.

Jerusalem's Gay Pride Parade however divides this astonishingly diverse city into two camps: members of a politicized LGBT community and everyone else.

This is what can happen when people define themselves primarily by their sexuality or any other genetic characteristic. Instead of engaging in broad-based conversations about how to improve the lives of Jerusalem's residents, agenda-driven leaders of the LGBT community use buzzwords like 'equal rights,' 'liberty', 'personal security' and 'protection' to push a narrow political agenda.

In a free society, any and all citizens have the right to assemble and air grievances in a peaceful manner. But let’s be clear: the Gay Pride event taking place Thursday, despite the lofty terminology, is nothing more and nothing less than a political protest.

If the city of Jerusalem seeks to bring its denizens together under an umbrella of common aspirations, they should consider spending more time on organizing and investing in events that unite, not sow division. Jerusalem’s men, women, and children would be better served if parades for educational reform, urban renewal, greater job opportunities, and against poverty became the order of the day.

This would be an accomplishment that the entire city of Jerusalem could take pride in.

Gidon Ben-Zvi, former Jerusalem Correspondent for the Algemeiner newspaper, is an accomplished writer who left behind Hollywood starlight for Jerusalem stone in 2009. After serving in an Israel Defense Forces infantry unit from 1994-1997, Ben-Zvi returned to the United States before settling in Israel, where he and his wife are raising their four children to speak fluent English – with an Israeli accent. Ben-Zvi's work has appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, the Algemeiner, American Thinker, the Jewish Journal, Israel Hayom, and United with Israel. Ben-Zvi blogs at Jerusalem State of Mind (jsmstateofmind.com). For more of his reports —Click Here Now.

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Earlier this week, Jerusalem Day was celebrated in Israel.
israel, jerusalem day, pride, parades
Wednesday, 05 June 2019 12:58 PM
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