WorldPride criticises anti gay Jerusalem conference

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The organisers of this year’s WorldPride in Jerusalem have criticised a conference set up in the Holy City which promised violence to stop the parade from going ahead.

Israelis, Arabs, and Palestinians came together in Jerusalem to voice disapproval of the march.

Arab-Israeli sheik and MK Ibrahim Sarsur, said: “If they (gays) will dare to approach the Temple Mount during the parade, they will do so over our dead bodies.

“The Gay Pride Parade is an attack on Jerusalem that aims to damage the Islamic identity of young Arabs in the city.”

The event was set-up by American Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who is also planning a similar conference nearer the event.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, North American co chair of Jerusalem WorldPride said: “I am both outraged and saddened by American Rabbi Yehuda Levin’s efforts to undermine and threaten WorldPride, its organisers and participants.

“Levin’s use of religion as a weapon of bigotry and violence is offensive to all who care about God and religion and morality. He blasphemer’s God’s name when he says that Jerusalem does not belong to all of us. Yehuda’s organising of a Jerusalem conference attended by both Jewish and Arab religious leaders, expressing their violence and hate riddled objections to holding WorldPride in Jerusalem, should be offensive to all people of faith and those who believe in free expression and diversity.

“His comments, along with those of two leading Muslim religious leaders, Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi and Sheikh Hamad Bitawi, clearly and bluntly advocated violence against LGBT people and are despicable and dangerous. Who are they to claim Jerusalem as only for those who agree with their divisive and bigoted views? These so-called “religious leaders” are the true disgrace to the true spirit of our diverse faiths.

“Advocating violence goes against every holy principal we hold dear as Jews, in solidarity with millions of Christian, Muslims and people of diverse faiths.

“Jerusalem was chosen as the site for WorldPride because it represents a centre of tolerance, pluralism, and love for all humanity. The thousands of WorldPride participants, from Israel and all over the world and of diverse faiths – will be the best answer to Levin’s display of intolerance and unholy values.

“My participation in the historic multifaith convocation, the first ever to take place at WorldPride, will include religious leaders from the gay and allied communities joined together in mutual respect, not brought together in hate as Levin has done. Muslims, Jews, and Christians will come together in a display of a religious voice that respects all human beings who were created in God’s image, and obligated to universal values of respect and love.”

Meanwhile last week Israeli politician, Otniel Schneller, of Israel’s strongest coalition, Kadima party said planned visits by gay groups would turn the Knesset (parliament) into “Sodom and Gomorrah.”