International gay community snub WorldPride opposition

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Jerusalem Open House (JOH), the organisers of WorldPride Jerusalem, ridiculed anti-gay protesters who tried to sabotage a youth conference at the Israeli Parliament today, as the international gay event overcame violence in the region to proceed with events and conferences.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth were invited by Member of the Knesset Sheli Yehimovitch, Chair of the Knesset Committee for Children, to inform her of the problems and challenges that LGBT youth confront on a daily basis.

Despite a call by various right wing groups for a demonstration against WorldPride today at the Knesset, JOH chair, Noa Sattath quipped that the pathetic turnout of less than 10 people to protest against WorldPride needs no further comment.

JOH’s Hagai El-Ad told “We intend to respond to all protestors in a peaceful yet visible and proud manner. We will not break, not be silent, and we will fight against the dirty waves of hatred, incitement, and prejudice in response to our gathering in Jerusalem.”

JOH (JOH) won several legal victories in the past year against the city of Jerusalem in Israel, one secured their legal right to hold WorldPride in Jerusalem, another secured 350,000 shekels (the equivalent of about US$77,000) in municipal funds to help fund the event.

WorldPride highlights this week include an LGBT Clergy Multifaith Convocation: “Reclaiming Our Faith and Our Heritage,” a protest highlighting anti-gay incitement and hate campaigns targeting lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people, and conferences on gay youth, human rights and health.

There will also be a Solidarity Rally at the Jerusalem Separation Wall (“Divided City – One Community.”) This solidarity rally at the Jerusalem Separation Wall addresses the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

WorldPride events take place until August 11 2006.