Is Israel Reforming the Muslim Middle East? Impossible According to The NY Times

The New York Times has been advancing the notion that liberal values are popping up in the Middle East. Despite the actual murder and mayhem brought by the “Arab Spring,” the Times published articles about the advancement of women’s rights in Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as the acceptance of the gay and lesbian communities in Lebanon.

These recent phenomena may be true, but it is interesting that Israel is never mentioned in the articles – the one country that has equality for women and the LGBT community.

LGBT Rights

Consider the December 31, 2017 article “Coming Out in Lebanon, and Helping it to be More Tolerant.” The article detailed that most of the countries in the Middle East have laws punishing homosexual activity, naming several Arab countries before highlighting the unique position of Lebanon:

Throughout the Middle East, gay, lesbian and transgender people face formidable obstacles to living a life of openness and acceptance in conservative societies.

Although Jordan decriminalized same-sex behavior in 1951, the gay community remains marginalized. Qatar, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen all outlaw same-sex relations. In Saudi Arabia, homosexuality can be punished by flogging or death.

In Egypt, at least 76 people have been arrested in a crackdown since September, when a fan waved a rainbow flag during a concert by Masrou’ Leila, a Lebanese band with an openly gay singer.

If there is one exception, it has been Lebanon. While the law can still penalize homosexual acts, the society has slowly grown more tolerant as activists have worked for more rights and visibility.”

This is preposterous. The “one exception” of tolerance “throughout the Middle East” is Israel, not Lebanon.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) produced detailed reports about the countries of the world that  protect or criminalize LGBT relationships. In every year, Israel stands out as an island of acceptance for the LGBT community for thousands of miles.

From Morocco to Taiwan and from South Africa to Russia, there is a single country that has laws protecting the LGBT community. And it is not Lebanon, but Israel.


The New York Times December 31, 2017 article on page 10 claiming that Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East with gay rights.

Women’s Rights

On December 29, 2017, the New York Times published an article on its cover page called “Unlikely Iranian-Saudi Race: Easing Restrictions on Women.” The article advanced the notion that Iran and Saudi Arabia are both slowly easing restrictions on women in their countries in a competitive environment of liberalization. Saudi Arabia changed laws allowing women to drive, so Iran eased the law regarding women wearing a hijab.

The article quoted “Suad Abu-Dayyeh, a Palestinian who is the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) consultant for Equality Now, a global women’s advocacy group.” The article noted that “she was cautious about concluding that the changes in Iran were related to the Saudi relaxation,” but she did state that “any advancement in any country will really affect the situation in the neighboring countries.

And still, the New York Times did not mention Israel which leads the MENA region in women’s rights.

If the Times really believed in the concept that it opted to cite, that the activity in one country could influence the actions in neighboring countries, why not mention the country that leads the entire region in human rights, especially for women and the LGBT communities? Is it too remarkable to assume that the countries in the region are trying to catch up with Israel, whether in technology, the economy or human rights? Saudi Arabia announced its Vision 2030 plans just a few months ago, as noted by the NY Times on October 25, 2017, that the country needed to move beyond oil into technology. Are all of these events regarding the economy and human rights simply coincidences with no relationship to the marvel of Israel next door?

In the closing days of 2017, the Times sought to educate its readership that the Muslim and Arab countries are in the process of liberal reformation – on their own. The paper did so while deliberately excluding the factual presence of Israel in the Middle East and its possible positive influence of reforming the Muslim nations in the region.

The New York Times has moved beyond the “pinkwashing” of Israel into new levels of #AlternativeFacts.


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The Color Coded Lexicon of Israel’s Bigotry: It’s not Just PinkWashing

I’m Offended, You’re Dead

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Honor Killings in Gaza

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Weddings are Religious Affairs

On December 5, 2017, the United States Supreme Court will hear a case, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.  The court will decide whether a baker has the right as a matter of religious freedom to not create a customized wedding cake for a homosexual couple, or whether turning down such clients is a matter of discrimination against gays.

Colorado baker Jack Phillips

The case will have Americans confront an issue that it has been pressing in the wrong direction for many years: the government should have NO ROLE in weddings, even while it maintains documents on marriages. The government should limit its involvement to a single legal document as to the selection of a civil partner and no more.

Judeo-Christian Society versus Freedom of Religion

American politicians have long stated that the country’s laws were based on the ethics and morals of Judeo-Christian teachings. But while American laws were established with such inspiration, a fundamental principle of American society is the separation of church and state. Nothing can be made more clear than the very first amendment in the Bill of Rights:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The core of this amendment is that US laws cannot infringe on a person’s practice of their religion.

Religious Limits on Marriage

There are some laws found in the Bible that limit certain relationships, including bans on incest and homosexuality. For the first two centuries of America’s existence, the law of the land followed the Judeo-Christian ban on these two marriages. However, due to American society’s more accepting attitude towards homosexual relationships, the Supreme Court ruled that states could not prohibit gay marriages in June 2015. The ban on marriages between family members still remain.

The US lawsuit that brought about the legalization of marriage was filed because of American law that prevented the plaintiff, Jim Obergefell, from putting his name on the death certificate of his late husband. He was completely correct in being outraged that US law prevented him from doing so.

But our society has been making the wrong arguments in its defense of gay marriage, in advancing a bad set of arguments forcing a baker to create a cake against his religious sensibilities.

Religious Ceremonies versus Civil Documents

The US legal system uses many civil documents, including birth certificates, death certificates and marriage certificates. They are simple legal notices that must be filed to keep an appropriate record of people in the United States.

Anyone should be free to fill out these documents in a manner that fits their personal beliefs without ANY intervention by the government. That means that the government cannot object to someone naming their child Mohammed any more than two women filing a marriage certificate. (The government should also be prohibited from banning a civil union between siblings or close family members, which it still does).

Put simply, it should not be up to the government to put its Judeo-Christian founding above the principle of a separation of church and state.

In a similar vein, the government should not be able to infringe on people’s practice of religion.

Just as the government should not be allowed to ban the practice of circumcision (the Jewish custom of a bris when the boy is eight days old), it cannot interfere in a wedding ceremony.

Bris/Baptism/Wedding versus Civil Documents

There are certain life events that are religious in nature, where the participants use a priest or rabbi to officiate the ceremony. They often hold the event in a church or synagogue and invoke God’s name and recite prayers. Baptisms and weddings are such occasions.

US laws do not much care about the nature of the religious ceremony. While a priest may declare the couple to be man-and-wife, the legal system still requires a civil marriage certificate to be filed. It is that legal document that falls under the government’s purview, not the wedding itself.

Similarly, a rabbi may name a child in the synagogue at a child’s bris. But the parents must still fill out paperwork in the courts declaring the child’s legal name.

Ceremony and Party Participants

Should everyone be compelled to participate at a bris? Of course not. A photographer should not be compelled to take pictures at a bris just because she takes pictures at baptisms.

Should a baker be forced to design a custom wedding cake for homosexuals or an incestuous couple which goes against his religious beliefs? Absolutely not. It is every vendor’s right to not actively engage in a religious service to which he doesn’t subscribe.

In the case of Masterpiece Cake, the baker made clear that he would sell any ready made item in the store to any person who walked in, regardless of sexual orientation. However, Colorado law compelled him to design and create a cake against his religious beliefs. While that activity does not reach the level of a priest officiating the ceremony, it stands well above the electric company’s providing power to the event. The latter is “blind” to the religious ceremony, and the activity would be identical if the event were a convention. The baker crafts his cake for the ceremony.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom: “no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.” The converse is just as true, that no person should be compelled to violate their religious beliefs.

To actively compel a person to engage in a religious practice – and a wedding ceremony is a religious practice – is wrong. And overturning the Masterpiece Cake Colorado ruling would have no impact on homosexual couples filing for government-approved civil unions.

It is time to clearly delineate between religious ceremonies and legal documents, and to give both gay people and those that have religious objections to gay marriage the freedoms they all deserve.


Related First.One.Through article:

The Baker and Government Doth Protest Too Much

Leading Gay Activists Hate Religious Children

Black People are Homophobic

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Black People are Homophobic

There is a lot of back-and-forth about whether-and-why black people are more homophobic than white people.

One gay man took to HuffPo to say that black homophobia is a myth conjured by white people because of “society’s disproportional expectations of racial masculinity through pillars of class and privilege.” Quite a mouthful that there’s a false impression that rich white people are OK with homosexuality, and that poor black people aren’t because they are all about “hyper-masculine figures of sexuality, athleticism, and aggression.

But the statistics speak for themselves.

In September 2017, the FBI released its 2016 Crime Statistics which broke out hate crimes. The raw data spoke to the fact that racism – and against black people in particular – continued to be the most common form of hate crime in the United States. But breaking down the data by proportionality, revealed a great deal about the likelihood of any group to commit a hate crime.

According to the US Census information, white people accounted for 76.9% of Americans and blacks accounted for 13.3% in 2016. That meant that there were 5.78 times more white people in the United States than black people. If an average white person and average black person were just as likely to commit a hate crime, one would expect to see a similar ratio of attacks.

Hate Crimes around Religion

The FBI listed 156 and 34 attacks against Jews by whites and blacks, respectively. That meant that white people committed 4.6 times more attacks than black people, lower than the expected 5.78 times. That suggested that an average black person was 25% more likely to commit an anti-Semitic attack than an average white person.

For Muslim attacks, the statistics were more dramatic, with 135 and 49 attacks by whites and blacks, respectively. With whites attacks being only 2.8 times the number of attacks by blacks, it suggested that an average black person was more than TWICE as likely to commit an anti-Islamic attack.

Hate Crimes around Gender and Sexuality

The frequency of hate crimes by black people was even more stark in matters of gender and sexuality.

In 2016, there were 414 and 326 attacks, respectively, by whites and blacks regarding people’s sexual orientation. The nominal gap between the numbers implied that an average black person was four times more likely to attack someone in the LGBT community.

When it came to gender identity, the numbers were even more staggering, with 30 and 57 attacks by whites and blacks, respectively. The average black person was 10 TIMES more likely than a white person to commit a hate crime based on gender identity.

These statistics are dramatic, and cannot be dismissed by black anger or white privilege. Articles such as the one in Black Enterprise magazine entitled “Black Homophobia Is Rooted in the Struggle Against White Supremacy,” that call for “avoid[ing] amplifying the false narrative that black people are disproportionately or egregiously homophobic,” is patently false.

Real solutions come from looking at real facts, then attempting to understand the situation and developing a strategy. Spinning a narrative that is politically correct that denies reality will not help create solutions for a peaceful planet.


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If a Black Muslim Cop Kills a White Woman, Does it Make a Sound?

Leading Gay Activists Hate Religious Children

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The Gender Diamonds

How does one label bathrooms for 30+ gender identities?

Bathrooms

For thousands of years, the world operated on the premise that there were only two genders: male and female. Then the 21st century came along.

As a matter of modesty, various societies separated the two genders in various matters such as education, and most frequently, for private matters such as using the bathroom or locker room.

Bathrooms typically used language to denote the appropriate room for people to enter, such as “Men,” “Boys” or “Gentlemen” for males and “Women,” “Girls” or “Ladies” for females. Some decades ago, to address language barriers, many places began adding linear stick figures for men, and a stick figure which seemingly had a skirt or dress for women.

Liberal societies soon challenged those stereotypes. Is a woman defined by wearing a skirt while many females wear pants? Does a man stop being a man if he dons a dress? The liberal advance pushed for more general symbols to replace the stick figures. Circles were used to represent women and triangles were rolled out to denote men’s rooms. Why these shapes? It is unclear. But the migration to circles and triangles has been taken over.

The question now remains of what to do with the newly minted dozens of gender types that municipalities have started to recognize.

International Federation of Red Cross and
Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

For almost 60 years, the IFRC refused to admit the Israeli emergency group, the Red Magen David to its ranks because Israel insisted on using the Jewish Star of David instead of a Christian cross or Islamic crescent as its logo. It took several years of United States pressure – including withholding dues – for the IFRC to admit Israel in 2006.

But the IFRC still refused to allow Israel to use its Star of David.

Muslim countries originally offered the excuse of barring Israel’s entry because they objected to Israel’s control of land it captured in the 1967 Six Day War (they could not remember why they objected to admitting the organization in the many decades that preceded the war). Christian countries objected to including the Jewish Star as there were many other religious countries (such as Buddhist Thailand) which would create a confusing string of logos.

A compromise was reached in 2006 in which all countries that did not want to use the cross or crescent could opt to use a crystal / diamond.

Perhaps that will become the official symbol of all non-dominant actors such as non-males and non-females in bathrooms: a diamond which conveys the mass of minorities, the “Others.”

If and when the world adopts the bucket diamond category, will the world similarly be dismissive and persecute the diamonds outside of the dominant genders, the same way that the world attacks the only Jewish State?


Related First.One.Through articles:

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Israel, the Liberal Country of the Middle East

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Leading Gay Activists Hate Religious Children

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The Red Cross Crosses Israel (Music by Matisyahu)

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A Deplorable Definition

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton described millions of Trump supporters as being a bunch of racists in a campaign fund-raiser in September 2016.

You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

It was quite a charge to label millions of people – all Trump supporters – as racists. Does she really think that none of her supporters are racists also?

clinton-deplorables
Hillary Clinton addressing liberals at a campaign fund raiser
September 9, 2016

There are indeed a good number of racists in the country, belonging to both political parties. But to say that there are millions of them is likely a gross over-statement, unless one uses the new “progressive” approach to labeling someone a “deplorable.”

Extending the Definition of “Racists, sexists, homophobes,
xenophobes, Islamophobes – you name it”

The last several years in American history have witnessed an amazing expansion of name-calling by the radical left, as they have sought to extend the broad parameters of inclusiveness. In particular, the “progressives” have championed two general civic courses for society to learn: self-identity and celebrating diversity.

Self-Identity

In the new “progressive” social dictionary, a person’s self-identity trumps any physical reality. Specifically, self-identity is not simply a matter of the personal definition of self, but the imposition of that position onto society, which must accept and adapt to that person’s preference.

Consider the case of Rachel Dolezal in June 2015, a white woman who headed the Spokane, WA chapter of the NAACP. She argued that she “identified as black,” and rose to become head of a local minority organization. Some progressives were happy to welcome her to the cause of black-empowerment, while others were not willing to grant her a new self-defined racial make-up, as doing so would undermine the fight against the “structures of white empowerment.” This was actually a matter of serious debate and discussion.

The case of transgender people impacted Americans on a broader scale than a local Washington group. In May 2016, the Obama administration passed a law that public schools must allow students to use restrooms of their “gender identity.” This ruling impacted millions of children in school. Young girls would now be in a position of changing in a locker room with a person who identified as a woman, even though he had XY chromosomes and male genitalia.

This was too much for wide swaths of America.

When Gov. Pat McCory of North Carolina fought to block the transgender ruling, the progressive community went on a rant that he was a homophobe and against the LGBT community. Various artists and organizations began to boycott the state in solidarity with the progressive ruling.

These days, progressives quickly label people who choose not to recognize self-identity over biology, as racists and homophobes.  Add more people to the “basket of deplorables.”

Missing the Celebration

Another way that Hillary Clinton may have been able to reach her millions of people in her “basket of deplorables” was by including people who do not “celebrate diversity” the way that she envisions.

In Clinton’s opening remarks during her second debate with Trump in October 2016 she used that phrase twice:

  • We are going to be looking for ways to celebrate our diversity
  • “we will respect one another and we will work with one another and we will celebrate our diversity

What could Clinton have had in mind?

In August 2015, a court in Colorado ruled against a bakery that would not bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The bakery owner claimed that while he would sell anything to a gay couple, making a specific “gay” wedding cake went against his Christian values. However, it seemed that the baker’s opinion went against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s 2014 ruling that dictated that he must create cakes for gay couples.

The ruling put conservatives in a rage.

Questions arose whether the bakery must also create cakes in the shape of a swastika if so ordered by a patron. Would a vegetarian store have to serve meat? A kosher store be forced to open on Saturday? A tattoo artist inscribe something they considered personally offensive?

Conservatives wanted to understand whether the line defining discrimination had moved.

If a store owner was willing to sell anything in the store to anyone who sought to purchase it regardless of race, religion, sexual preference or anything else, how can there be discrimination? To force a company or store owner to create something that is against their beliefs is a completely different hurdle.

The progressives were nonplussed. Of course the store owner should celebrate the gay wedding. To do otherwise would be homophobic.

If that case seemed too narrow and unusual, consider the case of Hobby Lobby that went to the Supreme Court in 2014. Hobby Lobby had fought for the right to not fund contraceptives in the company’s employee health coverage plans, as it offended their Christian beliefs. The court narrowly ruled in the company’s favor.

Millions of people either applauded or cursed the ruling.

Before you could blink, the progressives had minted millions of new “homophobes” and “racists” that disagreed with how to celebrate diversity.


Diversity is part of what makes America great, similar to free speech. We are a better country for having a rich tapestry of people with different backgrounds, races, religions and colors, the same way the country benefits from people having different opinions and approaches to life.

However, the same way we vigorously defend the right of free speech, we are free to disagree and ignore the views completely. As a friend of Voltaire once said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

That should be the logical approach to “celebrating diversity” as well. Every person has the liberty to do what they want with their own bodies and lives, but not to force people to endorse or promote those personal decisions.

That does not seem to be the stance of progressives regarding diversity today. They do not just simply seek a world without discrimination, they want an America that endorses and celebrates their progressive stances. Woe unto the person who didn’t cheer Caitlyn Jenner (fka Bruce) winning the Arthur Ashe Courage award.

There are only two choices in a “progressive” society: accept, adapt and celebrate the new progressive agenda OR be labeled a “deplorable.”

And in the likely President Clinton future, either be fired, boycotted or hauled to jail. She made clear that you are not part of her “America.”


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