If we were normal, and lived in a normal country, and if Hebrew were a normal language, the Barnoar murder case [where four people have been arrested for the shooting of two people at a gay youth club in Tel Aviv, in August 2009] could be concisely summed up in a newspaper report of a few sentences. For example: “A homo [the Hebrew word for gay] is suspected of having the hots for a minor from a traditional family. Representatives of the minor’s homophobic family are suspected of going to a bar for homo youth, which is run by the horny homo, and shooting at the crowd indiscriminately, killing two and injuring several more.”
Once upon a time, at the beginning of the 20th century, there was this French journalist, Felix Feneon, who wrote the crime column for the newspaper L’Aurore and perfected a style of turning the three-sentence report into veritable poetry. A selection of his columns was published as a book, which was translated into English as “Novels in Three Lines.” Which goes to show that, in those days, people were more normal than us − at least in the sense that they could sort the wheat from the chaff. The description “hate crime” was reserved for cases of principle such as the Dreyfus affair, or cruel lynch killings of blacks in America.
The Barnoar murder case is shocking in its blind cruelty and has a strong element of homophobia, but I have a feeling that the description of the primitive behavior of the murder suspects as a “hate crime” gives them too much credit.
And who is foremost demanding that a principled character be granted to this tragic, but primitive, murder case? It is the self-appointed LGBT representatives themselves, who see an opportunity here to build themselves up and to present the victimhood of their “community.”
An odd word this, “community.” A word that paints a false picture − as if everyone whose sexual preferences are different from the norm automatically belongs to a different religion than that of the rest of the population; whose gay clubs and bars are its synagogues; who, on the Sabbath, take their Torah scrolls out of the ark, strip them of their coats and dance with them naked; and who, once a year, go out into the streets and cavort in women’s clothes or half-naked in what is called the Pride Parade.
All this is a lie at heart, because most of the gays, lesbians, transgenders and bisexuals are people who do not view themselves as belonging to any community. They are people from all walks of life, who are neither better nor worse than others, and live their lives, be it in a couple or on their own, and do not bear any exterior identifying mark that sets them apart. They are “other like all others,” in the words of Prof. Magnus Hirschfeld, the German Jew who was the father of the gay rights movement.
Hence, there are no grounds for all the verbal shortcuts in the vein of “prominent member of the community” and “community activist” in place of, for example, “horny homo.” The harm these linguistic covers do has already been addressed this week by a judge in Israel, and nevertheless the press continues to use them. Perhaps this is because Hebrew, being a language that was rejuvenated by teachers and educators, lacks sufficient flexibility when it comes to sexuality, and the words in this area, such as “homo,” “gay” or “maniac,” are always too vulgar (and borrowed from foreign languages), or too flowery (“member,” “activist,” “prominent member of the gay community”). And normal words − terms that are neither obscene nor foreign, on the one hand; or from the Haftarah, on the other − do not exist.
This verbal fraud was much in evidence at the festive event that opened the Pride Parade last Friday in Tel Aviv’s Gan Me’ir. Senior politicians of every political stripe came to express their solidarity with the gays, lesbians, transgenders and bisexuals. They came to bless but, without realizing it, wound up cursing − because most of them treated their audience as people thirsting to exercise their different sexuality, which they, the politicians, gave them permission to experience.
Each and every one of the speakers wanted to outdo his fellow speaker in tolerance, and what came across was another false presentation, as though the State of Israel is a paradise of boundless tolerance, from the right, left and every direction.
Then along came the discovery of the details of the Barnoar murder, and showed up all those who delude themselves and others. It revealed that homosexuals are indeed present in every province of society, including in the underworld and among felons and criminals (and it isn’t certain that anyone wants to be a member of the same community as them).
Even more, it exposed the great weakness of the Hebrew language − or, more precisely, of the euphemistic language of the Hebrew press. For with the whole ban on saying that someone is a “homo,” the result is that the more they explain who did what to whom and who told whom and who snitched to whom, the reader completely loses his way in the case. It comes out like this: That an activist and senior member of the proud community [as the gay community is called in Hebrew] is suspected of engaging in nonconsensual pride relations with a junior member and minor in the proud community, and a convicted felon from the proud community, who knew the truth about the murder, told the police everything but they didn’t believe him, and in short − the whole proud community is in uproar.
I can already envision the Education Ministry’s next project: In the wake of the murders at Barnoar, the next school year will be declared the year of sexual tolerance and combating homophobia. As such, prominent members of the gay community and its activists will be invited to deliver informational lectures in the schools. Consequently, prominent members of the Jewish religion and its activists will raise a hue and cry over the encouraging of youth to participate in homosexual congress, which is forbidden according to the Torah. Eventually, a compromise will be reached: For every lecture by activists from the gay community, activists from the Bratslav or Chabad communities will be invited − for the sake of balance − to proselytize in the schools. We’ll see who wins.
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