Opinion |

Israel's Government Is Afraid of LGBT Community

Country's right-wing rulers know the gay community is right in the dispute over adoption, and they know they can't afford to alienate their great propaganda asset

Emilie Moatti
Emilie Moatti
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A man waves a flag as the Gay Pride Parade passes in the streets of Tel Aviv on June 3, 2016.
A man waves a flag as the Gay Pride Parade passes in the streets of Tel Aviv on June 3, 2016.Credit: Moti Milrod
Emilie Moatti
Emilie Moatti

Life under right-wing rule is divided in two: reality and the image of reality. Or, according to the idiotic Israeli terminology, reality and public diplomacy.

Reality requires a constant struggle against a real or imagined enemy, closing ranks and drawing a clear line between good and bad, between them and us. Those are the basic principles of an authoritarian regime. But this regime, which ostensibly scorns what the world says about it, is obsessed with how it appears from the outside. That’s why it needs the democratic image, the inclusive, pluralistic image.

For example, the High Court of Justice was about to hold a session on adoption for gay couples. In a rare move, even state prosecutors are refusing to cooperate with the government on this issue.

Given the right-wing government’s hysteria, which is reflected not only by its wacky, tone-deaf legislation like the adoption law but also by its panicked interviews in the middle of the night, along with the brigades of keyboard soldiers in the government’s service belting out hate-filled, humiliating comments on elected officials’ behalf, the people’s chosen found their way to the gay issue, which has been the hit of hasbara (“public diplomacy” officially, “propaganda” unofficially).

The government is afraid of the LGBT community. It knows the gays are right and have the advantage. In fact, the gays have won, because as we know, the most effective diplomatic weapon against the international community’s claims about Israeli democracy is the gay community. They are the front. Every diplomacy course graduate knows it. If attacked, tell them about the gay community, tell them about accepting, inclusive Tel Aviv and that in Israel there are anti-Zionist Arab MKs. Show the hostile world how wonderful we are, a dream palace in the jungle.

A declared homosexual is serving in the Knesset today. He is raising two children who were delivered by a surrogate mother, and he is not hiding it. So what are the rulers afraid of? Some will say they’re simply conservative, and the various kinds of families around them threaten the moral and established order they’re accustomed to.

That’s nonsense. This isn’t conservatism, nor are they really afraid of the ultra-Orthodox parties. They’re afraid of the gays. Afraid of being left without anyone to brand and anyone to kick off the legitimacy field.

They’ve already tried to brand the leftists and failed. All the justice minister’s acrobatics didn’t help and no judge – rightist, religious or other – was found to cooperate with her political appointments. Even the white tribe isn’t so white anymore, it hasn’t been white for years, and they have nothing left to hold onto. They’re out of ways to draw the line between “us” and all the rest, between the rightist leadership – which paints a picture of progress and openness, but is facing backward, against the light – and the public, which already understands that this is the beginning of the end, that it’s time for a change in leadership.

Ultimately, the rulers don’t care about gay rights, or ethnic diversity in the Supreme Court, or a variety of opinions in the media, which are the marks of a healthy democracy. They want only to rule. But sometimes the party comes to an end, and it will be over soon.