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As the UN votes to allow gays to be executed, silence prevails

November 28, 2010 – 7:31 pm86 Comments

A 2008 protest in Paris against the execution of gays in Asia and Africa

By Anthony Frosh

Currently in Australia we are witnessing a much-publicised debate concerning the establishment of gay civil marriage.  I use the term ‘debate’ liberally since I am yet to hear any good arguments against it.  Within the Jewish community, as a regular Galus reader would know, we have also seen considerable discussion of late concerning how Jewish institutions relate to gay members of Jewish community and to what extent halacha could accommodate same-sex relationships.

As important as these issues are to our local community, we should recognise that in other places in the world, the struggle for gay rights has far higher stakes.  In a disturbingly large number of countries, being gay can result in long-term imprisonment and even the death sentence.

In what is arguably a new low for an organization already coming off an extremely low base, less than fortnight ago a UN General Assembly committee voted for an amendment to delete from a resolution a reference condemning executions of people due to sexual orientation.  For more details, and to see which countries supported this appalling amendment, read Thor Halvorssen’s article in the Huffington Post. As Jews of the antipodes, we can be proud (to the extent that one can take pride in not being absolutely disgraceful) that both Australia and Israel (the only country in the Middle East to do so) voted against this ghastly amendment.

In a country having its own ‘gay debate’, one might have thought that such a shocking turn of events would have attracted widespread media coverage.  However, while every mainstream media outlet was offering full coverage of the engagement of Prince William, the UN voting to allow gays to be executed did not rate a mention.

So even if both our commercial and public media outlets were letting us down, surely our earnest local leftist activists (the type that are so obsessed with vilifying and carrying out a boycott of Israel) would come to the rescue. Perhaps they just hadn’t heard of the story, since it received such little media coverage in this country.  Thus I thought it was my duty to bring the story to the attention of some BDS campaigners, to see if they might be able to summon the same energy to help stop gays being executed throughout the Middle East and Africa as they have put into their fight against all things deemed Zionist.

Unfortunately, these hopes were quickly shot down. Mostly I was just ignored – clearly these activists were not interested in this issue.  One so called peace activist responded by implying that I should be more concerned about extra-judicial killings carried out by the IDF.  I was stunned that he would equate the act of killing suicide bombers before they detonate with the act of killing people due to their sexual orientation.

A second more rabid anti-Israel activist gave me an even more bizarre response.  She actually blamed homophobia in the Islamic world on the Jews, claiming that Islam was merely carrying on the tradition of Judaism.  She also then blamed me as a Jewish individual for the contents of Leviticus.

In this world of moral relativism, it seems that what it is that ought to be the real fundamental universal human rights often gets lost.  No matter what our background, we should all be able to agree that no one should be imprisoned or executed merely because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation.  That seventy-nine nations voted for an amendment to allow the execution of sexual minorities, and a further seventeen abstained, should seriously alarm all of us, not least self-styled human rights activists.

Thankfully, there are still some human rights organizations that have not lost their moral compass.  A good example of this is the blandly named Human Rights Foundation, founded by the aforementioned Thor Halvorssen. Halvorssen recognised that many existing organizations have “redefined human rights in such a way as to weaken the concept” and thus he founded an organisation to focus on the core principle of freedom from tyranny.  The prolific Halvorssen also founded the Oslo Freedom Forum, an institution that appears to also share this clarity of vision. Let’s hope that other human rights activists and organizations follow the lead of people like Halvorssen by returning to the struggle for some of the most essential human rights.

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86 Comments »

  • Robert Weil says:

    Well Anthony, I think the issue you raise should come as awakening to you as to who are are the true ‘homophobes’, those of us who question the desirability of gay marriage, and offer reasoned arguments in a spirit of respectful debate or those described in your article who would have gays executed. It may come as a shock to you and other gay activists that those of us who constantly suffer derision for speaking out about the lack of morality of certain aspects of the gay lifestyle, would never condone harm or violence towards anyone, especially on the basis of their sexual orientation. From my perspective the action of the U.N. in failing to condemn the execution of gays is (sadly and sickeningly) consistent with their record of condemning Israel at every opportunity.

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    B’H
    Yes I would have to agree with Robert totally. While I do not agree with ‘gay marriage rights or rites’ however you want to see them, I would under no circumstances condone the use of violence either verbal or physical against gay people who I believe often have enough of their own issues to contend with and should not be subject to abuse by anyone.
    The UN is a sadly dysfunctional organisation and I am surprised you have not worked that out yet. I see it as an organisation of morons which has totally lost relevance and the respect that it once enjoyed. Sort of a bit like the Nobel Peace Prize Committee which became almost totally irrelevant when it gave Yasser Arafat a peace Prize of all people in the 90’s and then to make itself totally irrelevant they gave a Prize to Barak Obama for possibly breaking wind politely at peace conferences that he had not yet held.

  • frosh says:

    Robert,

    It’s interesting that you termed me a ‘gay activist.’ It was only a few articles ago where some commenters were labelling me homophobic.

    The point is that we should all be concerned about basic human rights, be they for gay people or otherwise. It’s the golden rule: ואהבת לרעך כמוך – Love your neighbour as yourself.

    I don’t want to turn this into a debate about gay civil marriage, as this was not the topic of my article, but I would say denying people in same-sex relationship the right to have their relationship recognised on equal civil footing as the rest of us seems like pointless discrimination with no benefit to society.

    With regard to your final sentence, I completely agree.

  • Malki Rose says:

    “No matter what our background, we should all be able to agree that no one should be imprisoned or executed merely because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation. That seventy-nine nations voted for an amendment to allow the execution of sexual minorities, and a further seventeen abstained, should seriously alarm all of us, not least self-styled human rights activists.”

    I understood, clearly erroneously, that the UN was established as a result of such abhorrent violations, and to protect the humanitarian rights of all peoples, in all lands.

    Does this not fly in the face of everything the UN claimed to stand for?

    As Robert has said, this is sadly starting to becoming the UN’s consistent position. Perhaps UN stands for UN-humanitarian.

    When the events of the holocaust continued unchallenged the world swore, ‘Never again’ and the UN seemed a great place to ensure that fulfillment of that humanitarian promise.

    As you Frosh, I would love to know where are the protestors? the rallying voices? Where are those who stampede our cities squares in their droves with cries for equality for the persecuted and claim that their raison d’etre to be a permanent obsession with the fight for human rights?

    And of course the wonderfully obsessive human rights campaigners for the Palestinian Human rights cause? Or should I say Palestinian cause, seeing as other human rights issues don’t seem to register on their radar at all.

    What’s even more unbelievably pathetic, is that as the UN issues this abhorrent decision, a certain Australian Jewish self-proclaimed unrelenting fighter (allegedly) for gay rights has also not said a single word on this matter on his blog. Not a word. Instead choosing to nit-pick, play semantic games and label those who find irresponsible promiscuity dangerous (which it is!), as ‘homophobic’.

    In other words, not seeing the wood from the trees and instead create enemies of those who are not, all the while ignoring the single largest threat to gay rights since Nazi Germany’s ‘Paragraph 175′.

    Perhaps in both cases it starts to become clear that alleged ‘champions’ for human rights often act with unclear or questionably motivated agendas.

    Perhaps their titles belie their purpose, and it is time to start reading not just between the lines, but well passed them

    If the UN had any genuine interest in human rights since their inception, then it might require speaking up for more no less than 16 different oppressed ethnic groups OUTSIDE of Palestinians in the past 70 years to make that even slightly believable.

    It is evil enough for “good men to remain silent and do nothing” when bad things are being done to others, but to be the champion for the acts of hatred?… well that kinda clinches their ‘humanitarian’ stand, doesn’t it?

  • Confused says:

    “If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

    I’d assume that you’d be happy, God’s infallible word says it’s true, unless of course you pick and choose what to believe god said…

  • Mohan to confused says:

    Confused, search some more in Leviticus and you will find – I am phrasing them loosely not quoting –

    When I burn a bull at the alter it’s smell pleases the lord.

    You can enslave members of other nations.

    When will you burn a bull in your local shull ?

    Since it is ok with Leviticus , let enslave a few New Zealanders!

  • Confused says:

    Mohan thank you for reiterating my point for me. There are 3 options:
    1) God isn’t real – man made book
    2) Anyone who believes god to be real and doesn’t stone gay people is a hypocrit or
    3) You pick and choose which laws to follow in a transparent attempt to keep a book written by people with no indoor plumbing relevant.

    Which category do you fall under?

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Hi Mohan – public cow burning in local schools, churches, hardware stores is par for the course – usually more euphemistically called sausage sizzles, but generally people love them and I beleive the smell pleases the punters.

    You do know, I assume, that Jewish law didnt stop developing with Leviticus?

    You may wish to be careful that your political views about Israel dont conflate into a potentially hateful -and may I say highly uninformed – commentary on Jewish practice.

  • Gregory says:

    The charge was lead by a small African nation Benin and supported by many African nations, Russia, China and others. See a map here

    Regardless of your religious ideology, nobody deserves death because of who they are.

    This resolution actually removes sexual orientation as a grounds for discrimination, and allows nations to apply the death penalty to GLBTI people.

    That’s simply outrageous. Time to disband the UN and find another way.

    Let’s see you Malki lead the charge in protest, or do you think that only gay people should protest about this.

    Thanks Anthony for the post, it’s a stark reminder that while we struggle in Australia for equality, some people are actually dying because they are gay. Our internal national debate pales into insignificance when viewed globally, however, it is still an important debate to have. Better that Australia be a reflection of how the world should be, free from religious doctrine dictating how people should lead their lives.

  • Confused says:

    Mandi Katz:
    “You do know, I assume, that Jewish law didnt stop developing with Leviticus?

    You may wish to be careful that your political views about Israel dont conflate into a potentially hateful -and may I say highly uninformed – commentary on Jewish practice.”

    Firstly let’s just get out the way your baffling response:
    1) I have not mentioned the word Israel once and this is not an article ABOUT Israel, so while I appreciate your condescending advice it is quite clearly irrelevant.

    2) Quoting the ‘infallible’ word of good is “highly uninformed”? I find that to be a very odd point and don’t really know why you made it.

    To your point that Jewish law has evolved past the point of Leviticus i’ll direct you to what i wrote before your response: “3) You pick and choose which laws to follow in a transparent attempt to keep a book written by people with no indoor plumbing relevant.” If I didn’t make myself clear enough I’ll be happy to explain it further to you. The Torah is supposed to be the infallible word of an omniscient god where no word is superfluous (I assume you don’t disagree with that since it’s pretty fundamental). If that were the case then why would an omniscient being make MORAL laws that would become outdated so quickly (even if you ignore the evolution of the zeitgeist to a point where it’s not considered acceptable it begs a pretty huge question about the morality of whoever said it in the first place). Perhaps if the law referred to correct conduct in Desert living it would make sense to have a law that evolved over time but that is a direct quote of a MORAL statement. It is unequivocal and supposedly the word of god. Either god was wrong for saying it or any attempt to ‘evolve’ it is an insult to an omniscient being.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    um Confused – I said “Hi Mohan” – that’s a pretty good clue that my response was to him.I’ll leave you to wallow in your state of confusion – I couldn’t be less interested in you.

  • Confused says:

    My apologies mandi, I misread your post

  • Gregory says:

    Ilana says

    I would under no circumstances condone the use of violence either verbal or physical against gay people

    My observation is that you do in fact cause ‘verbal violence’ my question to you, is how will you combat this outrageous resolution by the UN – will you ring your MP’s office and ask them to take up the battle? How will you react?

    g.

  • shez says:

    Dear confused,
    Perhaps you should look at the oral law as well as the written law. A person can only be put to death for “Lying with a man as a woman” after they have been caught in the act by two witnesses and warned, caught again by two acceptable witnesses and warned and only after they had been warned twice then would the beth din be allowed to authorise a death sentence. If a remember my talmud correctly and I may not a sanhedring was considered a bloody one if someone was put to death once in 70 years. This indicates that the death sentence, sanctioned by the sanhedrin/beth din, did not happen all that often for what ever reason, be it not keeping shabbat properly or immoral behavior.
    I would also point out that a couple caught twice publically “Lying with a man as a woman” probably had some sort of death wish. This would indicate to me that the stated penalty was more a proxy indicator of how G-d views the sin.

  • Gregory says:

    Hey Shez – where do you stand on this? Are you simply quoting or is this your belief that the act of ‘caught’ gay sex requires death?

  • confused says:

    So if I understand you correctly shez your point is that god said that homosexual acts should be punished by death but didn’t really want anyone punished for it, it was just meant to show god doesn’t like it? If that were the case wouldn’t an omniscient god explain how vehemently wrong it is as opposed to clearly stating that they should be killed and that they have ‘forfeited their lives’. It’s no exactly an ambiguous statement.

  • confused says:

    Also, I’d point out that in no way does not REGULARLY killing homosexuals make it any less immoral to declare it or even think it’s a reasonable idea.

  • Frosh,

    Phillip Adams on ABC Radio Late Night Live gave the issue exposure.

    24 November 2010
    UN decision on gay rights

    This week a United Nations General Assembly vote removed ‘sexual orientation’ from a resolution that protects people from arbitrary executions. This decision means that lesbian, gay, transgender or bisexual people could be executed without cause.

    Guests

    Peter Tatchell
    Human Rights campaigner and gay activist.
    Presenter

    Phillip Adams
    Story Researcher and Producer

    Gail Boserio

    I’m sure that counts to some extent.

    Michael.

  • shez says:

    Gregory – I do not beleive that the act of caught sex requires the death penaltly that is what the Torah and the Talmud say. My point of view is as follows: I do not beleive that the state has any role in the bedroom of two consenting adults. I beleive that we do not have the same level of understanding of the Torah that perhaps those of generations closer to the source have. I believe in the total seperation between the state and religion until such time as the moshiach comes (I am not an orthodox Jew but I beleive that until such times as the temple is rebuilt we do not have the necessary understanding or the halachic mandate to implement the death penalties or any other penalty that the torah deems fit.)
    the Torah says that the act of homosexuality is wrong, just like eating crayfish, lobsters, pork lighting a fire on shabbat is wrong. If we are to accept that the Torah is G-d’s word then as uncomfortable as it is the act of homosexuality is wrong. Deserving of the death sentence in our generation? Definately not.
    On another note confused. You seem to belittle the idea that G-d doesn’t want anyone punished. I think that by clearly stating the penalty for a crime any society is indicating the severity of how that crime is viewed by society. For example rape 2 years, murder 25 years, tax evasion anywhere up to 7 years.
    For your information many “sins” carry the death penalty in Judaism, not just homosexuality. In fact Homosexuality is not considered the worst sin and if you repent after being caught you do not get killed.
    All sins require to “kosher” witnesses in order for the criminal to be brought to the courts – all exept one sin – adultary.
    Do you know what the Halachot are for kosher witnesses?
    Do you know how hard it is to have the witness statements accepted by the jewish courts?
    It is not that far fetched to say that the punishement is a proxy indicator of how the sin is viewed by G-d. Kabalistically speaking, if I remember correctly the “forfeited their lives” has got to do with continuity – progeny.
    I always find it interesting level of discussion that homosexuality generates. As if this is the only sin that gets the death penalty. Many people commit adultary and I do not see any outrage here at the death penalty in certain countries for that.

  • confused says:

    Shez my point was simply that no amount of burden of proof makes that statement less unequivocally wrong. For example; If a new Australian law was brought in to say that if 50 people witnessed someone performing Jewish rituals they should be put to death you would consider it very wrong even though getting 50 witnesses would be incredibly difficult. I was attempting to point out the hypocrisy someone who identifies themselves as being Jewish being outraged at the idea of capital punishment for homosexuality. Whether or not it is difficult to prove it under San Hedrin law is actually quite irrelevant.

    PS: I don’t think mentioning all the other ridiculous things god claims are punishable by death really helps your case

  • Gregory says:

    Shez,

    I don’t accept that the Torah is the word of your God or any god. The fact is that governments continue to use it at the UN to actively discriminate against GLBTI people, and rather than hedging your bets, you would be better to come out in complete support of the secular view that the religion has no place in the decision making process of the UN in regards to human rights.

    This is an appalling situation. Your moshiach shows no sign of showing, so lets forget about it and actually do what’s right for the citizens of the world and leave antiquated beliefs out of human rights.

    Stand up against this type of tyranny.

  • Malki Rose says:

    The UN do not use the Torah to discriminate against GLBTs Gregory.
    The UN have no belief in the Torah whatsoever, so please stop using the Torah and religion as your scapegoat for discrimination against GLBTs, it is inaccurate.

    While you are entitled to not believe in religion or G-d etc, you need to respect that many do constantly insist on portraying it as the root of all evil suggests significant bigotry on your part.

    Decent human beings of ALL faiths encourage humanitarian values, and if someone or some organisation encourage persecution or hatred or murder of another human based on their gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual preference, they do so NOT because of religion itself, but because THEY are simply hateful people and religion is their ‘weapon of choice’.

  • Malki, please refer to GLBT people as ‘GLBT people’ in future and not as ‘GLBTs’. We are people, just like you.

  • confused says:

    “Decent human beings of ALL faiths encourage humanitarian values, and if someone or some organisation encourage persecution or hatred or murder of another human based on their gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual preference, they do so NOT because of religion itself, but because THEY are simply hateful people and religion is their ‘weapon of choice’.”

    Your logic is flawed because you got it the wrong way around. People of faith that do not follow their own religious doctrines where it conflicts with their own morality do so because they are decent people DESPITE the fact they are of religious faith. The old testament, new testament and koran all very clearly state that homosexual acts SHOULD be punished by murder and it’s only the evolving zeitgeist that protects us from those atrocities. I believe that the vast majority of people who subscribe to a faith are good, decent people but don’t for a second think that religion is a ‘weapon of choice’ when direct quotes from all 3 books CLEARLY show the opposite.

  • Gregory says:

    Malki,

    That’s really rich, I’m not using it as a scapegoat.

    I have no problem with people who believe in the supernatural. I don’t think they’re right, and will always defend their right to believe in what ever they want, but unsubstantiated and unprovable beliefs have no place in the decision making process. The African nations no doubt use either islam or christianity as a basis for their ongoing intimidation and discrimination of GLBTI people, to try and separate the religion from the person is simply not right. The hateful people learn to hate based on the religion that is taught to them by their parents and communities, until the major religions of the world denounce the hateful texts in their sacred text, governments and religions will continue to use it as their weapon of choice.

    If you disagree with the text, what are you doing to change it? Oh let me guess, you don’t think it can be changed, it’s sacred.

    Decent human beings of all faiths need to speak out against a hierarchy in their respective faiths that continue to use religion as their weapon of choice. They need to do so NOT because of the religion itself, but because THEY see that simple hateful people and religion use it as a weapon.

  • Shira Wenig says:

    Great article Frosh.
    I think it was Rav Soloveitchik who once said that the only value of the establishment of the UN was the 29/11/47 vote; everything they’ve done before and since has been worse than useless.
    (and on that note, happy 63rd anniversary Partition Plan)

  • frosh says:

    A lot of people here are talking about what is in the text of various ancient documents.

    However, I don’t think this is relevant to the topic addressed in the above article, which revolves around concern for human rights. Such discussion may be more relevant to another article published on Galus some time ago

    http://galusaustralis.com/2009/07/735/whos-afraid-of-gay-marriage/

    When it comes to human rights, it is how the governments and the society acts towards its citizen that is relevant.

    It is not a human right to determine what is written in a religious text.

    It is a human right to be left to determine one’s own identity and to be free from persecution.

  • frosh says:

    Michael,

    Despite your protest to Malki, I’ll still do not mind if you call me a “Jew” rather than a “Jewish person”.

  • Frosh,

    The word ‘Jew’ is a noun. The acronym ‘GLBT’ is commonly used as an adjective.

    It would be a start if the people who defined themselves by excluding everyone else would accept some responsibility for the situation we find ourselves in.

    Michael.

  • Gregory says:

    The question is about how the decision to hang people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex comes about. I contend that those nations base their intolerance of people’s sexuality on biblical texts. I think that ancient texts are relevant and that until that core issue is addressed there is no way to really move the intolerance.

    Although I can’t easily explain Russia or China voting the way they did, apart from the fact that they probably support the African nations or just want to vote in opposition to the USA, it would seem to me that the African nations voted that way because of their predominance to faith, built on the historical interpretation of the bible, which is based on the Torah. The koran is likely similarly based, but I don’t know.

  • Malki Rose says:

    Frosh,
    You know many GLBT’s refer to themselves as ‘GLBT’s’. It just means gayS, lesbianS, bi-sexualS and transgenderS.
    It something we do in English. Its called using a word in plural form.
    Its quite silly that some people find plural forms to be so offensive.
    Meanwhile, the UN are promoting the execution of GLBT’s and this doesn’t seem to bother them nearly as much as semantics.
    Theirs is a need to put political correctness ahead of actual humanitarian crises, bravo!

    But yes, these points are largely irrelevant to this discussion. It is a wonderful and important piece that you’ve written. It is as you’ve said about the UN failing to uphold the humanitarian principles it claimed to have been created to protect.

    As Shira has mentioned (I am actually trying to find a source for Rav Soloveitchik’s remark, wondering if it wasn’t someone else who said it), perhaps aside from their magnum opus of the ’47 Partition plan, the UN seems to be an essentially redundant and ineffectual body.

    In practice, I am wondering how this will effect the actions of governments in real terms. Is there a single, remaining state which actually heeds the words of the U.N?

  • confused says:

    I echo Gregory’s statements but I also felt it was necessary to point out that Judaism’s hands aren’t clean in terms of anti-homosexual sentiments. Being that this is a Jewish forum and the Torah is actually quite in favour of the proposal to execute homosexual people, I wanted to discuss the idea of whether Jews should agree with the sentiment or not and if they didn’t what that means for their faith. I guess what i’m wondering is if you pick and choose which laws to follow, what’s the point?

  • @Malki … no self-respecting GLBT with working knowledge of English grammar would use GLBT’s when the ‘s’ actually indicates a plural!

    But as Frosh said, this article isn’t about the correct collective noun for a GLBT person, or about grammar. It’s about the double standard of the UN in dealing with oppression around the world, and indeed the disproportionate attention of the UN toward anything relating to Israel, to the point that they almost ignore genocide occuring elsewhere in the world.

    Can the UN be fixed? I think not. They renamed the UNHCR into the UNHRC (or something), and nothing changed. The UNRWA is a self-perpetuating agency that does nothing to improve the lives of its clients. As someone told me, if only the 9/11 bombers had missed the twin towers and hit the UN building instead, the world would be a much better place!

  • frosh says:

    Gregory,

    I know you wish to blame Judaism for everything, but the ‘Jewish state’ voted against this amendment, while a
    an atheistic regime like China voted for it. Texts are irrelevant to human rights – the only thing that matters here is how people are treated.

    Confused,

    This is not a discussion about faith and theology. There are plenty of other articles on Galus where rehouse discussions would be more relevant. I have even provided you a link to one such article. Do a search, and you’ll find several more. Please do not keep trying to hijack the discussion!

  • Gregory says:

    Frosh – that’s just absurd, if anything I want to blame alpacas.

    The question is right – the only thing that matters here is how people are treated. When we investigate why GLBT people are persecuted, where do we end up? Oh my, we end up with someone’s interpretation of the bible (or whatever holy book you want to use).

    Indeed the whole concept of Human Rights is in a charter, that happens to be text, it’s know as Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Perhaps you think that text is irrelevant too?

  • frosh says:

    Hi Malki, Shira, and David,

    I think since 1947, we have had a proliferation of despotic regimes, and since being a despotic regime is unfortunately no obstacle to UN membership, we have seen these regimes become the majority of the general assembly, as well as many of the committees (including the human rights committee).

    Even the partition vote in 1947 was quite close, and according to Mark Aarons’ and John Loftus’ well researched book, the vote only got up because the Zionists leveraged their knowledge of Nelson Rockefeller’s wartime record (Rockefeller abetted the Nazi regime by selling them oil etc.). The Zionists agreed not to divulge this, and in return Rockefeller used his influence over the South American states in the partition vote.

    In light of that, we could question whether the General Assembly has ever done anything good off its own volition.

  • frosh says:

    Greg,

    If a charter enshrines people’s right to campaign freely for an election, but in reality militia drive around and beat up (or shoot) anyone who campaigns against their favoured party, do the people have freedom?

  • Marky says:

    Bottom line: No one knows or has heard of anyone being killed by Israel, Jewish courts or anything Jewish, for a homosexual act. While we all know of countries and religions who do practice it(probably many times just for an excuse to get rid of someone).

    Greg, you blame the Torah for the African nations votes. According to The Torah Israel belongs to the Jews, but I don’t see these countries voting for Israel. Is it pick and choose?

    And Mohan, slavery in times past is a fact of life. It would have been a lot more pleasant to be a slave of a Jew(there were Jewish and not Jewish slaves)-guided by the Torah- than a slave by others, going by what history tells us. The former were more servant than slave.

  • Mohan to greg says:

    I was pointing out the absurdity of using dogma in rational discourse. If you choose to explain away slavery perhaps you could explain other thigs as well.

    “When the lord your god brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them and also show them no mercy.” Deuteronomy 7:12.

    Would be interesting if opposite sides of the conflict used the passage to justify their actions. Osama bin laden and any rabbi of Shas can use the passage for exactly opposite ends.

  • frosh says:

    Mohan,

    Why don’t you try leaving a comment relevant to the topic?

    Tell us what you think should be done about this UN vote and the severe persecution of gay people in Africa and Asia.

  • ariel says:

    so far, frosh and malki have been the only ones here who make any sense.

    The USA should resign from the UN taking with her Canada, Australia, Israel, Great Britain and any other Western democracies who really do care about human rights.

    These nations should set up the United Democratic Nations and those left at the UN can rename themselves the United Despotic Nations and continue to steal from and murder their own people.

    At the risk of continuing the debate about the Torah (it’s amazing how many people are experts!!), it should be clarified that the Torah is not, nor has it ever been, against homosexuality. It IS against a particular sexual act between two males, REGARDLESS of their sexual orientation. This particular act was prevalent in ancient Greece and other societies between men who were not necessarily same-sex attracted; it was just that in those societies, the act in question was seen as part and parcel of an active sex life.

    The acts of war that Confused quotes were one-time commands to the people at that time. Much like Churchill’s command to carpet bomb Dresden during WW2 doesn’t give the RAF the right to do so every week in perpetuity; it was a necessary command at the time and as a result, we still deem Churchill a hero.

  • Marky says:

    Mohan, I was just about to post a response, but then I noticed Frosh’s post. I decided not to answer you question about war, even though it is right there in the sentences you brought from the Torah.

    Frankly I am not interested in convincing you or to convert you. You will anyway continue to believe(or rather not)what you want. I will continue believing and I don’t give a stuff what you do.

  • Malki Rose says:

    Ariel,
    I think what you suggest is wonderful and would make a world-changing statement.

    Let the truly democratic nations secede the UN, and continue their plight for the
    upholding of human rights in a more accurate forum.

    Then the UN can be renamed something more befitting its actions, rather than continuously violating the human rights principles enshrined in its own charter, such as (as you suggested) the United Despotic Nations, or the Council for Prejudicial treatment of Humans, or the Anti-Rights Council… oh the list is endless.

    Perhaps it is time that democratic countries took such steps… away from the ‘UN’.

    If countries such as Australia, the US, the UK et al do NOT step away from the UN, surely that could be read as them ENDORSING and CONDONING these resolutions?

    I’d love to hear Australia say ‘we secede/revoke our membership in the UN’.

  • Mohan to Frosh on UN says:

    It is a shame that the gay people are being persecuted in Africa and

    elsewhere. The best way is to work against discrimination in one’s own country and against all forms of discrimination. Amnesty International often campaigns on issues of individual countries and the best way is to campaign against human rights standards of the individual countries. For instane when a head of state or politican visits Australia.

  • Gregory says:

    I already suggested abandoning the UN and trying another way, the current system is fundamentally flawed. It’d be good to exclude all middle east countries until they sort out their internal problems.

    And Ariel – self proclaimed torah expert – you ignore the fact that a lot of religions whose roots are in the torah use the book as a basis for discriminating against not just gay people for being gay, but any act of sex between gay people. Wake up to yourself.

  • Malki Rose says:

    It seems unfair to suggest excluding ALL middle east countries, especially when some of them voted AGAINST the UN’s resolution. Those countries should be supported, not punished.
    Equally, there are many non-middle east countries who voted in favour of the resolution.

  • ariel says:

    Gregory,

    No one has the right to use OUR book as justification for anything they do. It is audacious to say the least when a Muslim or Christian tries to tell me how to interpret my book.

    Israel’s NO vote on this resolution is consistent the Jewish interpretation of the Torah.
    Trying to blame the Torah and Judaism for it’s being completely misinterpreted by those of other faiths who claim it as its basis is a furfy.

    Malki – let’s get the ball rolling on UN dismemberment!

  • confused says:

    “The acts of war that Confused quotes were one-time commands to the people at that time. Much like Churchill’s command to carpet bomb Dresden during WW2″

    What a truly ridiculous comment. So by your logic if I choose to I can take any law from the Torah and say that was only intended at the time. Hmm well being kosher made sense back then because of improper knowledge about how to kill and cook animals properly so I’m going to just assume it was designed for that time and start eating pig. In fact let’s take every single law that doesn’t conform to modern standards and assume they weren’t meant to be taken literally or were only designed for the time (ignoring the extreme arrogance of the idea) and what does that leave you with… oh that’s right deism, not Judaism. If you truly believed god was omniscient how DARE you say that he didn’t mean every word he said. Who are you to make that judgement?

  • ariel says:

    you really are confused…and you’re exhausting me with ignorant comments.

  • confused says:

    I’m ignorant for thinking that one who believes that god is infallible and omniscient should believe that god means everything he says? I should be ashamed of myself!

  • Shira Wenig says:

    This side discussion detracts from the main issue – the point is not what Judaism thinks of homosexuality, but what the UN has just said about homosexuality (particularly in comparison to what it says about Israel).

    Malki/Frosh/anyone – any plans to put this into action? I can’t think of anything besides a petition to Michael Danby…

  • ariel says:

    what about Adam Bandt?

  • Gregory says:

    Ariel,

    Are you actually suggesting that no Jew uses the Torah as a method of discriminating against people who are gay?

    And despite your protestations, the bible is used widely by all sorts of people, and your claim to exclusive use is rather silly, don’t you think?

    I’d happily sign a petition to dissolve the UN and set up a more meaningful international body.

  • confused says:

    Exactly, it is incredibly naive to dissociate religion and homosexual rights as it would be for any discussion on abortion, euthenasia etc where religious dogma has a huge effect on the law (in some countries more than others). You can believe whatever you want to believe, I’m not criticising anyone’s beliefs but at least own it.

  • frosh says:

    Mohan,

    Perhaps you could write about this issue in your Green Left Weekly to help raise public awareness?

    The challenge for you will be how to put an anti-Israel slant when Israel was the only Mid-East country that voted against this shocking amendment.

  • frosh says:

    Shira,

    Thanks for being one of the few people to address the topic. I like the idea of Australia (and other liberal democracies) withdrawing from the UN.

    I can’t see Australia doing it alone. The lead would probably have to come from the USA. Perhaps we need to start a global movement.

  • ariel says:

    Gregory,
    please read what i wrote.
    i said people misinterpret OUR book but they have NO right to do so and then blame us for their own agendas

  • Malki Rose says:

    Shira, Ariel, Frosh,
    Yes but ‘how’ is the question. Waiting for another to take the lead has never been particularly effective. I like Shira’s idea of petitioning Michael Danby. Perhaps it is worth GA creating an online petition of some sort for readers to sign?
    It could then be submitted to several MPs (sorry I meant ‘MP people’), including Michael Danby. I am sure he would be more than happy to take this to government on behalf of his consituents. He has stated many times that he believes that the preservation of human rights are of major concern and utmost importance.

  • ariel,

    Nice idea. By splitting, a new org could establish, for example, human rights standards for admission.

    Possible snag: much of what the UN which no-one hears about (because it’s not controversial) is boring bureaucratic stuff like co-ordinating international mail. Every country needs to be a part of that simply to function in a global community.

    The democratic countries would still need to be a part of that, and only secede from the highly politicized aspects of the UN.

  • Malki Rose says:

    so how do you secede ‘in part’?

    I am thinking, though, that perhaps if the petitions reach Government, and Government reaches the UN, then maybe, just maybe, the threat of seceding nations might be sufficient grounds for the UN to reconsider their decision?

    Or am I am being overly optimistic and a tad idealistic?

  • Malki,

    That’s why it was a “possible snag”. Yes, you are being way optimistic. The way the UN engages with difficult situations is most eloquently described by this classic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSXNJMP8ir4

  • Shira Wenig says:

    OK, how about a petition to get the UN to form some new councils – UN Genuine Human Rights Council and UN Security-For-All Council. The democratic nations could secede from the farcical current ones (except for Israel, which doesn’t have to secede, as it’s not allowed to join) and join the new ones.

  • Mohan to frosh says:

    No nedd to put an anti-israeli slant on it. If Israel voted against it it should be acknowledged. However, the problem is that apologists try to hide israel’s colonisation behind this vote. They are two separate things.

  • Mohan to Malki says:

    i willbe hap[y to signs the petition and join any action against the vote.

  • confused says:

    3 people signing an ignored petition is no where near as entertaining as a good theology debate

  • Marky says:

    It’s not just 3 people. There are in fact six. Malki, Frosh, David, Shira,Gregory and Mohan..

  • Andrew says:

    Here’s an article published in MCV about the UN resolution against summary executions of same-sex attracted people:
    http://www.mcv.gaynewsnetwork.com.au/news/un-back-down-on-gay-rights-condemned-008202.html

  • ariel says:

    I’m still waiting for calls from the GLW crew for the dismantling of Japan and China (inter alia) for their racism and colonialism.

    Of course, these people don’t seem to know what colonialism actually is.
    It’s what the British did in India when they introduced racism and tried to change the culture to be more British, read “civilised”.
    It’s what the Russians did in Central Asia and the Baltics to annex other countries, deny locals their right to practice their own cultures and force them to be more Russian. (Israel has never annexes and entire independent country).
    It’s what China does in Tibet, forcefully removing Tibetans and relocating them to China and then transferring Han Chinese into Tibet.
    It’s what Turkey continues to do to Kurdistan

    I’m yet to see Israel:
    a) Deny Palestinians the right to practice their culture and language
    b) Force Palestinians to become Jewish and accept another culture
    c) Denying the Palestinians the right to self governance (where in the world of colonialism has there been a so-called colonised people allowed to vote for their own representative government?)
    d) Forcibly remove Palestinian children from their homes and have them raised in Jewish families (c.f. Stolen Generations in Australia)

    On the contrary – going back to the original article above – we have GLBT Palestinians and Egyptians fleeing to Israel for safety.

    And finally, it’s not colonisation when you are returning to your ancestral homeland and it is not dispossession when you legally purchase property and obtain the deeds as was done in the 1800’s-1949.

  • Boychick says:

    Pat Condell has a few things to say about the United Nations and human rights:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ana9w3uSNA

    He gets my vote.

    Boychick.

  • Boychick says:

    Pat Condell also has a few things to say about an alarming human rights situation in Sweden where Jews are coming off second best.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZtc2ma2GEQ

    Boychick.

  • Mohan to ariel says:

    This is an argument for ignorance. India colonised India and ruled it, it did not dispalce indigenous indians. What Israel is doing is closer to the US, Australian example – displacing an indigenous people with settler colonisers.

    And Israel is not merely destroying Palestinian culture – it demolished over 200 Palestinian villages inside Israel. Placed Palestinians under military rule for decades and legally discriminates against land ownership by non-Jewish people.

    Now to the settlements and barrier – they are being built by demolishing farms and houses and placing armed settlers in Arab neighbourhoods who destroy their crops and attack them – the peace block in Israel rotinely guards Arabs from settler attacks during olive harvests.

    Now come exclusive highways, Arabs cut off from springs and check posts – this eviddently is not destruction of Palestinian society and culture !

  • Mohan to ariel says:

    Ariel read the history of Ireland and India they had the right to elect representatives. Such arguments appeal to ignorance not depend upon knowledge.

  • ariel says:

    Mohan,

    I’m not sure how many times Frosh and I have to explain it to you:

    The British had no connection to India (nor any of their other colonies)!
    The French, Dutch, Belgians, Spanish and Portugese had no connection at all to their African and Asian colonies!

    The Jewish people simply did what no other nation has done: reclaimed sovreignty in their own homeland, Israel. When the Aborigines reclaim sovreignty in Australia, the same will have been done.

  • Mohan to ariel2 says:

    Sorry Ariel this basing ourself on myths to justify colonisation. What connection – except litirgical – do European, Bagdadi, Indian, Chinese, Ethiopean, yemeni, Iranian Jews have with Israel ? By the same token, Indonesian Muslims could claim a right to Jerusalem or Mecca and Irish cathiolics to the Vatican.

  • Mohan to ariel2 says:

    And incdentally any nation in the world claims sovreignty over the territory it is located in. A scattered people are not a nation because of a common religion. I know Askhenazi Jews in Eastern Europe have similar traits and partly a shared language. That is about it, except religion there is no common nationality between Ethiopean, Indian, Berber and Iranian Jews.

  • Marky says:

    The arguing can go on ad infinitum, until everyone is blue in the face(and more). Bottom line Israel is the country of the Jews and the Jews are a nation in addition to being a religion. Mohan disagrees? So what? I am sure he disagrees with me on a variety of issues. I can’t see what the aim of all this discussion is, besides being totally irrelevant to the subject of this thread.

  • Mohan to Marky says:

    You are right. People are free to believe in a flat earth – the problem is when they try to persuade others that the earth is flat and insist that people base their practice on this “truth”.

    What we saw is the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of Israeli apologia – the presenting of lies as truth, and when they are exposed, produce a fresh batch of untruths. Beliefs are harmless so long as they remain beliefs and are not the basis of political practice – that is when they are bound to be subject to rational scrutiny, as in the case of sharia laws, or blasphemy laws etc.

    The belief in a nationhood is harmless so long as it is just that – but using that as the basis of a superior claim on a land over the indigenous people cannot go unchallenged.

  • Marky says:

    Again, only your opinion(flat earth yourself). Of course you will keep to it, while the great majority of this forum probably disagree with you. So again, what do you expect to gain by continuing to argue when it is all parallel as it has been from the start and will continue to be so?

  • Galus Australis says:

    The topic being discussed here is unrelated to the post. Further such comments may be removed.

    Commenters who continually hijack threads in an attempt (with mind-numbing repetition) to delegitimize the Jewish people may find themselves placed in pre-moderation.

  • Mohan to Galus says:

    We seem to have reached the limit of freedom of expression. Galus would have been right if he/she had stepped in earlier. But stating a position as axiomatic truth is alright but shining the light of reason and evidence on it is not.

  • http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/12/11/3090867.htm?section=world

    US fights for gay inclusion in UN execution stance

    Posted Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:16pm AEDT

    The United States is trying to restore a reference to gay people in a UN resolution condemning unjustified executions.

    African and Arab states, some of which outlaw homosexuality, narrowly succeeded in deleting the reference last month.

    But the US Ambassador at the UN, Susan Rice says she wants an explicit reference to executions over a person’s sexual preference.

    “We urge you to stand again with us, and with all vulnerable people around the world at risk of violence,” she said.

    “We’re going to fight to restore the reference to sexual orientation. We’re going to stand firm on this basic principle, and we intend to win.”

  • Jonathan Danilowitz says:

    The UN is a shamefull stain on modern society, in spite of its lofty ideals.
    Just the other day I posted a blog on the issue; here is the link for the convenience of thinking people:
    http://reallyisrael.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/the-shamshame-called-un/
    Robert Weil’s words accurately reflect my own feeling:
    “From my perspective the action of the U.N. in failing to condemn the execution of gays is (sadly and sickeningly) consistent with their record of condemning Israel at every opportunity.”

  • Eds: Michael, You seem to be confusing GA for your Facebook wall. Please do not post entire articles from other news sources in the comments section (for one thing, this may be a violation of copyright), and do not paste links without providing a context.

  • UN reverses stance on killing of gays. Great news.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/12/22/3099370.htm

    Michael.

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