Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Tel Aviv Gay Bombings, The Birmingham Church Massacre; History Teaches Us?

70,000 in Tel Aviv for vigil, August 8, 2009

1963 Birmingham Church Bombing

The Tel Aviv Gay Massacre, the Birmingham Church Bombings; History Teaches Us?

Lethal dynamite has made Sunday, September 15, 1963, a Day of Sorrow and Shame in Birmingham, Alabama. Four who were attending Sunday School at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church were killed. Their bodies were stacked up on top of each other like bales of hay from the crumbling ruins left by the dynamiting. They were girls. They were children. They were members of a minority; African Americans. They were victims of cruel madness, the vile bigotry and the deadly hate of unknown persons.

Society in a free country has a solemn responsibility to itself and those who make it up. Free men are bound by an irrevocable civic contract to safeguard the rights, safety, and security of all of its members.

More than 70,000 people thronged Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, August 8th, 2009 for an event to express solidarity with the homosexual community after a deadly attack on a gay club a week ago, organizers said.

President Shimon Peres was among speakers at the meeting on Yitzhak Rabin Square outside the city hall.

"The shots which struck this proud community affected us all as human beings, as Jews and as Israelis. The man who targeted the two victims targeted all of us," Peres said.

Two people died when a masked, black-clad gunman opened fire on the group of young gays and lesbians at the entrance to the community center in the heart of Israel’s commercial capital late on Saturday August 1, 2009.

These two horrible incidents 46 years apart reflect how bigotry and hatred have not changed in five decades. Whether it is right wing zealots or racist politicians, the Reverend Dobson or the late Gov. George Wallace, the result is the same. People will be driven to violence when a group of people, a minority gays or African Americans are minimized and discriminated against.

Both deadly actions were followed by demonstrations and pleas for understanding. In 1963 two additional youths lost their lives in bloody riots. Thankfully, so far no additional lives were lost in Israel. However bomb threats were called in for the demonstration held last Saturday, not unlike the KKK that threatened the church services for the slain little girls in Birmingham.

The Orthodox Jewish community of Israel has blood on its hands for calling homosexuality a perversion. They, like Lester Maddox, George Wallace, and the KKK have stirred hate and for that, there is no excuse. I am ashamed today to have been raised an Orthodox Jew. They have sullied the name of religion forever in my heart.

Have a peaceful and inclusive week.

Nate Klarfeld

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