Is The Beheading Of A Gay Palestinian Man News Or Opinion?

There are reported to be roughly 90 gay Palestinian Arabs who have moved to Israel and granted asylum as they fear for their lives from their homophobic Arab neighbors. Last week, one such man, Ahmad Abu Murkhiyeh, 25 years old, was beheaded and his body and torso were dumped near his home in Hebron. A video of the slaughter was taken and then circulated on Arab social media.

Ahmad Abu Murkhiyeh (Social media)

Israeli news outlets reported on the event shortly afterwards. APNews, Barron’s and BBC reported the event a day later. US News & World Report picked up the AP story, and conservative sites like FoxNews and Washington Free Beacon reported on the event as well.

Arab sites like Al Jazeera and Wafa would not cover the event. The liberal media like MSNBC and The New York Times also remained silent on the story. Well, the Times finally got to it. Sort of.

The paper did not cover the brutal beheading of a homosexual on its cover page nor its World News section. It actually didn’t cover the story in its news section at all.

Only in the Opinion section, did it share the thoughts of its most conservative columnist, Bret Stephens, who wrote about “A Cruel Death In Hebron,” which a reader might think was possibly committed by an Israeli. In the article, Stephens not only took aim at Palestinian society which enables such heinous acts, but Palestinian supporters who ignore and whitewash the systemic evil and corruption.

That includes his own paper, which he politely/ politically omitted.

It’s actually even worse than Stephens points out. Liberal and Arab media not only ignore Palestinian Arab actions but exaggerate the actions of Israeli Jews. The Times posts articles about “settler violence” but fails to report that even by the jaundiced United Nations accounting, Palestinian Arab violence far surpasses that of “settlers.”

Ignoring rampant Palestinian Arab violence and incitement while only reporting on Israeli actions paints a false narrative of one party attacking a helpless minority. It is as though the liberal media looks to Al Jazeera for permission on what it can report. Left wing media has essentially become a parrot of Palestinian propaganda that they sometimes “resort” to violence.

If the brutal beheading of a gay Palestinian man cannot be mentioned – let alone condemned – by liberals and Muslim “activists” while they decry any perceived problem committed by Israeli Jews, then the left wing and Arab media and communities have admitted their profound anti-Semitic bias. It is not news, but further evidence that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, and Jews must be guarded in the company they keep.

Related articles:

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

You Cannot Be Progressive And Pro-Palestinian

Apartheid In Palestinian Authority, Not Israel

Palestineism is Toxic Racism

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Letter To Send To Liberal Members of Congress Attacking Yeshiva University

On September 23, 2022, six liberal members of Congress wrote a letter to Yeshiva University denouncing its decision to not officially recognize a LGBTQ+ club. The letter is full of inaccuracies and fuels anti-religious hatred at a time that anti-Semitic crimes are already at record highs.

Penned by outgoing Congressman Mondaire Jones, and cosigned by Representatives Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), it contends that Yeshiva University prohibited the formation of a Pride Alliance Club which is completely false. The club already exists. YU just did not give it official recognition as it runs counter to the school’s religious mission.

Below is a letter to send to each of the members of congress, whom you can contact by clicking their names here: Mondaire Jones; Adriano Espaillat; Paul Tonko; Carolyn Maloney; Jamaal Bowman; and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. If you do not live in their districts and cannot email them, you can still call them.


I could not disagree more with your letter to Yeshiva University, both in tone and summary of your impressions on the matter.

1. The school does not discriminate against any student, counter to your claims. There is no team, club, class, event or any activity that is available to some students and not others. It is a disgraceful slur to state that the school does not treat some of its students “as full human beings.”

2. There is already a Pride Alliance at the school. There is membership and events that have been going on for years. The school took no actions to ban the group.

3. The existing group asked for official recognition by the school, which the school declined to do – as it does for all groups that run counter to its beliefs as a religious institution. That is not selective discrimination against the LGBT community. It would have rejected a Cheeseburger Club as well. It is outrageous for a member of Congress to suggest, let alone dictate, how and what a religious institution can approve and sanction.

4. The courts sided with the Pride Alliance solely because it does not believe that YU is a religious institution and thinks it a secular one. The fact is that YU is non-binary, being both religious and secular, a situation that does not fall neatly into the legal charter boxes. It is a position that members of the LGBTQ+ community should understand.

5. This case has nothing to do with discrimination but the government’s refusal to recognize the religious character of a leading Jewish modern Orthodox institution. Your letter feeds a false narrative targeting religious Jews as discriminating against LGBT students and fuels anti-Semitic sentiment which is already at terrible levels. In fact, it is the government that has refused to recognize the university’s non-binary status, and now you are attempting to dictate how a religious institution should operate.

I urge you to amend your statement as your actions are impacting the entire modern Orthodox community. Please read the following article for a better understanding of the situation, rather than glossing information from anti-religious media.


Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman


Yeshiva University

500 West 185th Street

New York, NY 10033

Dear Dr. Berman:

Over the past weeks, we have followed the Supreme Court’s rulings affecting LGBTQ+ students at Yeshiva University who wish to form a peer support club, the YU Pride Alliance. Many of these students are our constituents.

We write to express our support for these students and for the rights of all LGBTQ+ students to equal treatment in New York State’s educational institutions. We urge the University to do everything possible to care for its LGBTQ+ students as full human beings in the campus community, including to recognize their student group. 

We understand the LGBTQ+ students at Yeshiva University seek to form a student group that provides a safe space for discussion and connection. Research confirms that LGBTQ+ students face discrimination, isolation, higher rates of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, and other challenges as they navigate their college years. Gay-straight alliances and student-led clubs that provide safe spaces for LGBTQ+ students to support each other and discuss issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity are critical to student health and success. Other proudly religious universities in New York have navigated this terrain, recognizing LGBTQ+ student groups as a critical resource for their students; it is time for Yeshiva University to do the same.

We are disappointed with the University’s recent decision to suspend all student groups in order to avoid recognizing the YU Pride Alliance. This move pits students against each other and risks further isolating LGBTQ+ students at Yeshiva University. We also believe this action to be in tension with your recent statement that Yeshiva University’s “commitment and love for [its] LGBTQ students are unshakeable.”

As members of Congress representing New York, we believe that the equal treatment of LGBTQ+ students and the provision of safe spaces for their well-being are consistent with established federal public policy. We know our concerns for the well-being of LGBTQ+ students at Yeshiva University are shared by many who care deeply about the institution—Jewish clergy, University faculty, alumni, current students, and local elected officials.

We encourage the University to extend its hand to its LGBTQ+ students, and their allies, who have bravely come forward telling you what they need to flourish as students and community members at Yeshiva University. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yeshiva University – And Modern Orthodoxy – Are Non-Binary

Yeshiva University is in a lawsuit with some of its gay students in a case about discrimination that rose to the Supreme Court, and is hurting its reputation among progressives. Yet the case has nothing to do with discrimination, as it is about the inherent non-binary nature of modern Orthodoxy, something the progressive and LGBT community should understand.

A Modern Orthodox Institution

Yeshiva University is the flagship university of modern Orthodoxy in the world. Founded in New York City in 1886, the school has grown considerably, and now consists of three undergraduate schools – Yeshiva College for Men, Stern College for Women, and the Sy Syms School of Business – and numerous graduate schools.

While the entire university operates under a mission statement of providing an excellent education coupled with strong ethical and moral values, the undergraduate schools have a particular dual curriculum which stresses “the timeless teachings of Torah“, the Hebrew Bible and associated texts. The students learn Talmud, Mishnah, the Old Testament, the Prophets and various other texts for several hours every morning before focusing on secular studies. The long morning sessions are often rounded out by students with “night seder“, where they continue to study the ancient texts.

All of the discussions and classes are done through a modern Orthodox lens. Even beyond the school walls, the school posts old and new classes (shiurim) online on its website for students, alumni and others. Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchick (1903-1993) has 525 classes on the site and Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein (1933-2015) has 465. The rabbis are all modern Orthodox, many of whom were ordained at the university’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), its rabbinical school. The school even has a rabbinic placement office where it places rabbis in modern Orthodox schools and synagogues around the world.

The school acts as much more than a school for young Jews: it is very much part of the global modern Orthodox world.

No one questions the religious orientation of the school. Its mission statement is clearly laid out: “At Yeshiva University, our mission, Torah Umadda, is to bring wisdom to life through all that we teach, by all that we do and for all those we serve.” The phrase, “Torah Umadda” means Jewish commandments together with worldly knowledge. The term is emblazoned on the university’s logo in Hebrew, atop an outline of a Torah.

All Backgrounds Are Welcome

While the school is modern Orthodox, it does not limit admission to only Jews of that denomination. The Judaic part of the program has four tracks, enabling the students to find a level of study appropriate for their background and interest. For example, the James Striar School is designed “for students less familiar with Hebrew language and textual study.

Students who attend the school typically come from modern Orthodox high schools and families but not exclusively. All of the students understand that regardless of their backgrounds, the school is run as a modern Orthodox institution. For example, while some students may not be strictly kosher in their homes, they will only find kosher foods in the school cafeteria. Even if they do not observe the Sabbath in their homes, they will be expected to do so in the dormitories.

The students have a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities which specifically calls out freedom of expression, association and from discrimination:

  • Students have the right to examine and exchange diverse ideas, consistent with the mission of the University, in an orderly, respectful and lawful manner inside and outside the classroom.”
  • Students have the right to associate and interact freely with other individuals, groups of individuals, organizations and institutions in a manner that does not infringe on the rights of others or interfere with the mission of the University.
  • Students who are otherwise qualified have the right to participate fully in the University community without discrimination as defined by federal, state and local law.

As seen in the selection above, students’ rights are protected, as long as they are consistent with the mission of the university, which is infused and directed by the modern Orthodox interpretation of the Torah. That is further qualified by being able to participate in the community, without discrimination as defined by U.S. law.

LGBT Students

As described above, all students are welcomed at the university. The YU student body does not exclude people because of race, religious denomination, sexual orientation, disability or any other feature. The school has LGBT students and faculty and everyone is allowed to participate in all activities. There is no activity that is open to straight or cisgender students that is not available to others.

The LGBT students at Yeshiva have a club called the Pride Alliance. It is a student run club that decided it wanted to become an officially recognized club by the university, which would enable it to have a small budget and access to email addresses and school facilities. The school declined to give the club official status because it viewed the club’s mission as not in concert with the university’s mission as a modern Orthodox institution. It would have denied officially recognizing the club if straight cisgender students applied for the LGBT club as well. The university rejected the club, not the students.

As there is no bias against any individual in the university, there is no basic argument for discrimination. Any claim for discrimination would therefore rest on an argument that the university singled out the LGBT club while permitting other similar clubs to get official recognition.

Club Recognition and a Torah Mission

The university mission rests on the modern Orthodox interpretation of the 613 mitzvot (commandments) in the Torah. The list is commonly broken down into 248 positive commandments (like honor one’s parents) and 365 negative commandments (do not commit adultery).

The 365 negative commandments include many related to idol worship, to defiling the Temple and religious holidays, financial matters and sexual relationships. The school does not endorse any club that runs afoul of these negative commandments.

For example, if students asked for official recognition of a shatnez club (garments made from wool and linen), the school would decline based on the Torah (Leviticus 19:20). If a group of students wanted to arrange a ghost and sorcery club, the school would have blocked its establishment (Leviticus 19:32, 20:6, 20:27). Similarly for cross-dressing (Deuteronomy 22:5) and various forms of incest (Leviticus 20:10-21).

Some progressive members of the Orthodox community argue that the prohibition in Leviticus 18:22Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is an abhorrence,” relates to male-male sexual relationships only, and has nothing to do with lesbians or passively being gay. As such, the school should allow the club if it abstains from discussing or promoting gay sexual relationships.

That solution is problematic on multiple levels.

The school does not monitor student clubs. Should it allow the club but insist on monitoring it, that action could actually run afoul of U.S. discrimination laws, as the school would uniquely be singling out the club for oversight. If the university just allowed the lesbian club at the women’s school, it might also run afoul of discrimination according to U.S. law, allowing a club for one gender but not the other.

The university’s approach has been to follow the same guidelines it expects from its students: “to associate and interact freely with other individuals, groups of individuals, organizations and institutions in a manner that does not infringe on the rights of others or interfere with the mission of the University.”

Is Yeshiva University Religious or Secular?

The legal case about discrimination seems very straight-forward, which begs why the courts did not dismiss the case quickly in favor of the university.

In June 2022, New York Judge Lynn Kotler said that the university is chartered as a secular organization and is therefore subject to the city’s human rights law barring discrimination based on sexual orientation. The court also said the university offers too many secular degrees to qualify for religious exemptions, and therefore the school must recognize the LGBT club.

Kotler is technically correct that the school did check off the secular box in its charter. However, the choice before the institution was binary, either secular of religious. Had there been a third choice of both, the school would definitely have chosen that, as consistent with its mission of Torah Umaddah, Jewish religious teaching and worldly knowledge.

The non-binary position of YU should be abundantly recognizable to progressives and the LGBT community. The LGBT Foundation has a page on its website for “Non-Binary Inclusion.” It is used for individuals who do not feel that the discrete choices of male/female apply to them: “Non-binary people feel their gender identity cannot be defined within the margins of gender binary. Instead, they understand their gender in a way that goes beyond simply identifying as either a man or woman.

In a similar way, while secular Jews feel comfortable with the ‘secular’ label and ultra Orthodox / Haredi Jews like to be called ‘religious’, the modern Orthodox community does not fit neatly into either camp. It is both at the same time.

That fact is abundantly clear to the courts which are taking the narrow view of how the institution chose to designate itself according to the U.S. courts’ rigid charter choices, rather than acknowledging the reality that YU is both secular and religious, and cannot be compelled to officially recognize a club that is not in keeping with its reading of religious texts.

Progressive Activists Within Modern Orthodoxy

While the courts should be expected to ultimately understand the non-binary nature of YU, the LGBT students at YU know this better than anyone. Not only were they enrolled in an institution that lives the combined worlds of secular and religious everyday, many of the students live with their own duality of their sexual orientation within the university’s particular duality, like nested matryoshka dolls.

While it is undoubtedly understood, the progressive modern Orthodox community is looking to break the LGBT taboo.

While many non-Orthodox rabbis have begun to recognize gay weddings over the past few years, almost all Orthodox rabbis still do not officiate. Some progressive modern Orthodox rabbis have been trying to dance the line, congratulating gay couples from the synagogue bima, and some attend the wedding services, even when not officiating, in an attempt to welcome the individuals.

By pushing this matter in the courts, the LGBT and progressive communities are trying to force the entire modern Orthodox community to officially recognize the legitimacy of their relationships. It is a outcome that some in the modern Orthodox community are comfortable doing on a secular basis but almost all cannot on a religious basis.

Even more immediate and pressing, a great many socially-conservative members of the modern Orthodox community are appalled that the LGBT students have gone to the U.S. courts to force such a matter, and the progressive members of the community are angered at YU’s stance, as they would like to see a change in the community to accept such unions.

The New York and/or the Supreme Court will most likely decide in favor of YU in this case and that discrete matter will be settled. But the Jewish community must get past their internal anger and grievances on this topic, and appreciate that the modern Orthodox community is itself non-binary, and afford the rabbis and religious institutions the same grace and space it readily gives to non-binary individuals.

Related articles:

Pride. Jewish and Gay

Leading Gay Activists Hate Religious Children

US State Department Will Not Promote LGBT Human Rights In The Middle East Outside of Israel

US State Department Will Not Promote LGBT Human Rights In The Middle East Outside of Israel

On June 1, 2022, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken issued a press release “Commemorating Pride Month.” In his comments he said that “the U.S. Department of State recommits to protecting and promoting the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world.

Does it really?

The US Embassy in Israel put the Blinken press release on its website. It even added a rainbow logo with “Pride 2022” beneath “U.S. Embassy Jerusalem” in the article.

US embassy in Israel reprints entire message about “LGBTQI+ communities”, including producing a rainbow logo

Yet there wasn’t a single other US embassy anywhere in the entire Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) that reposted the pride press release. Not in Egypt. Not in Jordan. Not in Iraq. Not in Saudi Arabia.

According to the Williams Institute that did a country ranking of LGBT acceptance, Israel ranked as the 44th most accepting country. Egypt ranked 159. Jordan was 167. Iraq was 94.

“Palestine” was ranked at 130 and was called out as one of five lands that had “very little change in acceptance between 2010 and 2020.

It would seem that the United States will only work at “protecting and promoting the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons” in countries that already protect and promote human rights.

Related articles:

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

Is Ilhan Omar’s Mentor the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei?

Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has gotten herself into repeated hot water for attacks on Israel and its supporters, as many people have viewed her comments as anti-Semitic. She is emblematic of a new group of alt-left politicians who squarely focus on Israel and any of its perceived misdeeds.

It is a curious phenomenon, not only because Israel is the most liberal country in the Middle East / North Africa (MENA) region by far, but that people like Omar pay no attention to their native countries as they attack Israel.

Consider an important point for progressives – the death penalty. Only Israel and Oman had zero executions and zero people sentenced to death in 2017 among the MENA countries. In Omar’s native Somalia, 24 people were executed by the government, almost double the total of 14 in 2016.

Israel is one of only five countries in MENA in which being gay is legal. In several countries, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, being gay is a capital offense, with most gays hung from cranes in the center of the city. In Ilhan’s native Somalia, being gay is punishable with jail time.

The dynamic is much the same regarding women’s rights. Israel is one of only five MENA countries that score in the top half of the world’s rankings for inclusion, justice and safety for women. Ilhan’s native Somalia is ranked as one of the worst countries in the world for women. It is estimated that 95% of females in Somalia have forced genital mutilation. It is ranked as the worst country for maternal health.

The problems for Somalia continue. It is ranked as number 180 out of 180 by Transparency International Corruption Index, the worst country in the world. Israel ranked as number 34 out of 180, in the top quintile.

Somalia is considered the worst countries to be a journalist according to the Global Impunity Index of 2017 – worse than even Syria and Iraq.

Regardless of the issue – gay rights, women’s rights, environmental matters, animal rights, freedom of speech, press and religion – Israel performs better than its neighbors. It is in a completely different league than Somalia which is one of the worst counties in the world by every measure.

So why would an immigrant from Somalia to the United States focus so much of her attention on a small country thousands of miles from the United States? Why would a new member of Congress not be concerned with her failed native land? Is it in her constituents’ interests for her to be admonished by fellow Democrats for an obsessive focus on Israel?

As detailed in “Rep. Ilhan Omar and The 2001 Durban Racism Conference,” many Arab and Muslim countries – and their supporters – believe that Israel is an inherently racist enterprise, built on the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinian Arabs and the theft of Muslim holy lands. They believe that the supporters of such evil regime – the United States being the most powerful – are either evil and racist themselves (like Donald Trump), or are being manipulated by Zionist forces.  All of Ilhan Omar’s comments to date seemingly support this viewpoint: the Jewish State is racist and that pro-Zionists are racists and/or are manipulated by racist puppet-masters. Sounds pretty anti-Semitic, no?

Should Omar want to wash the stain of obsessive anti-Zionism which is very much tied to anti-Semitism, there is a simple action she could take: clearly declare that Israel has a right to exist in peace and security. Without such statement, no one will consider anything else she has to say. Other helpful actions would include:

  • Acknowledging the Jewish people’s long history in the holy land going back thousands of years, including being the majority of Jerusalem since the 1860’s
  • Acknowledging that the Jewish people have a right to self-determination
  • Acknowledging that Israel is a liberal democracy
  • Acknowledging Israel’s remarkable contributions to the world in the areas of technology and medicine
  • Acknowledging that all people in the United States have a right to advocate for the causes they hold dear, including the pro-Israel community
  • Considering Israel within the scope of its neighbors, and not pretending it resides in a peaceful neighborhood like Sweden
  • Considering the Israel-Palestinian Conflict within the scope of other territorial disputes, including: Cyprus-Turkey; Morocco-Western Sahara; China-Tibet; and India-Pakistan over Kashmir

No one will ever claim that anyone or any country is perfect; that’s the beauty and shame of being human. In being flawed, there is always room for improvement. Constructive criticism from a friend is an important part of growing. People who love America want America to be better, and people who love Israel want Israel to be better.

However, what is most unwelcome is for someone with no connection and no relationship to the country and who hasn’t shared a positive word, to chastise it on a global stage and urge for punitive actions. How much hatred must such a person harbor to go out of their way and ignore much worse and more immediate issues, to assault a people who have been subject to more hatred and attacks than any people on earth?

Omar tweeted in August 2017 “Syria’s Assad has become an icon of the far right in America,” suggesting that some Americans were interested in murdering hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens. She cannot be surprised if some of her fellow Americans who proudly support the Jewish State compare her and her alt-left comrades to the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who seeks a new Muslim Caliphate and the destruction of Israel. This is the echo of Omar’s own words.

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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.

Related First.One.Through articles:

Gay Rights in the Middle East

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

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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

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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.

Related First.One.Through articles:

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

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The Gender Diamonds

How does one label bathrooms for 30+ gender identities?


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 taking 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?

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.


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.”

Related First.One.Through articles:

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