As a welcome article in Israel's paper of record, Haaretz (reposted below) explains, "the Jews" (as their neighbors refer to them) have indeed made the desert bloom, but with a flower more rare and beautiful than any mere shrub- or cactus-blossom. It's no secret that modern standards of respect for diversity thrive in the Hebrew democracy--not to mention the fun bars, nice beaches and stuff--amidst what has to be said is still a region where such life-giving resources remain as scarce as precious H20. Albeit not non-existent--TBR is on record as supporting the beleaguered liberal-secular forces of the Arab Spring from the start (see our entry made from a hotel in Wisconsin or Minnesota or some such place (that was a helluva confusing trip) en route to Cairo, dated February 20, 2011).
Although, by contrast, skeptics of the American academic uber-left may go to absurd lengths to call it "pinkwashing the occupation" (see for example CUNY prof. Sarah Schulman's November 22 NYT op-ed, "Israel and Pinkwashing"), TBR believes no sensible person denies the fact that gay rights are infinitely richer and more secure in Tel Aviv (called the "White City" for its plethora of Bauhaus architecture) than in Cairo or Tehran, much less Gaza or the West Bank, and that this matters greatly. If-and-hopefully-when, someday, the changes set in motion by the Arab Spring mean that a new Syria can boast a Damascus voted "best gay travel destination" in the Muslim world, then I suspect we will have finally seen peace in the middle east as well.
Until that to-be-wished-for day comes, however, the "fight for gay rights"--among other liberal democratic principles--may well remain unavoidably a fight per se at times. Menacingly, one conducted of late under the intensifying threat of a potentially nuclear-armed--and only "incidentally" homophobic and misogynist?--totalitarian regime in Iran.
So does that mean, as the 1980's disco sensation had it, "Frankie Say War--Hide Yourself"? Unappealing as it sounds, there may be no pinkwashing the hegemonic aspirations of Iran's reactionary Islamofascist tyranny, or of avoiding facing-up to the very real stakes of a conflict that has in some ways already begun. Or of hiding what each side stands for. To the mullahs of Iran: "We're here...get used to it!" to coin a phrase. Jewish atheist communist capitalist imperialist nationalist sodomites, pornographers, organ peddlers, "fake" European Jews, exploiters of the phony "Holocaust industry" and fans of disco music (or just kvestioning), unite!
Or at least plan a lovely vacation to conveniently located Tel Aviv in 2012.
What follows appeared in Haaretz on 01/11/12.
Tel Aviv declared world's best gay travel destination
In a world-wide survey hosted GayCities.com and American Airlines, 43 percent of voters cast their ballot in favor of the White City, pushing it ahead of other proud towns including New York, Toronto and London.By Haaretz Tags: Israel travel Israel culture Tel Aviv
In a world-wide survey conducted by GayCities.com and American Airlines, 43 percent of voters cast their ballot in favor of the White City, followed by New York City with 14 per cent, Toronto with 7 per cent, Sao Paulo with 6 per cent, Madrid and London with 5 per
cent each and New Orleans and Mexico City with 4 per cent each.
Participants at the annual Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade sporting Israeli and Swedish flags, June 10, 2011.
|Photo by: Moti Kimche|
The crowning title of Best City was just one of the categories included in the competition of gay destinations. New York scored top votes for Best Night Life, San Francisco took Best Pride, Paris won Best Food and Seattle got Best Settle Down City. The smaller city of Buffalo took in quite a few votes itself, and was declared Best Up and Coming City.
Tel Aviv has always been known as a gay-friendly place, but it upped its presence around the world this year with a number of different activities, including its Tel Aviv Gay Vibe campaign, organized in coordination with the municipality's Ministry of Tourism.
About 5,000 gay tourists were recorded as visiting Tel Aviv last June for the annual Gay Pride Parade – 25 percent more than in 2010. Now that it's been voted best city, Tel Aviv can probably expect even more foreign visitors this June.
Link to this article as it appeared originally in Haaretz, http://www.haaretz.com/travel-in-israel/tel-aviv-declared-world-s-best-gay-travel-destination-1.406699