Israel’s education minister Rafi Peretz provoked a storm of outrage last month when, during an interview, he backed “gay conversion therapy”, a discredited pseudo-medical technique that seeks to turn gays into heterosexuals. His remarks provoked condemnations by public figures from across the Israeli political spectrum, including from Amir Ohana, the openly gay justice minister, who said of comments by the far-right MK: “Sexual orientation does not require therapy nor conversion. Preconceived notions and ignorance require therapy and conversion.”
Tye Gregory, executive director of A Wider Bridge, an organisation which aims to build support for Israel and LGBTQ Israelis, called for Peretz to resign, and, in a press release noting that he was in gay marriage, said they won’t allow bigots to dictate who they love, not define “how to be Jewish”.
Though it may seem on the surface like an entirely different issue, the tsunami of antisemitism within the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has similarly often centered around the insistence by British Jews that non-Jews shouldn’t have the right to define how Jews should be Jews. Those Labour activists who advocate for anti-Zionism (an opposition to the existence of a Jewish state) are doing just that by demanding that, for acceptance into their ‘progressive’ community, Jews renounce and abandon a key component of their Jewish identity.
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