For Israel’s First Openly Gay Cabinet Member, the Hostility Comes from the Left

June 17 2019

Last week the Likud Knesset member Amir Ohana—who was appointed minister of justice earlier this month—appeared at the Jerusalem gay-pride parade, where he was greeted with boos and jeers. A former official in the Shin Bet and a lawyer, Ohana most recently attracted controversy when he suggested in an interview that in certain circumstances the executive branch ought not follow the dictates of the Supreme Court. Ruthie Blum takes stock of Ohana’s opponents:

Nothing about [Ohana’s] ideology, or the criticism of it, is unusual for a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party. But Ohana is placed in a category of his own. Being an openly gay man who has spent the past three-and-a-half years sharing the Knesset plenum with Orthodox Jews and Arabs will do that, or so one would think. Yet, as it happens, that’s not where Ohana gets most of the flak. No, his angriest defamers are far-left members of the LGBT community, who consider him a traitor to the cause.

This is ridiculous, of course. But then, few people are as hypocritical as radicals whose agenda includes portraying Israel as a homophobic apartheid state that “pinkwashes” its abuse of Palestinians by pointing to its human- and gay-rights record.

As an outspoken critic of this obscenely false depiction of his country—which is a haven for Palestinian gays fleeing the tortures of their genuinely oppressive, intolerant, and homophobic society—Ohana naturally raises the hackles of those who spread the propaganda like poison, and who provide fodder for Israel’s enemies abroad. You know, those who campaign for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement to delegitimize the Jewish state. Even to the point where they don’t want Israelis participating in their gay-pride parades. There’s irony for you. . . .

Indeed, contrary to a common misconception, Ohana’s gay pride is of little interest or consequence to his supporters on the right, while the pride he takes in himself—as “a Jew, an Israeli, a Mizraḥi, a homosexual, a Likudnik, a hawk, a liberal, and a proponent of a free-market economy”—is a source of consternation and disgust among left-wingers who share his sexual orientation.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: BDS, Homosexuality, Israeli politics

 

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela