Sunday, August 12, 2007

Human Rights Watch Omits Israeli, Iraqi, Russian, UK Groups from Resource List

The gay division at the Human Rights Watch in New York recently web-published a global round-up of LGBT groups, and for unknown reasons, Israel, and that country's numerous gay organizations, are totally absent.
HRW shares links to groups addressing our issues and helping LGBT people in only three Middle East countries: Iran, Lebanon and Palestine.
From HRW's introduction to their list:
"These are links to groups worldwide which advocate for an end to discrimination and abuse based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This list is far from exhaustive."
Yep, not anywhere near exhaustive, and the question of why HRW would publish such a list without making sure it is exhaustive, must be raised. Plus, how hard could it have been for the multimillion-dollar HRW to Google gay groups in Israel, or in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa?
I applaud HRW for including the Middle East LGBT organizations that made the cut for the list, and hope many American gays visit the web sites for those groups.
It's beyond my comprehension how the gay staff at HRW could omit Israel and her LGBT advocacy organizations from their list. In a very concrete way, HRW has erased Israel, and her gay citizens, from the map, which is something Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has proposed as he's rattled his nuclear saber.
If the past is any indication, HRW's leading gay staffer will now engage in a full-frontal assault on me and my political activism, work to make raising these concerns as jeopardizing advancement of global gay rights, avoid squarely addressing the matter of why Israeli organizations are not on his group's list, and in every response the HRW gay staff will always employ unbridled condescension to show their alleged superiority.
Also missing from HRW's list are three very important advocacy groups: the Iraqi LGBT group based in London and headed by Ali Hili, who is helping gay people in Iraq and those living in exile; GayRussia, the organization led by Nikolas Aleyexev which has tried to stage gay pride marches in Moscow; and OutRage!UK, cofounded by Peter Tatchell, an activist group that really has set the standard for global gay activism.
If the HRW gay staffers are interested in providing their colleagues, activists and reporters with a truly inclusive and comprehensive resource list like this, they will quickly update and improve their LGBT guide.
Click here to visit HRW's incomplete list of global LGBT groups.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did you miss the last two Gay Pride events in Jerusalem, the latter banned by the Knesset? Just because gay groups exist, does not mean that gays are welcome. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, clearly following its Jewish antecedents in homophobia, has an "open, active, and vibrant" gay life" -- just clandestine, as revealed in the March issue of the Atlantic. If you go to Israel "out," you may be attacked; if you go Saudi Arabia, you know its not permitted, but you won't be attacked as you will be Orthodox Jews. Iran, of course, is Shiite, even more faithful to the Levitical Code of Holiness. But Turkey, Lebabnon, what used to be Palestine, Jordon, and Saudi have different norms than the West, but I'd visit any one of them before Israel. And, HRW is not blind to Israeli injustices to Palestinians.