An Iranian newspaper is claiming that Jews and the West are united in a secret plot to take over the world; not by blowing stuff up, brain-washing politicians or any of the usual world domination strategies, but by “spreading homosexuality” – that well-documented paragon of contagious illnesses. It also called Tel Aviv a gay paradise on earth, which actually sounds like a lot of fun, so I'm not sure quite how effective their choice of words were there.
Apparently “Jewish financial and human capital, along with America and Britain” is funding the promotion of homosexuality. If their dastardly plan to make everyone OK with gay people does come into fruition, it will be used to “subjugate those who do not accept homosexuality". The report fails to elaborate on how exactly the acceptance of homosexuality could subjugate anyone, but it does give some tips on how the Western world should be looking after their gay community. Tips given by a country that routinely hangs gay men, by the way.
“If support for homosexuals stemmed from humane considerations or defence of human rights, it would be in the form of providing medical treatment to rescue them from the immoral actions that undermine the family institution."
The report also attacks progressive Jews who “accept gay men and women according to the rituals of Jewish religion” and accuses "Jewish universities” of teaching homosexuality. I don't even need to write a punchline for that exercise in stupidity.
The supposed exposé was published by the state-run news agency, Mashregh, which is known for other open, representational examples of journalism, like when it decided to report on a speech by Ayatollah Khamenei instead of the hundreds of Iranians who died in an earthquake the same weekend.
The report reads like a textbook attack on all the things the Iranian government hates: Jews, gays and the West. But who knows? Maybe there's some truth in their claims that homosexuals are conspiring to take over ther world and lord over it in a torturous regime of acceptance, good music and occasional light bitchiness? I spoke to Ofer Danziger from Aguda, the National Association of LGBT in Israel, to find out.
VICE: Hello Ofer. How do you feel about allegations that you're trying to take over the world with homosexuality?
Ofer Danziger: Well, I believe that the "Jewish financial capital" is only guilty of spreading tolerance and allowing everybody to live their lives as they see fit. It seems that, by blaming Israel and the West in spreading homosexuality, the Mashregh news agency is trying to justify this constant disregard of the most basic human rights of the LGBT community in Iran.
Yeah, in an article for the Jewish Post, Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh said that the piece was written to help legitimise the execution of gays in Iran.
Well yeah, the Iranian government is known for its public execution of homosexuals. So, by claiming that "the enemies of Iran" are spreading homosexuality, they're trying to legitimise executions of gays by linking being gay with being an enemy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. But, of course, that's not true. Being gay doesn't mean you're an enemy of anybody, it just means you're gay.
Exactly. Are you worried that the piece will increase violence towards gay people in Iran?
Of course I'm worried. I'm worried about the increase in violence because of this spreading of hatred, lies and intolerance, and by the constant media support of this anti-gay propaganda. So yes, the situation is not good for gays in Iran, and articles such as this one definitely don't make the situation any better.
How do you feel about the claim that gay people should undergo medical treatment to be “rescued” from their sexuality?
It’s homophobic, uneducated and just plain stupid. Gay people are born gay, as people with blue eyes are born with blue eyes. One cannot change his or her sexuality and they shouldn't try. There's no need to be rescued from a gay life, since there's nothing wrong with being gay. On the contrary, actually; it's quite a lot of fun.
So it's a good thing that the Mashregh news agency called Tel Aviv the “gay capital of the world”?
Of course! I'm always proud of this amazing city. Just a few months ago Tel-Aviv was voted the best gay city in the world for the gay traveller, the summer here is endless, the beaches are amazing, the nightlife is fantastic, the art and culture scene is blooming and there are gay people everywhere you look.
Whenever someone is referring to Tel-Aviv as the gayest place on earth, it makes me happy and proud to be part of this place. It doesn't matter who said it or why. For me, living in a city that supports the gay lifestyle means much more; it means living in a place that is tolerant, open to new ideas, nonjudgmental and vibrant. Doesn't everybody want to live in a place like that?
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