Gefilte Fish Out of Water

Tel Aviv LGBT Hate Crime
August 2, 2009, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Hey!, Identity


Last night a masked gunman, dressed in black, entered the LGBT Community Center in Tel Aviv, went into a room being used by LGBT teens for a weekly support group and opened fire.  Two people were killed and others were injured.  The killer got away.

Israel has seen more than its share of bloodshed, but it’s always been from wars and terrorism.  This is the first true Hate Crime of real magnitude in the country, against any group.  The country is in shock.

I’ll tell you what I want to know: where was the security ??   My bags are always checked before I go into big shopping centers in Tel Aviv.  There is a security guard perched outside the front door of the intensive Hebrew school I attend every day.  There is security everywhere in Israel.  What – but not for the gays?  I hope someone addresses that in the next few days.

I’ve been to the Community Center where the violence happened.  I was there for two days in June, when I volunteered to help set up for the Gay Pride Parade.  There is a large, fantastic cafe adjoining the Center on the ground floor, although it is not technically part of the center.  It has a magnificent view of Gan Meir Park.  It’s always packed – with gays and straights alike – because it’s one of the few cafes located inside a park.  I’ve hung out there a few times, too.

Beginning last night, friends from the U.S. started to check in with me via Facebook and email.  I was able to reassure them that I was OK, but I started to get angry about misinformation reported by Reuters, which is how most of my friends in the U.S. learned of the attack.

All my friends thought the incident happened in a “club,” as in a bar.  That’s because of Reuters’ lede paragraph, which states it as such.


Some of my friends said that while they were worried about me, they figured I was OK, b/c what would I be doing in a club for gay teens.  But it wasn’t a club at all – it was a support group located within the LGBT Community Center – a primary hub of activity and congregation for many LGBT related groups and clubs; a place I’ve been before and could very well have been last night.

The true facts are stated in the 3rd paragraph of the Reuters piece, but then look how they conclude it:


Here, they’re talking about bars and nightclubs.  While the reporting in both examples is technically correct, it seems to me intentionally vague so as to equate the “club” (supervised, weekly support group in a community center) with other Tel Aviv gay “clubs” (bars). 

Why?  Does it make a better story that way?

I want to attend a march or support rally or something.  But I have to say, I’m almost a little afraid to gather openly now.  I never think that way; ask anyone: I’m matter-of-factly-but-VERY OUT there.  But a little bit, now I feel like I could be a target.  Whether at a support rally, a gay bar, or (gay) Hilton Beach – is someone going to open fire on me?

This sucks.

Update:  The attack did not occur at the LGBT Municipal Center in Meir Park, like I thought.  It was at the Aguda, a basement meeting center (apartment) in residential building on Nachmani Street, just off Rothschild.  This explains why there wasn’t any security.  (Thanks, Lisa.)  I’ve been to this exact space, so now I can imagine where it happened.  And I don’t think that’s a good thing.

Update # 2:  A large rally is planned for 8pm on Saturday, August 8 in Rabin Square.  I will be there.

Update # 3A friend just told me that the problem with the Reuters piece wasn’t intentionally vague or deceptional reporting.  It was inaccurate translation from Hebrew into English.  OK, that makes sense.  But, seriously, up your game, Reuters!


6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Now is not the time to act timidly now is the time to stand forth like Gandhi or Dr Martin Luther King.
What good is living in fear?

Comment by Leonard Rosenblum

Absolutely. I’m just expressing some fear, but I have the courage to act despite it!

Comment by skatp

Scott, I will totally rally, protest or march along with you with pride. Love ya.

Comment by Jo Ostrin

Rabin Square, 8pm, Saturday night. Confirmed. Join me?

Thx, Jo. Love, S

Comment by skatp

Tiny correction: the attack did not occur at the GLBT Municipal Center in Meir Park. It was at the Aguda, a basement meeting center in residential building on Nachmani Street, just off Rothschild.

Comment by Lisa

Thank you, Lisa! This is a really important correction, b/c it explains why there wasn’t any security. I’ve been to that apartment, so now I can picture where it happened. And I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

Comment by skatp

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