Homophobia In Israel Defense Forces...

IDFGay Israel's military service has allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly since 1993. That doesn't mean, however, that the nation's defense force is necessarily gay friendly:

Forty percent of the gay and lesbian soldiers said they were verbally abused and 4 percent said they were physically abused, according to a new survey by the Israel Gay Youth organization.

Some 45 percent of respondents in the study said they heard homophobic remarks frequently or very frequently in their units, while 59 percent of soldiers in combat units said they heard homophobic remarks frequently.

Sixty-three percent of respondents said they had come out to their family, but only 32 percent had told fellow soldiers or their commander about their homosexuality.

One wonders whether the repeal of the States' Don't Ask, Don't Tell will help combat homophobia in our ranks. If we're anything like Israel the answer is clearly no.

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Comments

  1. Really, Andrew? It won't help at all? Not even just a little?

    So, what is your solution then?

    Posted by: Jesus | Aug 16, 2011 2:16:07 PM


  2. How does this article have anything to do with what will change as a result of DADT? It makes no mention of how things were BEFORE Israel allowed gays to serve, so how do you know it wasn't worse BEFORE?

    This is hack-ish.

    Posted by: Jack | Aug 16, 2011 2:27:32 PM


  3. Any excuse to criticize Israel...

    Posted by: Rob | Aug 16, 2011 2:27:38 PM


  4. I think that, while Andrew Belonsky over-generalizes the implications of the Israeli Defense Force study, he does make a valid point. Just as African American and female troops did not face instant acceptance by their comrades as policies changed, lesbian and gay troops will also continue to face challenges in the military. However, that does not negate the importance of repealing DADT...it's the only just action take. (BTW, Israel-loving, peace-loving Jew here.)

    Posted by: Chris in MN | Aug 16, 2011 2:34:26 PM


  5. Chris:

    Well sure, that's definitely unquestionable. But since when did anyone think that repealing DADT would change one lick of what private individuals think? That's not the point of the repeal.

    Posted by: Jack | Aug 16, 2011 2:41:36 PM


  6. Rob's right. Where are the reports of unicorns farting rainbows?

    Posted by: tranquilo | Aug 16, 2011 2:51:21 PM


  7. No, the answer is clearly Yes.

    Without an alternate universe gay-excluding Israeli military to compare to we can't know how non-homophobic that version would be.

    This has been our lesson in critical thinking for the day.

    Posted by: Glenn I | Aug 16, 2011 3:02:10 PM


  8. "This has been our lesson in critical thinking for the day."

    LOL!

    Posted by: Jack | Aug 16, 2011 3:03:18 PM


  9. Hmm. Yeah, simple repeal of DADT won't END homophobia. But it's a start. Let the conversations happen.

    Did simple allowance of black people in the military end rascism in the military?!

    THing is, the current/past status has been that gay people have been legally TOLD to cower and hide--or else. Allowing them to hold their heads high and serve their country as who they are on their own terms NEEDS to happen.

    But of course it's not gonna simply END homophobia.

    One problem is that--sorta like anti-Jewish beliefs in America accepted as valid during the lead up to WWII...too many in the Allied Nations still secretly think that it's OK/justifiable that the Muslim Theocracies are literally MURDERING and SLAUGHTERING the bodies of gay people there.

    Posted by: just_a_guy | Aug 16, 2011 3:03:44 PM


  10. The Israeli army is a much different prospect to the British army, say.

    And I don't really think they can be pointed to as a template for what will happen after DADT repeal in the US.

    Religious, political and cultural identity all wrapped up like that? In that case I'm nor surprised that over almost half of them can't treat people who are different to them with respect.

    Posted by: yonkersconquers | Aug 16, 2011 3:15:49 PM


  11. "One wonders whether the repeal of the States' Don't Ask, Don't Tell will help combat homophobia in our ranks. If we're anything like Israel the answer is clearly no."

    The answer is yes it will help, but it clearly won't be an easy (or even timely) victory. In our history of fighting for gay rights, why would we get the impression that it would be?

    Whether we like it or not, we can't equate painfully slow and incremental progress to none at all.


    Posted by: gaysoldiershusband | Aug 16, 2011 3:21:32 PM


  12. And the Israel Internet Defense Force shows up again. Do you apartheid apologists think there is such a thing as legitimate criticism of Israel, or are we just supposed to stay silent as they continue their ethnic cleansing? Don't pull out your "Palestinian's hate gays ;_;" talking point either, it's irrelevant and racist garbage.

    Posted by: Nathan | Aug 16, 2011 3:21:51 PM


  13. I served openly in the IDF and made a point of educating my colleagues and commanders on what being gay is and isn't. Never once did I get real criticism on the fact that I had a pride flag hanging on the wall in my office. Never once did I encounter homophobia that was violent in any way.

    Posted by: Ari Amir | Aug 16, 2011 3:23:17 PM


  14. It's been less of a problem in the British military apparently where the military brass actually encourage and recruit gay men and women to serve. All three branches of their military are allowed to take part in Pride marches in full uniform. I'm not saying there are no incidences but by and large far less than the Israeli experience.

    Posted by: Robert in NYC | Aug 16, 2011 3:26:19 PM


  15. Rob

    How is this a criticism of Israel?

    Anyway; a better study would be of the Netherlands who has allowed gays to serve openly longer than any other country....since 1974. The Netherlands also had a landmark case that raised "the camouflage ceiling" in 1986 about someone not getting promoted in their military for being gay

    Posted by: say what | Aug 16, 2011 3:34:53 PM


  16. @ROB

    Any excuse to be overly defensive when you think someone might possibly maybe criticise Israel, and of course, no one actually is. (Not that there's anything wrong with criticising Israel, or any country for that matter)

    Posted by: Eric26 | Aug 16, 2011 3:45:41 PM


  17. I have been telling you people that DADT repeal, legalization of marriage, and all these other changes in the law are nothing but an OPPORTUNITY for us to demonstrate that we can fit into mainstream society. If we misinterpret these developments as a green light to engage in general non-conformist behavior (especially effeminate behavior), then some of you are in for a real shock in the form of a huge backlash.

    Homosexuality is becoming acceptable; "gayness" (i.e. the culture of effeminacy) is not, nor will it ever be, especially in hyper-masculine, conformist organizations like the military.

    I hope the rest of you don't have to learn that the hard way, to the detriment of us all.

    Posted by: Rick | Aug 16, 2011 3:49:06 PM


  18. @Say What The DUTCH military? LOL. When is the last time Holland was at war with anybody?

    Look, the greatest resistance is in combat units, because that is where fully masculine behavior is expected. And combat for the Dutch military (and many others) is nothing more than a theoretical notion.

    Not so with the US and Israeli armed forces.

    A nurse is not a soldier......

    Posted by: Rick | Aug 16, 2011 3:59:07 PM


  19. You don't need a comparison to know that roughly half hearing homophobic comments frequently is not a success, by any measure.

    Part of the problem of DADT "repeal" is that discharged servicemembers won't be restored to their duties, there's no non-discrimination rule, and there's no spousal recognition. This sends a message that DADT was the right thing for its time and although we "have to" let gay people in, we also have to treat them as less than the straight ones.

    Posted by: Randy | Aug 16, 2011 4:03:46 PM


  20. @Say What Holland is not a good example. When was the last time the Dutch military actually went into battle?

    The greatest resistance in the ranks to openly gay soldiers is in the combat units, because those are the ones where absolute adherence to masculine values is expected.

    And those units in the US and Israeli armies actually do combat, which is nothing more than a theoretical notion for Holland's military.

    A nurse is not a soldier and the standards applied to each will be different.....

    Posted by: Rick | Aug 16, 2011 4:05:01 PM


  21. "If we misinterpret these developments as a green light to engage in general non-conformist behavior (especially effeminate behavior), then some of you are in for a real shock in the form of a huge backlash."

    Do you honestly believe that there are whole swaths of gay men waiting for the chance to be openly effeminate?

    Gay men who are more effeminate tend to be the first ones out of the closet, because people around them more readily pick up that they're different. They're also the ones who bear the brunt of opprobrium - as you've so readily contributed to here.

    And general integration into mainstream society shouldn't happen without some lessons on how to treat those who won't/can't integrate into the mainstream, nor should it happen without bringing something new to the idea of gender.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 16, 2011 4:05:24 PM


  22. "Look, the greatest resistance is in combat units, because that is where fully masculine behavior is expected. And combat for the Dutch military (and many others) is nothing more than a theoretical notion.

    Not so with the US and Israeli armed forces.

    A nurse is not a soldier......"


    The Netherlands was involved in combat operations in Afghanistan for over a year. They lost over two dozen soldiers and, along with Canadian forces, stepped up to the plate when the Bush Administration abandoned Afghanistan to go on its military adventures in Iraq.

    Incidentally, gays have been allowed to serve in the Canadian military since '92.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 16, 2011 4:12:23 PM


  23. "@Say What The DUTCH military? LOL. When is the last time Holland was at war with anybody? "

    Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan ringing any bells?

    Posted by: Paul | Aug 16, 2011 4:17:20 PM



  24. "... but an OPPORTUNITY for us to demonstrate that we can fit into mainstream society."

    Stepford homos.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Aug 16, 2011 4:17:47 PM



  25. "And general integration into mainstream society shouldn't happen without some lessons on how to treat those who won't/can't integrate into the mainstream, nor should it happen without bringing something new to the idea of gender"

    Totally disagree. Feminism is a load of crap, as far as I am concerned, as are the gender-bending notions that go along with it. It has been a disaster for society in just about every way.......and if gay men continue to hitch their wagon to it, they will fail to be accepted over the long run.

    As for whether there are "whole swaths of gay men waiting to be effeminate".....not in the military in all likelihood, because, at least when it comes to real soldiers (as opposed to medical or intelligence personnel), it tends to self-select for the masculine type--basic training alone pretty much guarantees that. And that is why I am relatively optimistic about the outcome of DADT repeal.

    But I think that, yes, there are gay men who behave appropriately when they think there is something to lose (like their jobs), but who behave effeminately in private (and espouse gender-bending values) and if they try to take the latter tendency public because they have misinterpreted where society is going, it could cause problems.....

    The real solution, of course, is to eradicate the causes of that effeminate, living-vicariously-through-women behavior in the first place....

    Posted by: Rick | Aug 16, 2011 4:22:34 PM


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