A Look at the Invisible Lives of Gay Palestinians In Israel

In a fascinating piece over at The Daily Beast, Itay Hod looks at the the unique trials that gay Palestinians must face in Israel.

Many of these men are forced to deal with opposition from both sides – from their Palestinian families who feel"dishonored" for having a gay family member and from Israeli security forces for being Palestinian. 

Writes Hod:

Israel-mapIt’s hard to say how many gay Palestinians live and work in Israel. There are no studies on the matter, not that it would help. “When you’re in survival mode, it takes over,” said Anat Ben-Dor of the Refugee Rights Clinic at the Tel Aviv University Law Faculty. “In this case, a big part of that survival is hiding.”

The ones who’ve managed to elude authorities are mostly from the West Bank. Few, if any, are from Gaza, partly because of the blockade and partly because Hamas has pushed gays even deeper into the closet. So far no gay Palestinian has ever been granted asylum in Israel. In fact Palestinians, gay or straight, are barred from even applying for refugee status in Israel. […]

But experts say even if there was a way for them to apply, many can’t. “To get help, gay Palestinians have to get through incredible hurdles,” said Ben-Dor. “They have to meet Israelis or other Palestinians they trust enough to confide that they’re both gay and living in the country illegally. That person has to then be willing and able to find the right organization that could direct them to the appropriate lawyers, and even then, there is no chance of getting protection against deportation back to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Check out the full article HERE


  1. bcarter3 says

    No matter how rough things are for gay Palestinians in Israel, they’re a lot better off than gay Palestinians in the “Palestinian Territories”.

  2. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “Seriously?? Didn’t realize Towleroad was delusional/anti-semtic too….Sad…”


    Really? Anti against which Semites–the Isrealis or the Palestinians?

    Oh, Lord, I’m so glad I’m a Christian….with a little bit of Voodoo thrown in.

  3. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “Seriously?? Didn’t realize Towleroad was delusional/anti-semtic too….Sad…”


    Really? Anti against which Semites–the Isrealis or the Palestinians?

    Oh, Lord, I’m so glad I’m a Christian….with a little bit of Voodoo thrown in.

  4. Josh says

    Crazy how right-wing fascists and tea-party fanbois have co-opted and misappropriated the term anti-Semitic. They even tarred milquetoast Republican Chuck Hagel with it. This behavior is shameful and unacceptable.

  5. B says

    The fact that they take refuge in Israel, even in the midst of hostilities, tells you everything you need to know about the difference b/t Israel and Hamas. Reminds me of how thousands of wounded Syrians have come and are coming to the Israeli border, where they get medical care – free and no questions asked, with serious cases transported directly to Israeli hospitals for surgery and long-term recovery.

    Now maybe the “Queers for Palestine” idiots can actually do something useful and send these gay Palestinians

  6. Bill says

    @Rochon : since Kyler Geoffrey simply provided a link and an excerpt to an article written by Itay Hod, why are you blaming Kyler? And exactly why is this “Hamas propaganda” when the article states that Hamas treats gays worse than those living in the West Bank are treated?

    And why are you going around making libellous claims of “anti-Semitism”? You deserve to have your rear end dragged into court for that statement – it is a clear case of defamation.

  7. says

    I’m disappointed that that gay Palestinians have to be invisible.In many Arab countries, there are public square hangings of gay teens or be headings of consenting adults. They do not have gay community centers in those Arab countries. Maybe if Israel had peaceful neighbors,they would allow more openly gay Palestinians to live there. Israel allows gays in their Army,have gay community centers and parades. They treat their gay “citizens” just like gays are treated in the USA. In some places it’s not yet as good as it could be but so much better then their Arab neighbors.

  8. jamal49 says

    Since Israel is an apartheid state, it is sad that Palestinians of any kind have to feel as outsiders in their own lands, lands that were theirs deed and title until the usurpation of those lands by Euro-Jews in 1947. It is even sadder that Palestine is in the grip of two of the three devil children of Abraham, judaism and islam. How wonderful the world would be if we could get rid of those two degenerate religions as well as christianity.

  9. Lee says

    @jamal49 screw off most Israelis are Sephardic first of all and second the Arab deserved to be pushed out of the horror they inflected on the Jews pre 1948.

  10. Steve says

    Jamal49, apartheid state? Where people of all races and religions live together? Where Arab Israelis serve in the Knesset, run major businesses, are the chief executives of hospitals, and are officers in the IDF? Where discrimination on the basis of race is illegal and can get you hauled into court if you do it? Where you can practice any religion or no religion? Where you have free speech and a free press and an independent judiciary?

    Doesn’t sound like apartheid to me. BTW, the ANC-led government in South Africa recognizes Israel, so I don’t think they agree with you either.

  11. Victor says

    @Rowan and @Derrick The term anti-Semitic is a term with a specific history that refers only to a form of antagonism towards Jews. Why? Because it was invented by a self-proclaimed anti-Semite. And it has kept that meaning from the 19th century, when it appeared.

  12. ratbastard says

    By far most, something like 90%, of Jewish people in the world are so called Ashkenazi; they are no more semitic than me. They are white caucasian. Even the word ‘racism’ was invented by a German Jewish man which he implied referred to anti-semitic (anti-Jewish) attitudes. This also confuses me,since I believe there is only one human ‘race’, you can make the argument we are split into Asian, Caucasian, and African/Negro, but there’s only one human race, and most by far Jewish people are entirely or primarily Caucasian white.

    I agree Israel is preferable to any of it’s Arab neighbors as far as respecting basic human rights, democracy, etc. But I still understand why Palestinians are angry, and ai find the concept that you as a people come back to a piece of land thousands if years after your ancestors (and it gets very murky here) left, and declare it your birthright becayse that’s what a book(s) written thousands of years ago claim. Sorry, I call B.S. While I sympathize greatly with those Jewish and other people persecuted by the Nazis in Europe, I still don’t think going over and demanding someone elses land under the pretext I presented above,is pardon the expression,kosher.

    There’s no doubt in my mind 99% of the problems, violence,wars, and heartache we in the U.S. and the whole world have dealt with in the Middle East and Muslim world is due primarily by our backing and propping up of Israel. It’s not due to Muslims hating our so called freedoms or way of life, it’s due to our propping up Israel and giving them advanced weapons and technologies, including nukes, which the U.S. and other advanced Euro nations wither gave to Israel or looked rhe other way while Israel spied and stole the needed info. Now we have an awful situation where Israel, armed with nukes, can cause WW3 if it used them if attacked. And there will never be peace in that part of the world or between Israel and the majority Arab world, certainly not in the lifetime of anyone reading this. Just endless war, posturing and violence, which the U.S. and others will inevitably get dragged into.

    I understand that situation between Arabs themselves is also very complex and full of backstabbing and intrigue. I’m not claiming they are saints compared to Israel. At best, Israel is the lesser of two evils.

    Honestly, if everyone in the world with a axe to grind and some dubious ancient ‘right’ to this or that land, this world would descend into something out of Mad Max. It’s childish and very dangerous.

Leave A Reply