Shalom Life | April 23, 2014

4,000 March in Jerusalem’s 10th Annual Pride Parade

2005 stabbing victim addresses crowd, condemns “pinkwashing” slander

By: Sammy Hudes

Published: August 2nd, 2012 in News » Israel

4,000 March in Jerusalem’s 10th Annual Pride Parade

For the 10th consecutive year, the annual gay pride parade was held in Jerusalem on Thursday bringing approximately 4,000 participants together to celebrate gay rights in the country’s capital.

With the city painted in the colours of the rainbow, the parade returned to its original route down King George and Keren HaYesod streets for the first time since 2005. A moment of silence was observed for three participants who were stabbed by haredi extremists that year.

In contrast to past years, no haredim stood by the parade route in protest as hundreds of police officers and border guard officers were on duty to secure the crowds.

Adam Russo, who was injured in the 2005 stabbing, addressed the crowd before the parade kicked off, telling activists to “never give up,” even in the face of violence.

“If you give up, it will only get stronger, it will only be legitimized,” said the 26-year-old Russo, told Ynet that he has attended every precession since the incident.

“We were expected to stop being proud of who we are. I understand this request and can promise that it will happen the day that they stop expecting us to be ashamed of who we are. I feel that this day is approaching.”

Jerusalem Open House Executive Director Elionr Sidi told Ynet that this year’s march “was an opportunity to reflect on all the changes that Jerusalem has undergone” since Jerusalem held its first pride parade a decade ago.

“We no longer see incidents like in 2005 and 2006 of incitement, stabbing and riots against the participants,” she said. “Despite these changes, there is still a lot to be done for the members of the proud community.”

Russo made a point of condemning anti-Israel activists who accuse the Jewish state of “pinkwashing,” a supposed strategy that highlights Israel’s gay rights achievements in order to downplay its alleged human rights violations.

“There is a small minority, which is getting smaller, and when they call it ‘pinkwashing’ it does not allow us to celebrate our advancements,” said Russo.

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