Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Marriage Trope Comes Back

Israel's primary advantage over its neighbors in terms of image is that it is a free and liberal society. So therefore there is nothing its enemies prioritize more than trying to destroy that image. Therefore the Huffington Post is more than pleased to welcome well-meaning individuals like Rabbi Uri Regev (a brand new Huffington Post blogger) to slam Israel about the marriage issue, one that has been a problem for a while and is basically the only talking point Israel's enemies have when it comes to social issues.

Rabbi Regev has a legitimate point, but as usual engages in arm-flailing theatrics rather than sticking to the facts. He cites example of a woman named Sarah who was converted by a Conservative synagogue and the Orthodox won't recognize her as Jewish and so won't marry her and so she can't get married in Israel. Pretty bad, but not exactly new information right? Well, look at how Regev spins it:
"Sara is but one example of the hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who are denied the basic civil and human right of marriage, and the millions more who are denied the right to celebrated [sic] their marriage in a way befitting their life and beliefs."
This is completely wrong and hysterical. It's not that Sara can't get married in Israel, she can. If she converts to Judaism in a way the Orthodox recognize, which is super hard and annoying, but it is still possible. Furthermore, they can go to Cyprus and Israel doesn't "deny" marriage to anyone because they recognize marriages formed in other countries. Also unregistered cohabitation (which is like civil unions) is legal.

So again, it's not that they are "denied the right of marriage," it's that Israel's stupid archaic laws makes it very difficult for Jews to marry "non-Jews" and by "non-Jews" I mean people the rabbinate considers not to be Jewish. In classic Huffington Post style, Rabbi Regev takes a legitimate complaint and cranks the hysteria up to ridiculous levels.

At this point Rabbi Regev talks about the organization that he founded and a new piece of propaganda called the Freedom of Marriage World Map. I call it a piece of propaganda because Regev pretty much admits himself that it was designed entirely to spite Israel.
"We initially wanted to see how Israel's marriage policies compare to the rest of the world. After further review, we were surprised to find that there was no such comparative document in existence.... It places Israel alongside its neighboring Arab countries and two-thirds of the Islamic world. Not quite where Israel should like to be seen. This harsh reality, demonstrated by the map, should be seen as a wakeup call for Israelis and Jews around the world to bring freedom of marriage to Israel."
Rabbi Regev is being extremely selective about what "freedom of marriage" actually means. If you go to the "World Map" at the link above and click on the USA, you find that it says "Freedom of marriage." Additional comments? "Freedom of marriage." That's it.

Really? The USA has complete freedom of marriage? Maybe you should mention that to all the gay people who are currently out in the streets demanding the right to (wait for it) marry! So do gay people just not count to Rabbi Regev and his organization or what? In fact only eleven countries around the world recognize gay marriage and many of the ones who don't are given a clean bill of "freedom" by Rabbi Regev. What's up with that?

This article is very typical of the Huffington Post. Find something bad about Israel, blow it out of proportion, and send it to the top of the "Religion" section. The race-baiting comments are already rolling in.

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