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"a Large Number Of Homosexuals"

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The Jerusalem Post reports on the accusations and counter-accusations of homosexuality that are currently flying between Hamas and Fatah officials in the Palestinian territories. Following its takeover of the Gaza Strip in June, Hamas claimed to have seized videos and documents implicating senior Fatah officials in homosexual activity.

The story is laughable in its depiction of the warring Palestinian factions' Keystone Kops attempts to outdo one another in providing documentation and video of alleged gay sex. According to the Post:

According to one document, entitled "A Large Number of Homosexuals," a number of wealthy and influential figures in the Gaza Strip had formed a "gang" for practicing homosexual intercourse...

The sex allegedly took place in hotels, clinics and private homes - in some cases with a picture of Yasser Arafat hanging overhead.

The document described the homosexuals as a "very dangerous group" and warned that the phenomenon might spread to other parts of the Gaza Strip, adding that rival political factions could exploit the case to defame Fatah and "create chaos and confusion."

Try, if you can, to put aside the image of Yasser Arafat. "A Large Number of Homosexuals?" One must wonder what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his academic enabler, Columbia University professor Joseph Massad, make of this news.

That accusations of homosexuality are seen as such a grave issue in Palestinian society (and Muslim and Arab society in general) illustrates a plain lack of liberal values. For the Palestinians, homosexuality itself is redolent with corruption, otherwise Hamas and Fatah would not care to publicize these claims, whether they are true or false. We've come farther in the United States (but certainly not far enough), where the mere fact of being gay is no longer a bar to public office or high attainment in the corporate world, and wildly casting aspersions about someone's private life like this is viewed as improper and crass. Clearly, the Palestinians have a bit farther to go.

P.S.: The Washington Post publishes an informative response to Ahmadinejad's slander.

--James Kirchick

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