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WorldPride canceled due to Israeli-Hezbollah conflict
With the crisis in the Middle East approaching an all-out war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, organizers of WorldPride in Jerusalem have announced the cancellation of the pride parade in August. But organizers vow that other events in the festival will go on as planned.
In a statement released Friday, Jerusalem Open House cochair Hagai El-Ad said, "These are not the times for festivities." With a large portion of the Israeli army massing along the Lebanese border, WorldPride organizers said they were forced to cancel the gay pride parade because there aren't enough soldiers left to protect the marchers.
In a show of unity atypical for the region, radical Jewish, Muslim, and Christian groups all came together to condemn WorldPride and threaten violence against anyone in the parade. WorldPride insists that it is the threat of war—not the threats of violence from extremist clerics—that forced the parade's cancellation.
Many of the WorldPride events will go on as planned, however, including a multifaith gay clergy conference, a gay film festival, and other activities. Cathy Renna, spokeswoman for WorldPride, says that thousands are still expected to attend those events, which will run on schedule August 6–12.
WorldPride is held in a different city around the globe every four years. WorldPride postponed festivities in Jerusalem last summer after Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip. (Sirius OutQ News)
WorldPride Parade Cancelled
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
July 21 2006 - 1:00 pm ET
(Jerusalem) Organizers of WorldPride to be held next month in Jerusalem on Friday cancelled the pride parade but say other events will go ahead as planned.
WorldPride is scheduled to be held in Jerusalem from August 6 - 12.
Police denied Jerusalem Open House a parade permit saying that they are unable to provide a safe environment for the march in light of the current hostilities in the region and the excessive stress it puts on the police's manpower.
"We feel it would be neither responsible nor appropriate to hold the march until such time that circumstances allow for a safe and peaceful gathering for all," said a statement from Open House co-chair Hagai El-Ad.
El-Ad said though that the cultural aspects of WorldPride are going ahead.
Those events include an Multifaith LGBT Clergy Conference, an outdoor festival, Human Rights Day, LGBT Health Day, an International LGBT Youth conference, and an LGBT Film Festival.
The event which is held in a different world city every four years was to have been in Jerusalem last summer but postponed due to the Israeli pullout from the Gaza.
WorldPride spokesperson Cathy Renna in New York told 365Gay.com that despite the situation in the Middle East there have been few cancellations.
She said that thousands of people from around the world will attend.
WorldPride has been under fire from conservative religious groups including Muslims, Jews and evangelical Christians.
On Thursday the head of an extreme Orthodox group blamed WorldPride for the ongoing attacks on Israel by the Islamist terror group Hezbollah. (story)
"We have not protested enough against this parade of abomination and therefore we have received this warning," Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, who heads the Eda Haredit rabbinic court.
"Who knows where things will get to if we do not act further and more stringently against it," he said in a hand-written message to his followers.
Last month a Moslem leader, sheik Ibrahim Sarsur who is also a member of the Knesset, warned gays that "if they dare to approach the Temple Mount during the parade – they will do so over our dead bodies."
Jerusalem World Pride 2006 (August 6-12)