I read in disbelief the headline in the June 9, 2015 Metrowest Daily News: "Gay Men's Chorus heads to the Middle East" linked here or below. My first utterance was "WHAT?." Reading the story further examining the article in more detail, it refers to the Gay Men's Chorus going to Israel and to Turkey to sing. I do not know too much about the milieu in Turkey, although it is, in part, much more accepting of western influence, but Israel should be (hopefully) a safe place in which the Gay Men's Chorus will sing. I would rather have the Gay Men's Chorus sing there than in, for example, Kansas or Mississippi.
This is an example of what, in my opinion, is positive about the State of Israel. The thought of the Gay Men's Chorus singing in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Iran or most anywhere else in the Middle East chilled me to the bone. Their lives obviously would be at risk.
For those who are critical of the Israeli state or any other nation state I often use their treatment of gays as a yardstick in which to measure how free a state really is.
I am not uncritical of Israeli policy with respect to Palestinian issues but it is a truism that Israelis (with the exception of uber religious Jerusalem) are leaps and bounds civil libertarian freer than most any other nation state in its neighborhood.
I hope fervently that the issues surrounding the freedom of statehood for the Palestinian people which so intractably and for decades have divided both people will be, ultimately, equitably and existentially resolved.