Gilad Atzmon

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On Biblical Celebrities and Jewish Symbolism

David and Jonathan.png

by Gilad Atzmon

On Friday, the entire Jewish media sphere was shaken by the fact that the DC Dyke march decided to ban the Jewish Pride Flag.

Apparently the march’s organizers decided to ban “nationalist symbols,” including flags that represent what Jewish event organizer, Yael Horowitz, called “nations that have specific oppressive tendencies.” 

March organizer Rae Gaines, another Jewish ethnic activist and a member of the left-wing Jewish group IfNotNow, — wrote via Facebook Messenger to would-be participant A.J. Campbell, the former director of the lesbian Jewish group Nice Jewish Girls, “The issue (with the Jewish Pride flag) is where the Star of David is positioned in a way that looks like an Israeli flag, it creates an unsafe space.” 

We are being treated to a Jewish street fight at the heart of the LGBTQ shtetl.

I probably need not note that the entire Jewish universe from the ADL to Jewish LGBTQ bodies condemned the decision as ‘antisemitic.’  ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt proclaimed that  “banning the Star of David in their parade is anti-Semitic, plain and simple.”  Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center praised the Jewish State as a Gay-friendly country. “Today, on Thursday June 6th, there will be a similar march in the heart of Jerusalem, an event impossible to conceive of in an Arab country or in Iran, where they publicly execute gays.” 

I am obviously not qualified to intervene in Jewish LGBTQ matters, but this saga raises some crucial questions. Why is it that Jewish ID politics is so obsessed with genitalia?  Is this sex/political fixation motivated by the same cultural impetus that drove Freud, Wilhelm Reich and Marcuse to philosophise on these same private regions? Jews like to be seen as ‘the people of the book,’ but maybe ‘the people of the pishpish’ describes contemporary Jewish Identitarians more accurately. 

My FB Friend Rob Patrick asked this morning why LGBTQ enthusiasts like to “identify with a flag of a country that not only bans gay marriage but also forbids marriage between Muslims, Christians and Jews.” I think that looking for integrity where it doesn’t exist may be a waste of time but the truth of the matter is that Jewish LGBTQ may like to identify with the Star of David because from a queer perspective, David wasn’t just a king he was actually the ultimate star: he played for both sides. 

Not that I believe a word in the Old Testament, but the King David character is seen by many contemporary scholars and LGBTQ enthusiasts as a gay icon. The Biblical scholars who hold this view point to David’s love affair with Jonathan. In Samuel 2 1:26  the Hebrew king writes,  “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.”

Some scholars consider this evidence of same-sex attraction that went beyond a platonic affair. Further evidence comes from King Saul's exclamation to his son Jonathan at the dinner table that, "I know you have chosen the son of Jesse - which is a disgrace to yourself and the nakedness of your mother!" If David was indeed Gay, he clearly was out of the closet more than two millennia before the DC Dyke March.   

In 1993,  King David’s alleged homosexuality made it into the Israeli Knesset. Yael Dayan, at the time a Labour Knesset Member, referred to King David’s homosexuality in the Israeli parliament  and quoted the relevant Biblical verses. Israel’s rabbinical and religious parties weren’t happy at all.  The Independent, which followed the scandal, revealed that King David was more than just an ordinary Biblical celebrity, he was actually the essence of the modern Jewish existence. “David was more than just a king: he was the ideal king, the founder of a dynasty around whose figure and reign grew the messianic expectations of the people of Israel. To have suggested that the symbol of the fulfillment of the future was homosexual - an abomination against God in the eyes of the religious - caused an uproar of almost biblical proportions.”

But here is a Jewish miracle.  It seems as if the Jewish institutions and pressure groups have matured since 1993. In 2019 Jewish institutions such as the ADL and Wiesenthal Center insist that David and his Star be integrated into the rainbow flag. Finally, the Jewish nation is out of the closet. 

But the Biblical star king wasn’t just a Gay icon, he was also a sexual predator and a murderer. 

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The story of King David and Bathsheba is a disturbing biblical saga (Samuel 2 11:5-27). Bathsheba was the wife of military man Uriah the Hittite, and she was a good looking woman. According to the Biblical narrative, Bathsheba was summoned by King David, after he was walking on the palace roof and saw her bathing naked. Bathsheba was impregnated by the King and according to some scholars, Bathsheba was actually raped by her king. She could have easily joined the #Meetoo movement.  In an attempt to conceal his sin, the Hebrew King summoned Uriah from the battlefield. The Hebrew King hoped to send Uriah back to his home so he could have sex with his beautiful wife. Presumably, Uriah could later assume that Bathsheba’s baby was his own son. But Uriah was unwilling to violate the ancient kingdom’s rules for warriors in active service. Rather than go home to his own bed, he preferred to remain with the palace troops.

After repeated efforts to convince Uriah to have sex with Bathsheba, the King gave the order to his general, Joab, to position Uriah on the front lines in the next battle, where Uriah would be more likely to die. Once Uriah was killed on the battlefield, David married Bathsheba. Bathsheba was the mother of Solomon, who succeeded David as king, making her the Queen Mother.  

According to the Biblical narrative,  God was most unhappy with the acts performed by the King “ After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.” (Samuel 2 11:27).  

The Story of Bathsheba should locate the Hebrew king on some unsavoury list. David could easily have ended up spending a life sentence sharing a cell with Harvey Weinstein. 

As mentioned above, I do not adhere to the historicity of the Bible. I do not have the means to verify whether the star Hebrew King was gay, a sex predator or even a murderer as the Biblical narrative suggests. But the one thing no one can deny is the fact that none of these parts of the legend has stopped Zionists, Israelis and World Jewry from openly identifying with David and his star.   




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