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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Frank Praises Israeli Prime Minister for Opposing Anti-Gay Policies

Congressman Barney Frank today released the following statement in reaction to a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint session of Congress on May 24th.  Frank expressed his “appreciation for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu becoming the first foreign leader in history to express opposition to anti-gay public policies from the rostrum of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

“In his speech to the joint session of Congress on Tuesday, May 24th, Prime Minister Netanyahu noted the contrast between Israel’s treatment of gay people and the harsh treatment they receive in most of the Arab world.  He appropriately noted the difference on many basic human rights issues between Israeli law, which supports these rights, and the anti-human rights approach unfortunately taken in much of the Arab world.  I am particularly grateful to him for including the treatment of gay people as an example of this difference.” 

“Indeed, during the debate on repeal of the unfair and damaging ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, I noted on the floor in defense of repeal the fact that the Israeli Defense Forces, as effective a military as exists in the world, has not allowed any discrimination based on sexual orientation in its ranks.  It is of course not appropriate for foreign leaders to comment on matters of internal American policy, but it was entirely legitimate for the Prime Minister of a nation that is strongly supportive of fair treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to note this as a point in his country’s favor, as opposed to the policies of its most dedicated enemies, in appealing for support from the American public, and specifically the American Congress.  This affirmation of the importance of fair treatment for gay people is especially welcome because it is the first time any foreign leader has ever done this to a joint session of Congress.”

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