N.Y. mural contrasts gay rights in Israel with neighboring countries

(JTA) — A mural contrasting gay rights in Israel and Arab states was completed in New York’s Greenwich Village.

The mural, on a parking lot wall in the West Village, shows the outlines of two men holding hands, according to The New York Times. Above them are the words, "Who Would YOU want at Your Wedding?" The figures also hold two balancing scales.

Above one scale on the side of the mural that reads "Israel," the text notes that Israel allows same-sex couples to adopt children, that Tel Aviv’s 2011 Pride Parade drew more than 10,000 people and that "gay people serve openly in the military and government" in Israel.

Above the scale on the side of the mural labeled "Israel’s neighbors," the text notes that homosexuality is illegal in Syria and punishable by death in Iran. “There is no pride parade in Egypt, Jordan or Gaza,” reads the mural, which was completed last Friday.

The mural was commissioned by Taglit-Birthright Israel’s alumni community. Artists 4 Israel collaborated on the design. Chris St. John, a former graffiti artist, did the artwork.

Adem Carroll, a member of the steering committee of the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition for Truth and Justice, called the mural “blatantly divisive, opposing Israel against its neighbors in the region,” the Times reported.

Keren Gelfand, senior press officer for the Consulate General of Israel, told the Times that all of the statements in the mural regarding gay rights in Israel were accurate. 

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