Photo Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz introduces his ban on conversion therapy in a press conference in Tel Aviv, Feb. 14, 2022.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews that earned itself a moment of infamy in history when it cursed out the visiting right-wing MK Bezalel Smotrich in a Feb. 9 tweet: “We reject Bezalel Smotrich’s heinous views and his hate-mongering ideology and call on all members of the British Jewish community to show him the door. Get back on the plane, Bezalel, and live in infamy. You are not welcome here,” on Tuesday was beside itself in welcoming the political move of Meretz’s Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz’ ban on conversion therapy for homosexual men:

“Senior Vice-President David Mendoza-Wolfson has welcomed Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz’s formal ban on ‘conversion therapy.’ We are all good and beautiful exactly as we are and no one should dare to tell you otherwise.”

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See the tweet and some more happy notes here:

It’s difficult to find a discussion of conversion therapy that offers an acknowledgment that there may be homosexual men who, for personal or religious reasons, wish to learn ways of abstaining from homosexual sex and even engaging in a heterosexual relationship in a fulfilling way. The Wiki article on the subject opens with this paragraph that essentially shuts down any attempt at a debate:

“Conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of attempting to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual or their gender identity from transgender to cisgender using psychological, physical, or spiritual interventions. There is no reliable evidence that sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed, and medical institutions warn that conversion therapy practices are ineffective and potentially harmful. Medical, scientific, and government organizations in the United States and the United Kingdom have expressed concern over the validity, efficacy, and ethics of conversion therapy. Various jurisdictions around the world have passed laws against conversion therapy.”

The entire article continues like this, piling on more and more reasons why the mere suggestion of an individual attempting to stop being a homosexual is itself an affront to everything that’s good and sacred. It’s rare to find such an enlisted, take-no-prisoners treatment of a subject in Wiki, which often goes a long way to offer a balanced approach to its subjects – and if it doesn’t, then the next editor down the road would correct things eventually. Here it appears that whatever attempts have been made to challenge the harshly-set view of the article, they’ve all been homogenized several times over.

According to the new circular issued by Health Minister Horowitz on Monday, “a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity should not be seen as a medical and mental problem that requires treatment.”

Fair enough. Next, the circular tightens the grip a little more, stating that “the Health Ministry does not recognize conversion therapies and does not consider them to be legitimate or acceptable medical or mental health care,” and immediately after that: “Those who practice this – are subject to disciplinary proceedings for all that this implies.”

In other words, if you touch this, they’ll take away your license.

“No one needs conversion,” Minister Horowitz, a practicing homosexual, told a press conference on Monday. “Not lesbians, not homos (the word is legit in Hebrew – DI), not transgender, not straight. Sexual orientation and gender identity is not a problem that needs to be solved and if anyone needs conversion, it’s the people of darkness and the spreaders of hate.”

Did you catch that? Minister Horowitz dropped the clinical discussion of a weighty issue and switched to the language of religion. Conversion therapy is not so much about meeting the needs of a patient, it’s a war between light and darkness, good and bad, divine and satanic.

The Israel Psychological Association in 2011 issued a position paper that has since been stomped on by the professionals at the Health Ministry and all the other medical and social work associations; and while that document was clear on the observation that conversion therapy didn’t work and could prove dangerous in the wrong hands, it did offer this paragraph that appears ablaze with sanity and cogent examination in a medical world gone bonkers:

“When the patient feels, out of intrinsic motivation and not out of pressure, that his tendency is contrary to his religious beliefs or may cause him to be cut off from his surroundings, the psychologist should respect his faith and try to help him accordingly. In order to determine the initial treatment plan, the psychologist must perform a comprehensive psychological assessment to clarify the patient’s sexual identity and the degree of its formation, and at the same time his environment and the interaction between him and females and the degree of his distress accordingly.”

And that part, that simple, essential recognition of the role of the therapist in his or her relationship with their homosexual patient as a gentle guide of self-exploration – that good part has been banned this week by a militant homosexual health minister. If an Israeli therapist today attempts to guide a patient in seeking a workable plan that fits his environment – that therapist should start making phone calls to Uber. You can make a pretty good living and there are lots of people to talk to.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.