LGBTQ Palestinians and Jews deliver thank you letter for cancellation of Israeli-sponsored event
For Immediate Release: March 21, 2012
Contact: Stefanie Fox, Jewish Voice for Peace National Director of Grassroots Organizing, 206.930.5174
2PM TODAY, SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL:
LGBTQ Palestinians and Jews deliver thank you letter to LGBT Commission after cancellation of Israeli government-sponsored meeting.
Urge commission to meet instead with queer Israelis and Palestinians who are not part of government-sponsored propaganda effort.
On Wednesday, March 21, 2012, LGBTQ Palestinians and Jews and their allies will deliver a thank you letter signed by 3461 people to the Seattle LGBTQ Commission in appreciation for the brave decision they made to cancel a meeting with a one-sided, government-sponsored propaganda tour of LGBT Israelis. Local activists took issue with the rightwing sponsorship and cooptation of LGBTQ issues to divert attention from Israel’s abuses of human rights and violations of international law. Thousands of LGBTQ people and allies from all over the country and world want to express their appreciation.
The letter said in part: “By refusing to sponsor such government-funded Pinkwashing, you stood up for a truly inclusive community, where all voices are equally represented and queer lives and struggles are not appropriated to cover injustice. “
Well-known LGBTQ signers of the letter include writer Sarah Schulman, academic Judith Butler, and filmmaker Barbara Hammer.
What: Delivery of thank you letter during an open meeting of the City Council and LGBT Commission
When: March 21, 2012, 2pm PST
Who: Jewish Voice for Peace and local activists from many groups
Last Thursday evening, the Seattle LGBT Commission voted to cancel an upcoming event being sponsored by the Israeli Consulate and right-wing Israel advocacy group Stand With Us. The event, scheduled for March 16th at Seattle City Hall, is part of a west coast tour designed to build ties between the Israeli government and LGBT communities. These connections are forged largely in an attempt to distract from Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine. The well-documented practice is otherwise known as “Pinkwashing.”
StandWithUs is a right-wing organization that cynically uses LGBTQ rights to press for policies that harm Palestinians. For example, they have an ongoing alliance with the virulently homophobic pastor John Hagee and his group Christians United For Israel where StandWithUS director Roz Rothstein has spoken repeatedly and even been a featured keynote . In 2006, Pastor John Hagee told NPR’s Terry Gross that “Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.” “New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God,” Hagee said, because “there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came.” He has also claimed that the anti-Christ is “a homosexual” and partially Jewish, “as was Hitler, as was Karl Marx.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8mdUScZxL8
Selma al Aswad, Seattleite, Palestinian-American and LGBTQ rights activist. The city of Seattle prides itself as holding anti-racism and social justice principles in its mission, and last Thursday the commission affirmed those values.
Sarah Schulman, Author. Distinguished Professor of the Humanities, City University of New York College of Staten Island: Israel is a society where even queer Jews have rights over Palestinians. Just as we in the United States don't support rights for white queers only, we also don't support selective democracy, apartheid, segregation or whatever other term you want to apply to an Israeli system where rights are based on religion, ethnicity and race. For this reason we must be vigilant about recognizing that Israeli government funded propaganda campaigns, front groups and government financed figureheads purporting to use gay rights to cover up Israel's ongoing violation of international law - CANNOT be condoned by the rest of the Global LGBT. As difficult as this is, we must resist being used by any government that wants to use the LGBT community to hide human rights violations.
The organizing around these events was led by a broad array of local activists and organizations
throughout the Puget Sound, including local Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) chapters.