GAY COMMUNITY SHOCKED, ANGERED BY ISRAEL BOYCOTT

As reported previously on the Mike Report, several civic organizations and groups have been pressured by anti Israel activists led by Seattle University professor Dean Spade into cancelling a series of meetings with a delegation of LGBT activists from Israel. Professor Spade accused the Israeli delegation of “pinkwashing” Israeli crimes against Palestinians. The local gay community has responded to this attack on Israel’s gay community in near universal anger and shock.

Gay Jewish activist Wendy Kenin shared on her blog “The anti-pinkwashing movement is in effect an extension of the cultural and academic boycott facet of the international Boycott Divestment and Sanctions(BDS) campaign, which generally manifests itself as political or racial bigotry serving to exclude Jewish and Israeli people from the world community.” Ms, Kenin stated that “LGBT members of Israeli society have every right to be who they are, to enhance their social networks, and to participate in political movements for justice if they choose. It’s the anti-pinkwashing activists this week that enforced repressive tactics to exclude Israeli people coming to advance self-determination and social justice through dialogue and collaboration.”

Ms. Kenin added that “Anti-pinkwashers in Seattle are fooling themselves if they believe they have advanced a campaign for justice for Palestinians. What they succeeded in is disrupting the peace in their local community, disrupting LGBT dialogue and collaborations that had the promise of hope, and in further isolating Jewish people – justifying Jewish people’s fears of antisemitism.”

Gay Advocacy group A Wider Bridge issued a statement today saying “We are deeply disturbed by the single-minded and dehumanizing tactics of those who would seek to shut down these important opportunities for engagement, dialogue, learning and collaboration.” Arthur Slepian of A Wider Bridge stated that “Isolating and ignoring Israel’s LGBTQ community, pitting one minority against another, or calling for a wholesale boycott of Israel is not going to bring peace to the region any faster,”

Melanie Nathan, who describes herself as “an activist for equality”  posted in her blog that “Many believe the accusations of pinkwashing is an exploitative method deployed by anti-Israeli proponents to further their anti-Semitic or anti-Israel political agendas.”

Novelist Scott Rose, a human rights writer, sent a written statement to the Seattle City LGBT Commission asserting that “In cancelling the event, you have caved to demands from simplistic, questionably-intentioned persons who pin all blame for problems in the Mid-East on Israel while giving everybody else a free pass.” adding that  “you have chosen the side of people who have demands which, if immediately implemented, would without question result in the imposition of an Islamic theocracy in the territory now Israel, with a corresponding loss of rights for all of the LGBT persons there.”

Dan Avery, a writer at Queerty.com asked “Are anti-pinkwashers like Spade now saying that all gays from Israel should be silenced in the public arena, lest they accidentally encourage someone to visit their homeland? Are we calling for the end of civil discourse and kicking Israel’s LGBT off the bus?” He went on to point out that “It’s a double standard: When Mariela Castro, the heterosexual daughter of Cuba’s president, Raoul Castro, boasts about how progressive her country is on gay issues—despite a proven track record of oppressing LGBTs and political dissidents—she’s embraced with open arms by gay activists.”

Mr. Avery observed that questions concerning Israeli Palestinian relations could have been asked of the Israeli delegation if they had been given the opportunity to speak, concluding that “In this instance, silence isn’t golden.”

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