We know that military occupation, ethnic cleansing, racism, and colonialism are incompatible with queer liberation and with fundamental human rights.
That’s why we’re disappointed that the National LGBTQ Task Force allowed the organization “A Wider Bridge” to host a reception on “LGBT Life in Israel” at the Creating Change conference. The Task Force has since cancelled the event thanks to the advocacy of solidarity activists. A Wider Bridge partners with the Israeli Consulate and the right wing Israel advocacy organization Stand With Us to put on pinkwashing events that are boycotted and protested by queer and trans activists across the United States. We understand this (now cancelled) reception to be part of a broader Zionist political strategy to “pinkwash” Israel’s complicity in violating Palestinian human rights.
Pinkwashing is an explicit strategy that the state of Israel and Israeli advocacy organizations engage in to try to improve Israel’s image which has been tarnished by its global reputation for ethnic cleansing and apartheid. By shifting the focus to a very narrow definition of LGBT rights (exclusive, of course, of queer Palestinians), these Pinkwashing efforts normalize the occupation of Palestinian land by distracting from the violent, inhumane actions of the Israeli settler state.
We condemn any efforts to discuss “LGBT Life in Israel” that cultivates pinkwashing propaganda and does not center the decolonization of Palestine. After bold advocacy by migrant justice activists and organizations, Creating Change pulled ICE off the program and apologized for offering space to a force of brutal violence in queer and trans lives. Immigration enforcement should not be pinkwashed at Creating Change, and neither should Israeli occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.
In seeking accountability from the Creating Change conference and the National LGBTQ Task Force, we demand that:
- The Creating Change conference release a public statement attesting to why the reception hosted by A Wider Bridge was cancelled (specifically, as a move to counter pinkwashing and Zionist efforts in solidarity with the Palestinian people).
- The Creating Change conference commit to opposing future efforts that promote Zionism and pinkwashing of the illegal occupation of Palestine–whether those efforts appear in workshops, caucuses, plenaries, organizational sponsorships, and more.
- The National LGBTQ Task Force publicly endorse the Palestinian right of return and the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.
Opposing racism, colonialism and ethnic cleansing is central to queer and trans liberation.
Just as we cannot make space for ICE to be promoted at Creating Change, we must oppose Creating Change being a platform for Israel advocacy organizations that seek to cover up the brutality of the occupation. We call upon all who are committed to justice and in solidarity with Palestinian people to join us in demanding accountability from the Task Force and a clear message that Creating Change is not a space for pinkwashing.
alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society
Aswat – Palestinian Gay Women
Jewish Voice For Peace
MASGD (Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity)
Gay Liberation Network
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Seattle
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid New York
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Vancouver
Queer Detainee Empowerment Project
Trans Student Educational Resources
Southerners On New Ground (SONG)
Queers Against Israeli Pinkwashing