Post Creating Change — A response from #CancelPinkwashing

1-c__vNxmw70NCn7QJLzSflwIn the days since the #CancelPinkwashing action at the reception hosted by A Wider Bridge at this year’s Creating Change conference, media has been abuzz with claims about the alleged violence of the protestors, supposed anti-Semitism at the conference, and more. We are issuing this statement, as the collective at the heart of #CancelPinkwashing, to dispel myths and refocus on our central demands and goals moving forward.

Our evening began with a queer, anti-Zionist Shabbat service organized by Jewish Voice for Peace — Chicago, Committee for a Just Peace in Israel-Palestine (CJPIP), and other campaign partners in response to a real need for spiritual space that did not conflate Judaism with Zionism. Other groups, in coordination with A Wider Bridge, held their own Shabbat service elsewhere at the hotel. Contrary to Zionist media framing, both Shabbat services completed without interruption.

Once our Shabbat service had ended we invited the community in the room to prepare for the protest and several hundred of us began marching through the Hilton from our space on the lobby level to the third floor just outside where the A Wider Bridge reception was taking place. We chanted various pro-Palestine, anti-Zionist, anti-racist and anti-pinkwashing critiques. One that has received a lot of attention is “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Amongst our demands we also included that The Task Force publicly endorse the Palestinian Right To Return, that is that Palestinian refugees and their descendants have a right to return, and a right to the property they themselves or their forebears left behind or were forced to leave in what is now Israel and the Palestinian territories. For those that are unsure of geography, that is from the river to the sea. Our other demands, including our call for the Task Force to endorse BDS, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, can be found here.

During the course of the action, four protesters rushed the stage at the reception and shared our core messages while the remaining others occupied the hallway outside. During this time, Zionists exited the reception, shouted at the protestors and pushed and physically intimidated several. Police were called by the Hilton hotel and towards the end of the action, they escorted members of A Wider Bridge outside the reception room and down the back stairs, effectively shutting down the reception. We, the protesters, then made our way back down to our original location. To our knowledge there were no arrests made during the action, and some of our protesters sustained injuries due to the action of Zionist agitators and security staff.

A few of our goals were accomplished, namely that we shut down the pinkwashing reception and raised the national visibility of pinkwashing as a Zionist tactic. We also actively pushed back on the overall complicity of Creating Change and the Task Force. We should note that this is not the first time that the Task Force has been criticized for marginalizing people of color or cultivating racism at Creating Change. In fact, these criticisms and protests are commonplace at the Conference. Whether this year or in the past, the Task Force has invited both police and ICE — with blatant disregard for many, many queer/trans activist communities of color. We call on the Task Force to take a firm stand against colonialism, racism and apartheid and refuse to host pinkwashing events by Israel advocacy organizations, ICE or the police.

At this point, the Task Force has not apologized for or addressed any of the concerns raised by activists around pinkwashing at the conference. Instead, they issued a statement to “condemn anti-Semitism”, saying “Hate speech of any kind is unacceptable whether it’s directed at Jewish or Muslim people,” with no reference as to why that is a relevant concern in this situation (except, of course, as a response to Zionist agitators and media). In doing so, The Task Force continues to accept and endorse the false narrative that the Israeli occupation of Palestine is a “religious conflict” rather than a political and economic colonial project. We also believe that by releasing the statement, the Task Force conflates anti-Zionism and indeed all criticism of Israeli policy with anti-Semitism, which trivializes the very meaning of anti-Semitism, and exploits the term in order to silence political debate and distract from occupation and colonialism, which are at the heart of this issue. We are extremely disappointed by the unaccountable, racist actions of the Task Force as an institution. We will continue to press them on our demands and move forward in our work to confront pinkwashing and push LGBT organizations to name and reject their complicity in colonial occupation.

Updates can be found at

The #CancelPinkwashing Protest & Queer Middle Eastern & North African Reception

queer mena reception cover photo-01Meeting at the Buckingham Ballroom on Lobby Level.

Come with signs of support and solidarity.

Please note the Alternative Shabbat will be taking place in the same room beforehand, please be respectful and do not disturb.

Check out the Facebook event here!

Sponsored by Tarab NYC and #CancelPinkwashing community partners. Tarab NYC fosters an inclusive and safe community of LGBTQ & GNC Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African people in the greater New York City area. #Arab #Kurdish #Iranian #Turkish #Assyrian #Chaldean #Jewish #Berber #allies

#CancelPinkwashing #CC16 Updated Statement

creating change square image pinkwashing-01

We know that military occupation, ethnic cleansing, racism, and colonialism are incompatible with queer liberation and with fundamental human rights.

We are EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED that the National LGBTQ Task Force has chosen to welcome back the reception hosted by the organization “A Wider Bridge” on “LGBT Life in Israel”. The reversal in cancellation demonstrates a true lack of commitment to opposing military occupation, ethnic cleansing racism, and colonialism–all of which we view as fundamentally incompatible with queer liberation! 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 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:

  1. The Creating Change conference re-cancel the reception, and release a public statement attesting to why the reception hosted by A Wider Bridge should be cancelled (specifically, as a move to counter pinkwashing and Zionist efforts in solidarity with the Palestinian people).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


Tarab NYC
alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society
Aswat – Palestinian Gay Women
Jewish Voice For Peace
National Lawyers Guild
MASGD (Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity)
Gay Liberation Network
Southerners On New Ground (SONG)
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Seattle
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid New York
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Vancouver
US Campaign To End The Israeli Occupation
Hampton Institute
Black & Pink
Queer Detainee Empowerment Project
Z Collective
Trans Student Educational Resources
Queers Against Israeli Pinkwashing
Students for Justice in Palestine UIUC
Transgender Muslim Support Network
US Palestinian Community Network-Chicago Chapter
Audre Lorde Project
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel.
Black Lives Matter Chicago
Faculty for Justice in Palestine, University of California, Davis
Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine
United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)-Chicago
Jews Say No!
Survivors Organizing for Liberation
The Dream Defenders
Sage Community Health Collective
Survivors Organizing for Liberation
Jewish Voice for Peace Portland
Friends of Sabeel–North America
Hilton Head for Peace
Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area Chapter
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
Jewish Voice for Peace, San Diego
Showing Up for Racial Justice

Individuals: Dean Spade, Ashton P Woods, Imani Keith Henry, Shelley Ettinger, Andy Thayer, Andrew Miller, Stephanie Co, Bashar Makhay, Jodi Melamed, Corinne Sutter-Brown, Alexis Stern, Jessica Jones, Suzi Pietroluongo, Hannah Mermelstein, Mary Lucchese, Shelley Ettinger, Angela Campion, Ed Feigen, Sara Rubinstein, Cindy Shamban, Charmaine Burrus, Diane Dulin, Korla Masters, Kameahā‘aweokaponia ‘I‘i, Omar Almasri, Hassan Chenti, Hedy Epstein, Rosalind Petchesky, Sydney Levy, victor paes, Ellen Ross, Jean Riesman, Zillah Eisenstein, Lynn Grassmeyer, Erika Lynn Kreeger, Danielle Bullock, Leisa Meyer, Maxine Fookson, Zoe Grieder, anna berg, Carl Schieren, Naomi Allen, Neal Feldman, Georgiaq Guida, Pauline Park, Steve Quester, Tami Gold, Farah Erzouki, Emma Cunningham, Dr. F Taylor, Justin Adkins, John Barker, Newland F Smith, Seth Morrison, N. B., Aurelia Holliman, Margo Lee Sherman, Aaron Ellis, Amanda Bloom, Jacqueline Langeveld, Muhammad AR, Merry Maisel, Kay Kroeger,Steven Botticelli, Karma Chavez, Simon Patane, Dara Silverman, Martin Kemp, Laura Tanenbaum,Tali Ruskin

Contact, or message us via facebook to add your endorsement. Most recent updates can be found here:

Critical Race Perspective On Orientalism Tuesday Night @ CUNY Law


Recent events — the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris, the arrest of a 13-year-old Muslim for bringing a clock to school, the ongoing wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and the resulting refugee crises — prompt us to consider how Western biases and perceptions of the MENA region affect conflict, shape foreign policy, and operate in individual client work (legal, activist, etc.).

The United States and Europe have recently intensified their complicity in oppressing the MENA region; we bear frequent witness to the corresponding prejudice against Muslims and diasporic MENA individuals. Queer activists must therefore pay close attention to the heteronormative, patriarchal language and imagery used by the West to frame its “Other”. Imperialism, racism, exotification and eroticization affect all interactions of Western human rights activists, NGOs, and lawyers with MENA people. Join us as we explore these issues from a queer and human rights perspective.


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