We, Israeli queer activists, are deeply disturbed that the US Social Forum
is allowing the issue of LGBTQI rights in the Middle East to be used by the
anti-arab propaganda organization Stand with Us, under the dishonest guise
of educating and promoting liberation. The workshop to be held by Stand with
Us at the US Social Forum, entitled “LGBTQI Liberation in the Middle East”
is a particularly sinister attempt to use the issue of LGBTQI rights to veil
the horrors of the Israeli occupation, and has no place in the US Social
We support the statement issued by the queer arab organizations, bravely standing up for their own rights, including their right to speak for themselves and not have their voices hijacked by Stand with Us, an organization that condones oppression of Palestinians, queer and straight alike. Queer Palestinians know: Israel does not give rights to queer
Palestinians, Israel denies the rights of all Palestinans.
As Jewish Israeli queers, we also refuse to be co-opted by Stand with Us. Transphobia and homophobia are real problems in Israel, as the violent attack on LGBT youth
last year proved. Stand with Us has no interest in addressing these pressing
issues, and does not actually support ongoing struggles for queer rights
within Israel. Instead they flaunt the rights that we do have, erasing the
need for continued struggle, for us, but more importantly, for other even
more oppressed groups. We will not allow Stand with Us to use our hard
earned rights to demonize the arab world and to justify denying the rights
of the Palestinians.
Being Jewish citizens of Israel affords us many rights denied to others, despite our queerness. We are acutely aware of our excess privilege within the apartheid state of Israel. For us this is no cause for pride and celebration, but rather it forces us to be accountable and take action. That means we can, and must, fight for rights and justice for all.
Please don’t let Stand with Us lead a workshop that will detract from this
important struggle for justice.
Israeli Queers For Palestine