Category Archives: GLBT

Peter Tatchell protests Israel’s pinkwashing and endorses the boycott of Israel

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Peter Tatchell added his name to a letter supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel and protesting Israel’s PR tactic of “pinkwashing”, ie, presenting itself as a progressive democratic state on account of supposedly gay-friendly policies.  This is a re-blog of the letter, as it was published originally in February, 2012.  
Dear Editor,
February brings events marking Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, and London will host this summer’s WorldPride Festival, four decades on from the Gay Liberation Front’s first Gay Pride events. Simultaneous and overlapping with the civil rights, anti-apartheid and Women’s Liberation movements, GLF also drew inspiration from the national liberation struggles of people freeing themselves from colonialism. The LGBT rights we now celebrate originate in the groundbreaking work of that era.
How ironic it would be if, in an attempt to gain a veneer of respectability by promoting itself as a liberal, tolerant haven for gay people and a prime gay holiday destination, an oppressive regime which routinely violates human rights, practises institutional racism and dispossesses an indigenous population tried to co-opt that progress.
As long-term advocates of LGBT and women’s rights, some of whom created the first Gay Pride events, we wish to express our concern at the cynical hijacking of those rights by Israel’s ‘pinkwashing’ PR campaign. The specious freedoms enjoyed by some Israeli gay people and visitors to Tel Aviv’s nightclubs bear no more relation to real equality than did the privileges accorded white people during South African apartheid. Pinkwashing tries to divert attention from the untold suffering caused by Israel’s subjection of the Palestinians to siege, bombardment, military occupation, ethnic cleansing, land theft, settler violence, killings (180 in 2011 alone), imprisonment, forced exile, the crushing of economic, educational and social infrastructure and denial of legitimate aspirations to self-determination.
We write in solidarity with Palestinian LGBT and civil society organisations who initiated the burgeoning global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to bring pressure to bear upon Israel until it complies with international law, and endorse their insistence on the universality of human rights. We invite all who share our abhorrence of Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians to observe the boycott of Israeli tourism and goods, and hope that LGBT people encountering pinkwashing will take pride in remembering the roots of our campaigning history and support the Palestinian quest for justice.
Sincerely,
Frankie Green, Mary McIntosh, Peter Tatchell, Stuart Feather, Miriam Margolyes O.B.E., Pratibha Parmar, Linda Bellos O.B.E., Rumana Hashem, Jane Lane, Sarah Colborne, Director, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Professor Oishik Sircar
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Princeton Students COME OUT for Palestinians on Campus!!


Over 40 students, from Princeton University, NJ, are breaking the stigma, by “coming out” for Palestine. This term, usually applied to the GLBT community, also applies to solidarity with Palestine, because people often attempt to hide their solidarity, as it is not widely accepted (yet) in the USA and on campuses. From the video:
“We are over 40 Princeton University students participating in a public expression of solidarity with Palestine. For more, visit http://www.icomeoutforpalestine.tumblr.com”
The decision this May by the esteemed Professor Stephen Hawking to support the academic boycott of Israel, boosts student efforts in to support Palestinians. For more see http://www.facebook.com/Stephen.Hawking.Supports.Academic.Boycott

SFP’s Oberlin Divest Campaign Sees Huge Victory!

oberlin

Oberlin Students Vote for Divestment

Victory in Students for a Free Palestine’s Divestment Campaign

Oberlin, OH: In a historic moment on Sunday May 5th, Oberlin College Student Senate voted to divest from a set of 6 companies that profit from the occupation and oppression of Palestinians. Oberlin College Students for a Free Palestine (SFP) presented a resolution calling for divestment and a supporting petition. After a three-hour plenary, Student Senate voted by majority to support the resolution with several modifications.

“We are thrilled that this resolution has passed.  We’re proud that our senate has decided to stand on the side of justice,” says Lucia Kalinosky, OC ‘13, a member of SFP.

This is a major milestone in SFP’s Oberlin Divest campaign, which follows the principles of the 2005 Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). Next semester, SFP will take their resolution to the Oberlin College Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee, which will determine if Oberlin adopts the financial policies outlined in the resolution.

Oberlin’s divestment campaign provides students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members with an opportunity to raise the cost of the Israeli government’s human rights violations in a non-violent initiative to effect change. It has been endorsed by Oberlin’s Responsible Investing Organization, Student Labor Action Coalition, Mexican American Students Association, La Alianza Latina, South Asian Students Association, Oberlin Queer Wellness Coalition, Edmonia Lewis Center for Women and Transgender People, and Multicultural Resource Center.

Oberlin SFP specifically calls for Oberlin College divestment from Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar, Veolia, Elbit Systems, G4S, and SodaStream. These six companies represent a wide range of injustices perpetrated on the Palestinian people by Israel. By endorsing the resolution, Oberlin College will join a growing global movement for justice in Israel/Palestine.  This resolution comes on the heels of similar resolutions at UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, and Brown University.

Four modifications were made to the resolution by the Senate. First, “Palestinian Territories” was defined as The West Bank, The Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Second, the Palestinian BDS Call was removed from the stated reasons for divesting. Third, a clause stating that the list would be updated to include other companies doing similar actions was removed, and senators asked SFP to write a detailed plan forming a committee to update the list, which will be voted on in the fall. Finally, senates added the word “directly” to the clauses giving criteria for divestment.

“The Palestinian people called on all people of conscience throughout the world to take action to advocate for justice,” says Hannah Elhard, OC ‘13. “By voting for divestment, Oberlin lives up to its progressive history and reputation.”

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Students for a Free Palestine is a Palestine solidarity group at Oberlin College. It is a nonhierarchical organization of students with a variety of backgrounds and points of view. We all agree, however, that Israel must end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and that all sides must respect human rights. Students for a Free Palestine is the oldest student Palestine solidarity organization in the United States.

PRESS RELEASE: Peter Tatchell endorses Boycott of Israel, NO to Pinkwashing

10 Feb 2012

Peter

 

Australian born British human rights activist Peter Tatchell photographed at his home in Elephant and Castle, London on 18th December 2009. Photograph: Richard Saker

PRESS RELEASE (London 9/2/12): LGBT and Human Rights Advocates Speak Out Against Israeli PinkwashingAs Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month gets underway in the UK, human rights advocates are adding their voices to the global responses to Israel’s attempt to ‘pinkwash’ its oppressive nature by portraying itself as progressive and liberal with regard to gay rights. In a letter to the press today, veterans of the Gay Liberation Front, Stop Clause 28, Outrage!, other campaigns and their allies express concern over the hi-jacking of LGBT rights as a propaganda smokescreen to divert attention from Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians.

Pointing out that the gay rights movement originated at the time of civil rights, anti-apartheid and Women’s Liberation movements, and drew inspiration from people striving for freedom from colonialism, they say it would be ‘ironic if, in an attempt to gain a veneer of respectability by promoting itself as a liberal, tolerant haven for gay people and a prime gay holiday destination, a regime routinely violating human rights, practising institutional racism and dispossessing an indigenous population’ tried to co-opt their hard-won progress.

Last year an anti-pinkwashing picket of a state-sponsored Israeli gay art exhibition took place in Soho, and more actions under the banner ‘No Pride in Israeli Apartheid!’ are planned. Trade unionists, feminists, Palestine Solidarity campaigners, activists, actors, academics and artists are rallying to express condemnation of pinkwashing and solidarity with Palestinian queer groups, who are part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, as are anti-occupation Israelis who oppose Israel’s attempts to exploit LGBT rights to win legitimacy. ‘Marketing Israel to holiday-makers is particularly callous when there is a world-wide diaspora of ethnically-cleansed Palestinians prevented from returning to their homeland,’ Sarah Colborne, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said. ‘There are plenty of other places to enjoy beaches and clubbing without supporting a brutal, racist state at the expense of dispossessed people.’

‘The state of Israel is increasingly desperate for positive PR, and is under huge pressure from the international BDS movement to end its apartheid system,’ said campaigner Frankie Green, a GLF member in the 1970s. ‘They are spending millions on rebranding Israel, and pinkwashing is a deliberate part of that. London is hosting World Pride 2012, and we hope anyone encountering pinkwashing will remember the movement’s history and support the Palestinian quest for justice.’

No Pride in Israeli Apartheid!

Full text of letter below.
For information contact 07999847254 or 07971424296
or see
http://www.prettyqueer.com/2011/11/29/a-documentary-guide-to-pinkwashing-sarah-schulman-new-york-times-oped/
http://www.pinkwatchingisrael.com
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/opinion/pinkwashing-and-israels-use-of-gays-as-a-messaging-tool.html
Palestinian Queers for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions PQBDS
alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society http://www.alqaws.org/
http://israeliqueersforpalestine.wordpress.com
Dear Editor,

February brings events marking Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, and London will host this summer’s WorldPride Festival, four decades on from the Gay Liberation Front’s first Gay Pride events. Simultaneous and overlapping with the civil rights, anti-apartheid and Women’s Liberation movements, GLF also drew inspiration from the national liberation struggles of people freeing themselves from colonialism. The LGBT rights we now celebrate originate in the groundbreaking work of that era.

How ironic it would be if, in an attempt to gain a veneer of respectability by promoting itself as a liberal, tolerant haven for gay people and a prime gay holiday destination, an oppressive regime which routinely violates human rights, practises institutional racism and dispossesses an indigenous population tried to co-opt that progress.

As long-term advocates of LGBT and women’s rights, some of whom created the first Gay Pride events, we wish to express our concern at the cynical hijacking of those rights by Israel’s ‘pinkwashing’ PR campaign. The specious freedoms enjoyed by some Israeli gay people and visitors to Tel Aviv’s nightclubs bear no more relation to real equality than did the privileges accorded white people during South African apartheid. Pinkwashing tries to divert attention from the untold suffering caused by Israel’s subjection of the Palestinians to siege, bombardment, military occupation, ethnic cleansing, land theft, settler violence, killings (180 in 2011 alone), imprisonment, forced exile, the crushing of economic, educational and social infrastructure and denial of legitimate aspirations to self-determination.

We write in solidarity with Palestinian LGBT and civil society organisations who initiated the burgeoning global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to bring pressure to bear upon Israel until it complies with international law, and endorse their insistence on the universality of human rights. We invite all who share our abhorrence of Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians to observe the boycott of Israeli tourism and goods, and hope that LGBT people encountering pinkwashing will take pride in remembering the roots of our campaigning history and support the Palestinian quest for justice.

Sincerely,
Frankie Green, Mary McIntosh, Peter Tatchell, Stuart Feather, Miriam Margolyes O.B.E., Pratibha Parmar, Linda Bellos O.B.E., Rumana Hashem, Jane Lane, Sarah Colborne, Director, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Professor Oishik Sircar

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