Below is a report of the efforts of QUIT (Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism) to sabotage the opening of a gay film festival in San Francisco's Castro theater on June 17, and of a counter-demonstration by SF Pro-Israel. Why are these gay people against a gay film festival? You guessed it. It's endorsed by many groups, including the Israel Consulate. QUIT was supported by other groups: Southwest Asian and North African Bay Area Queers (SWANABAQ), and Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC),
QUIT has made no bones about their opposition to the one country that supports gay rights in the Middle East and their support for repressive regimes. They call Israeli sponsorship of gay events "Pinkwashing," which is supposed to mean something. Here's how it came about
In April, the two Palestinian LGBT organizations, Aswat-Palestinian Gay Women and al Qaws (the Rainbow) for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian society issued a statement asking international queers to oppose the Israeli government's new tactic of "pinkwashing." Pinkwashing means the Israeli government's use of its liberal policies on gay rights to deflect criticism of its denial of human rights to Palestinians.
In reality, what QUIT is about is not pinkwashing, but brainwashing.
As a gay advocate noted:
What makes QUIT oxymoronic is that their affinity for Palestine isn't reciprocated. There may be queers for Palestine, but Palestine certainly isn't for queers, either in the livable or empathetic sense. Like all Islamic polities, the Palestinian Authority systematically harasses gay people. Under the cloak of rooting out Israeli "collaborators," P.A. officials extort, imprison, and torture gays. But Palestinian oppression of homosexuality isn't merely a matter of state policy, it's one firmly rooted in Palestinian society, where hatred of gays surpasses even that of Jews. Last October, a gay Palestinian man with an Israeli lover petitioned Israel's high court of justice for asylum, claiming that his family threatened to kill him if he did not "reform." He's one of the few lucky Palestinians to be able to challenge his plight.
A video at the SF Pro-Israel Facebook group shows people entering the theater where the LGBT film festival opened on June 17.
Decide for yourself if this is about "Pinkwashing" or brainwashing. Here's what the gay scene looks like in Israel:
And here's what the gay scene looks like in Muslim countries:
QUIT calls Israeli sponsorship of the festival "pinkwashing", claiming the Israeli government uses its liberal policies on gay rights to deflect external criticism. Why does Israel's progressive record on gay rights upset gay activists? Perhaps its because they keep wanting to frame Israel as a right wing theocracy, when it just refuses to fit into that mold.
Israel remains one of the most progressive countries in the world on LGBT issues and QUIT just doesn't want you to know this. But luckily, the intrepid activists from San Francisco Voice for Israel were there.
From the SF voice for Israel handout:
LGBT Rights in Israel:
* Gays have had full civil rights since 1992
* Gays have full rights to serve in the military
* Gays have partner adoption rights
* Gays have partner benefits for governmental employees
* Same gender marriages preformed abroad are recognized.
LGBT Pride in Israel
* The first transgender person to win the Eurovison contest was Israeli Dana International with her song "Diva".
* Openly gay singer Ivri Lidder is one of Israel's most popular entertainers.
* Openly gay movie producer Eytan Fox has created such popular movies Yossi and Jagger, Walk on Water and The Bubble
* Openly gay politicians have served in the Kenneset and on many local councils.
Just as the LGBT community wants equality, Israel strives for equality amongst the family of nations. Israel must be treated as an equal in the United nations. Israel must be treated fairly by the international news media, and must be recognized by its neighbors with normalized relations. With this in mind, San Francisco Voice for Israel will be marching again in the San Francisco pride parade on June 27, celebrating not just Israel's progressive record in LGBT rights, but acknowledging Israel's striving for equality in a very judgmental world