IGLYO abandons Arab queer youth, signs up for Israel’s pinkwashing campaign

June 11, 2011

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (Toronto) joins with those expressing disappointment in the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization. To accept Israeli government money to hold its General Assembly in Israel despite the international call for boycott until Israel complies with international law is a betrayal of the IGLYO mandate. This is especially disturbing given that the decision was made after appeals by Palestinian queer organizations to respect the boycott. They have made it clear that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is a major barrier to their work. The IGLYO has not only chosen a site inaccessible to them, but it has sent a message to queers throughout the Arab world that they are not part of our movement. In doing so, IGLYO increases their vulnerability, undermines their work and isolates them from the wider queer solidarity movement.

It is disingenuous to claim that the choice of Tel Aviv is a sign of neutrality in this conflict. IGLYO is in fact making itself complicit in Israel’s pinkwashing strategy: a PR campaign that uses Israel’s legal tolerance of queers to justify the violent apartheid system it forces Palestinians to live under. There are dozens of suitable locations around the world where IGLYO can hold its General Assembly. Until Israel respects international law and dismantles its apartheid system, Tel Aviv is not one of them.