Israel lobby continues to attack queer institutions

June 11, 2011

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) wishes to express its concern about attacks on queer institutions by the Israel lobby—most recently the LGBT Community Services Center in New York.

For the last two years, Toronto’s Israel lobby has been attempting to defund Pride Toronto and drive the organization into bankruptcy because of the presence of “anti-Israel messaging” in Toronto’s annual Pride parade. The Israel lobby has joined with homophobic city politicians to deny Pride Toronto public funding, and has pressured corporate sponsors to withdraw their support.

Now under the leadership of gay porn entrepreneur Michael Lucas, New York’s Israel lobby has succeeded in bullying the LGBT Community Services Centre using the same tactics. In response to threats against its funding, the Center recently announced an “indefinite moratorium” banning groups within the community that “organize around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Pro-Palestinian groups are the only target of this “moratorium.”

In forcing the Center to abandon its mandate to provide space for diverse LGBT community organizing, the Israel lobby has demonstrated its contempt for democracy and its unwillingness to engage in dialogue. The same lobbyists who claim to defend Israel because it is democratic and pro-gay are attempting to destroy queer institutions and stifle free speech. This is an irony that should not be lost on anyone in our communities.

QuAIA wishes to express its solidarity with groups banned from the LGBT Center in NY. We urge the Center to reverse its decision and to once again support free speech and a diversity of opinion in the community.

(For more information on the unaffiliated QuAIA NYC, see the group’s facebook page.)