Archive for July, 2011


QuAIA congratulates Palestinian Queers for BDS on victory in moving IGLYO meeting from Tel Aviv

July 29, 2011

QuAIA congratulates Palestinian Queers for BDS (PQBDS) for their important victory in convincing the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Youth and Student Organization (IGLYO) to reverse its decision to hold its general assembly in Israel. Here is the the PQBDS statement on this victory:

Victory: IGLYO moves out of Israel!

July 29th 2011

Palestinian queer groups welcome the decision by the board of IGLYO to withdraw their annual General Assembly conference from Tel Aviv, Israel. Since June 1st, a campaign to get ‘IGLYO Out of Israel’ was launched byPalestinian Queer Groups to protest the organization’s decision to hold its General Assembly in Tel Aviv, and accept funding from the Israeli government, followed by a call to boycott the conference after IGLYO declined to change its location. We take this opportunity to salute IGLYO Member and Associate Organizations who took a principled and moral stance in support of our rights and headed our calls, including NUSLGBTQ, KaosGL and Pembe Hayat fromTurkey; BelonG To, the Ireland LGBT youth organization; and Helem – Lebanese Protection for LQBTIQ, and IGLCN – The International Gay and Lesbian Cultural Network. This can only be seen as a continuation of the beautiful spirit of global solidarity, dominant during the South African anti-apartheid struggle and ongoing in solidarity with the rights of the Palestinian people, and oppressed people everywhere. We also call on other member organizations, and IGLYO to fully respect the Palestinian civil society call for BDS until Israel ends its oppression of the Palestinian people.

Palestinian Queer groups have launched this campaign in protest of the location’s conference, and acceptance of funding from the Israeli government, which directly implicates IGLYO in Israel’s occupation, colonization and apartheid, and Israeli efforts to ‘re-brand’ Israel. Israeli policies and occupation do not distinguish between queer and straight. All Palestinians—queer and straight— must deal with the effects of Israel’s apartheid system, illegal wall and colonial settlements, and military occupation. Furthermore, Palestinians in Gaza live under medieval and illegal siege, and the largest open-air prison in the world. Like all Palestinian citizens of Israel, queers are subject to institutionalized discrimination in all walks of life, and Palestinian refugees are denied their basic, UN-sanctioned right of return.

In light of this effective and commendable solidarity with our call for boycott of IGLYO’s GA in Israel, this decision by the IGLYO board can only be seen as a direct result of effective pressure from the IGLYO Out of Israel campaign and the strong moral stand taken by several IGLYO member and associate organizations, and other international groups. We urge other believe that Member Organizations and the IGLYO Board of Directors to heed our call, and respect our picket line by boycotting all complicit Israeli institutions, and any events that are in violation of the BDS call.

We, however, were disappointed by the vague reasoning and language used in IGLYO’s statement announcing the cancellation, and the complete ignorance of the calls and reasoning provided by Palestinian queer groups in opposition of the conference’s location. IGLYO cited ‘recent legal changes in Israel’ as a reason for their decision, they did not specify the nature of these changes, or why they are problematic, and thus did not address the underlying issues at the heart of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and thus Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights. This kind of wishy-washy reasoning allows IGLYO to back down from an unpopular decision, under pressure, while avoiding taking a stance on Israeli violations. A number of repressive laws have recently been passed in the Israeli parliament, including the anti-BDS law, and the Nakba law, and are part of an ongoing pattern of repressive laws that aim to further narrow the already dismal margin of freedoms available to those protesting Israel’s occupation, colonialism and system of racial discrimination and to effectively criminalize Palestinian non-violent resistance and solidarity with it. These laws, however, are but a part of a 63-year old policy of systematic discrimination against the Palestinian people. It isn’t just recent laws that should raise ‘concerns,’ but all the patently racist laws that have been passed by the Israeli Knesset throughout the last 63 years aiming to maintain a system of domination of one racial group over another.

Furthermore, IGLYO’s encouragement of its Member Organizations to participate in the Israeli Gay Youth International LGBTQ Youth Leadership Summit to be held in Tel Aviv in December, is indicative of the organization’s blatant hypocrisy. By continuing to support IGY and encouraging its MOs to attend this summit, IGLYO is ignoring the demands of Palestinian queer groups, our rights to an end of occupation, colonization and apartheid, and is de-facto crossing our picket line. The fact that IGLYO has moved its General Assembly from Israel is not enough while they are still encouraging their member organizations to violate the BDS guidelines and attend events in Tel Aviv.

We see IGLYO’s cancellation, under pressure, of its ill-conceived decision to hold its GA in Israel as a major victory for the BDS movement at large. This is particularly significant because this is the first time that such a wide debate around the boycott of Israeli apartheid has been initiated within queercommunities. It is a victory in itself that the IGLYO Out of Israel campaign has encouraged international LGBTQ organizations to view gay rights in the proper, wider context of human rights, and facilitated internal discussions about these issues, with a focus on Palestinian rights.

Once again, we salute our partners for their principled, hard work, and reiterate our call to queersacademicsartists and activists, to take a stance and join the BDS movement against oppression in its many forms, and the Israeli policies of occupation, colonization, and apartheid impacting all Palestinians, queer or otherwise.

For more info please contact:

al-Qaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society: [email protected]

Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions: [email protected]


Lambda Istanbul gives pinkwashing award to IGLYO

July 6, 2011

From Lambda Istanbul:

Every year at Pride, Lambda Istanbul organizes The Genetically Modified Tomato Awards to honour the most homo/transphobic statements or acts of the year. The awards ceremony got its name from a statement by Turkish football star Erman Toroglu who once said that eating genetically modified food can turn you gay.
This year a special “Pinkwashing” Award was given to the IGLYO, the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organization. IGLYO is holding it’s general assembly in Tel Aviv December 2011.
Accepting the award on behalf of IGLYO, Kemal Ordek from Pink Life in Ankara explained that Pink Life is a member of IGLYO but that it had protested the decision to hold the meeting in Tel Aviv and plans to boycott it. “This award goes to the board of IGLYO,” he explained. “They haven’t listened to LGBT groups from around the world. They say that we should stay neutral on political questions. We are not neutral. The people who get killed in Palestine are not just heterosexuals.”

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid drops a massive banner during Toronto Pride

July 3, 2011


At Toronto Pride today, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) dropped a giant banner reading “Support Palestinian Queers–Boycott Israeli Tourism”.

“We’re drawing attention to Israel’s use of LGBT rights as a propaganda tool to justify apartheid policies and the occupation of Palestinian territories,” said QuAIA spokesperson and longtime gay rights activist Tim McCaskell. “We’re saying to queer people, respect yourselves and others. Don’t be used. Don’t pinkwash apartheid. Boycott gay tourism to Israel until it ends its apartheid policies.”

In June of 2010, Palestinian Queers for BDS (PQBDS), a Palestinian queer group with members throughout Israel/Palestine, including the occupied territories, called on queers worldwide to boycott Israel. In March of this year, PQBDS specifically called for a boycott of gay tourism to Israel.

On April 13 of this year, the city manager presented his finding that the term “Israeli apartheid” did not contravene city policy or any Canadian law, and that its use by a participating organization should not be used to defund Pride Toronto. His report was accepted unanimously by city council. Exonerated by the report,on April 15, QuAIA told Rob Ford and Giorgio Mammoliti to find another pretext for their homophobic attacks on Pride. QuAIA committed to not marching in the 2011 Pride parade, but to engage in other activities during Pride Week. In the leadup to Pride, QuAIA hosted two events with renowned Jewish lesbian activist Sarah Schulman, and held a screening of queer films on Palestine. In previous years, QuAIA has fielded the largest contingent in the Pride parade, including a who’s who of queer activists and leaders of all generations.