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Wednesday, June 1, 2011
NY LGBT Center slammed as center of anti-Israel activity
Manhattan institution providing fig leaf for Arab homophobia, Wiesenthal Center says.
Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Wiesenthal Center’s international director, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that Queers Against Israeli Apartheid was a group of “self-hating gays” who “are working against the interests of their own brothers and sisters and should be shunned by all LGBT NGOs. By accepting them, the New York center is providing a fig leaf for Arab homophobia.”
He continued, “Gay anti-Zionism is an oxymoron in that Israel is the only country in the Middle East and in the Islamic region where sexual diversity can be practiced freely without discrimination. In fact, many Palestinian and other Arab gays have sought refuge in Tel Aviv. Gays certainly had no such rights under South African Apartheid, and to even apply that term to Israel is defamatory and the theft of another people’s narrative.”
In February, the LGBT Center agreed to provide space during “Israeli Apartheid Week” to the anti-Israel group Siege Busters, to raise money for a new flotilla to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
After Michael Lucas, a columnist for the gay monthly The Advocate and an adult entertainment producer, called for a financial boycott of the LGBT Center, the center pulled the plug on its “A Party to End Apartheid” event with Siege Busters, saying that the group was not involved in LGBT issues.
As for the center’s move to host Queers Against Israeli Apartheid last week, Lucas told the Post, “The president of the board of directors for the LGBT Center, Mario Palumbo, and its executive director, Glennda Testone, are staunch anti-Zionists. In fact, they are anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli to the point that they would not meet with representatives from major Jewish organizations (Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs) that wanted to explain to them that the word ‘apartheid’ cannot be applicable to the Jewish state.”
Lucas continued, “Initially, they agreed to the meeting, but then they canceled it two hours prior. However, they have had many meetings with all the anti-Israeli organizations that requested a meeting, culminating in the decision to grant them the space.”
It appears that the activists from Siege Busters have switched over to Queers Against Israeli Apartheid so they can argue that their group is involved in LGBT issues.
“If the NYC LGBT Center is to embrace this new ‘policy of moral relativism’ it will need to open its doors immediately to other hate organizations that cleverly append the word ‘queer’ to their names, like ‘Queer Neo Nazis, ‘Queers for al- Qaida,’ ‘Queers for Ahmadinejad,’ ‘Queers for Prop 8,’ or ‘Queers Against Gay Adoption,’ ‘Queers for AIDS,’ Lucas said.
“Of course they won’t do it, because they would consider this hate speech, but bashing Israel is perfectly fine with them.