29 January 2012

Open Letter to LGBTIQ Communities and Allies on the Israeli Occupation of Palestine

An Open Letter to LGBTIQ Communities and Allies on the Israeli Occupation of Palestine - received from Mondoweiss on 28 JANUARY 2012

We are a diverse group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and trans activists, academics, artists, and cultural workers from the United States who participated in a solidarity tour in the West Bank of Palestine and Israel from January 7-13, 2012.

What we witnessed was devastating and created a sense of urgency around doing our part to end this occupation and share our experience across a broad cross-section of the LGBTIQ community. We saw with our own eyes the walls—literally and metaphorically—separating villages, families and land. From this, we gained a profound appreciation for how deeply embedded and far reaching this occupation is through every aspect of Palestinian daily life.

So too, we gained new insights into how Israeli civil society is profoundly affected by the dehumanizing effects of Israeli state policy toward Palestinians in Israel and in the West Bank. We were moved by the immense struggle being waged by some Israelis in resistance to state policies that dehumanize and deny the human rights of Palestinians.

We ended our trip in solidarity with Palestinian and Israeli people struggling to end the occupation of Palestine, and working for Palestinian independence and self-sovereignty.

Among the things we saw were:

* the 760 km (470 mi) separation wall (jidar) partitioning and imprisoning the Palestinian people;

* how the wall’s placement works to confiscate large swaths of Palestinian land, splits villages and families in two, impedes Palestinians from working their agricultural land, and in many cases does not advance the ostensible security interests of Israel;

* a segregated road system (one set of roads for cars with Israeli plates, and another much inferior one for cars with Palestinian plates) throughout the West Bank, constructed by the Israeli state and enforced by the Israeli army; these roads ease Israeli travel to and from illegal settlements in the West Bank and severely impede Palestinian travel between villages, to agricultural land, and throughout a territory which is and has been their homeland;

* a system of permits (identification cards) that limits the travel of Palestinian people and functionally imprisons them, separating them from family, health care, jobs and other necessities;

* militarized checkpoints with barbed wire and soldiers armed with automatic rifles and the humiliation and harassment the Palestinian people experience daily in order to travel from one place to another;

* the reconfiguration of maps to render invisible Palestinian villages/homelands;

* harmful living conditions created and enforced by Israeli law and policy such as limited access to water and electricity in many Palestinian homes;

* violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, and the ongoing growth of illegal settlements facilitated by the Israeli military;

* homelessness as a result of the razing of Palestinian homes by the Israeli state;

* home invasions, tear gas attacks, “skunk water” attacks, and the arrest of Palestinian children by the Israeli military as part of ongoing harassment designed to force Palestinian villagers to give up their land;

While travel restrictions prevented us from directly witnessing the state of things in the Gaza Strip, we believe the blockade of the Gaza Strip has produced a humanitarian crisis of monumental proportion.

Our time together in Palestine has led us to understand that we have a responsibility to share with our US based LGBTIQ communities what we saw and heard so that we can do more together to end this occupation. In that spirit, we offer the following summary points in solidarity with the Palestinian people:

The liberation of the Palestinian people from the project of Israeli occupation is the foremost goal of the Palestinian people and we fully support this aim. We also understand that liberation from this form of colonization and apartheid goes hand in hand with the liberation of queer Palestinians from the project of global heterosexism.

We call out and reject the state of Israel’s practice of pinkwashing, that is, a well-funded, cynical publicity campaign marketing a purportedly gay-friendly Israel to an international audience so as to distract attention from the devastating human rights abuses it commits on a daily basis against the Palestinian people. Key to Israel’s pinkwashing campaign is the manipulative and false labeling of Israeli culture as gay-friendly and Palestinian culture as homophobic. It is our view that comparisons of this sort are both inaccurate – homophobia and transphobia are to be found throughout Palestinian and Israeli society – and that this is beside the point: Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine cannot be somehow justified or excused by its purportedly tolerant treatment of some sectors of its own population. We stand in solidarity with Palestinian queer organizations like Al Qaws and Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (PQBDS) whose work continues to impact queer Palestinians and all Palestinians. (http://www.alqaws.org, http://www.pqbds.com/)

We urge LGBTIQ individuals and communities to resist replicating the practice of pinkwashing that insists on elevating the sexual freedom of Palestinian people over their economic, environmental, social, and psychological freedom. Like the Palestinian activists we met, we view heterosexism and sexism as colonial projects and, therefore, see both as interrelated and interconnected regimes that must end.

We stand in solidarity with queer Palestinian activists who are working to end the occupation, and also with Israeli activists, both queer and others, who are resisting the occupation that is being maintained and extended in their name.

We name the complicity of the United States in this human rights catastrophe and call on our government to end its participation in an unjust regime that places it and us on the wrong side of peace and justice.

We support efforts on the part of Palestinians to achieve full self-determination, such as building an international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement which calls for the fulfillment of three fundamental demands:


The end of the Occupation and the dismantling of the Wall (jidar).

The right of return for displaced Palestinians.

The recognition and restoration of the equal rights of citizenship for Israeli citizens of Palestinian descent.

We call upon all of our academic and activist colleagues in the US and elsewhere to join us by supporting all Palestinian efforts that center these three demands and by working to end US financial support, at $8.2 million daily, for the Israeli state and its occupation.

Signed, January 25, 2012:

Katherine Franke Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Director, Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, Columbia University; Board Member Center for Constitutional Rights

Barbara Hammer Filmmaker, Faculty at European Graduate School

Tom Léger Editor, PrettyQueer.com

Darnell L. Moore writer and activist

Vani Natarajan Humanities and Area Studies Librarian, Barnard College

Pauline Park Chair, New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA)

Jasbir K. Puar Rutgers University, Board Member Audre Lorde Project

Roya Rastegar Independent artist and scholar

Dean Spade Assistant Professor, Seattle University School of Law and Collective Member, Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Kendall Thomas Nash Professor of Law, Columbia University

Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz intersections/intersecciones consulting

Juliet Widoff, MD Callen-Lorde Community Health Center

All organizational affiliations are listed for identification purposes only and in no way indicate a position taken by such organizations on the issues raised in this statement.


I join the call to stand in solidarity with queer and other Palestinians and progressive Israelis who are working to end the occupation; oppose the state of Israel's practice of pinkwashing; and support efforts on the part of Palestinians to achieve full self-determination including building an international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.


E-mail address:

Affiliation (optional):

The following have signed the petition:

Carlos Juarez

Dani Nayyar


Andrew Brett

Uri Horesh

David Staines

anna in \'t Veld

Nada Elia

Joseph Wilk

Michael Nebeling Petersen

University of Copenhagen

Candice Haddad

Corinne Mason

University of Ottawa, Canada

Cynthia Wu

University at Buffalo

Ximena Mejia


Wendy Elisheva Somerson

Jewish Voice for Peace

thomas reade-duncan

PSOE. Spain.

John Meeks

Liv Rolf Mertz

Translator & independent scholar

Judith Butler

UC Berkeley/Columbia University

Sherry Wolf

author, Sexuality and Socialism

Kevin Henderson

Jesuit Volunteer Corps

Justin Mendoza

Frida Grey

Zohar Weiman-Kelman

Jerusalem/UC Berkeley

Ronak Kapadia

NYU, Board Member, FIERCE

Stephan Edel


Haitham Ennasr

MFA Candidate - Parsons the New School for Design

Kate Huh

Artist, filmmaker and disability rights activist

Tey Meadow

Cotsen-LGBT Fellow, Princeton Society of Fellows

Aous Mansouri

Adelina Anthony

JR Martin

Teah O\'Neill

Chloe Lenow

University of California, Santa Barbara

Dina Siddiqi

Hunter College, New York

Katie Dalby

Michael David Franklin

Christoph Hanssmann

Aren Aizura

Rutgers University

Nika Short

Jules Cowan

Hampshire College

Chandra Talpade Moahnty

Syracuse University

Tamara Lea Spira

UC Davis

Jade Brooks

yvette assem

Marisol LeBrón

New York University

Sophia Kiernan

Angelica Chazaro

Benjamin Doherty

Katherine LaPorte

University of Washington

Yasmin Lorentz

caterina donattini

Moyra Lang

University of Alberta, Canada

Debra Levine

New York University

Scott Tucker

Writer and socialist

Ricardo A. Bracho

Luke Taylor

elle flanders

Filmmaker, Scholar, York University


Kim Wool

susan rouda

Patricia Ticineot Clough


Craig Willse

The College of Wooster

Lily Seaman

Mia Mingus

Moya Bailey

Cecilia Márquez

Jennifer Queenan

Teachers College, Columbia University

Kamea Blackman

Latham Zearfoss

Chances Dances

Himika Bhattacharya

Syracuse University

Luke Andreoni

Alex Cachinero-Gorman

Punks Against Apartheid, Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights

Sima Shakhsari

Univ. of Houston

Bogdan Sarachev

Goldsmiths, University of London

Suha Dabbouseh

Sakhi, CUNY School of Law, Class of 2011

David Kazanjian

University of Pennsylvania

Priya Kandaswamy

Mills College

Grace Kyungwon Hong

UCLA Women's Studies

Sunaina Maira

UC Davis

Nilda Brooklyn

Sandra Mukasa

Princeton University

Dianne Moore

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid

Sarah Schulman


Tavia Nyong\'o

New York University

amit rai

Kemal Ordek

Pembe Hayat (Pink Life)

Kris Mizutani

Marlon Woodward

Ruth Preser

Isha l'Isha Haifa - Feminist Center

Elizabeth Prada Fredes

Global gender studies in Gothemburg, Sweden

Adriane Chalastra

Halifax Queers Against Israeli Apartheid

Jaroslaw Pietrzak

Jolie Harris

Thrive Social Justice

Rico Chenyek

Brian Lewis

Lamise Noor

Students for Justice in Palestine

Steph St.Clair

Dave Arguelles

Naomi Braine

Brooklyn College, CUNY

Susanna Smith

Dyke Community Activists

Selma Al-Aswad Dillsi

Michael Schembri

Organiser with the Finance Sector Union of Australia

Sid Jordan

Reteaching Gender & Sexuality / PUT THIS ON THE MAP

Terri Ginsberg

International Council for Middle East Studies

Andreana Clay

Stephanie Diebold

Job Path NYC

Rachael Marks

Zoe Holmes

Lisa Duggan

New York University

Valery Hernandez

Irini mar

Alex Barron

St. Edwards University

taryn harnett

Donna Nevel

Jews Say No!

Elizabeth Bernstein

Barnard College

D. Alwan

Birthright Unplugged

Tomomi Kinukawa

University of the Pacific

Marty Correia

Jessica Fields

San Francisco State University

sylas wright

John Greyson


Jordan Stein

Ruth Oppenheim-Rothschild

Timothy Colman

Philly Jews for a Just Peace

Lucy Andich

Laurence A. Padua

Kyle Croft

Caitlin Childs

Nicole Barakat


Megan Zakany

Jian Chen

Ohio State University, Columbus

Jordan Flaherty


Albert Tőkés

Olivier Roy

University of Montreal

krissy mahan


Dalit Baym

Eric A. Stanley


Catherine Gaffney

Colleen Jankovic

University of Pittsburgh

Sasha Jacques

Dalit Baum


LD Follins



Oliver Haimson

Grace Chang

UC Santa Barbara

Joey Mogul

People's Law Office

Erica R. Meiners

Professor, Northeastern Illinois University

Meredith Fenton

Nancy Stoller

University of California, Santa Cruz

Cindy Newman

Rebecca Jordan-Young

Assistant Prof, Barnard College and Board Member, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS)

Rachel Anton

Nancy Herzig

Amita Swadhin

Fabiola Lazzurri

Ami Mattison

Piya Chatterjee

Elizabeth Walsh

Kate Conroy

New York City

Jane Ward

Rori Rohlfs

UC Berkeley

Elizabeth Pickett

Travis Sands

University of Washington, Bothell

Mahmoud Salama


April Sizemore-Barber

UC Berkeley

Diana Sands

louije kim

Brooke Willock

Sarah K Hogarth

Shawn Tristan

Natasha Vally

Hedy Epstein

marita mayer

Martha Hubert

Genna Watson

Queer Youth Space

Lindsay Hart

Eric Vazquez

Carnegie Mellon University

Suzy Salamy

Conall Cash

Benjamin Wade

human being

Heather Love

University of Pennsylvania

Jack Fertig

Caoimhe Mader McGuinness

independent scholar/sex workers open university

Paul McAndrew

Katrina Thompson

Alexis Canoy

Elise Archer

Roger Hallas

Syracuse University

Maria Evalyn Tapere

University of San Carlos

Hannah Mermelstein

Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel

Julia Lachica

Visual Artist

Megan Shaughnessy-Mogill

Z. Karim

Cindy Shamban

Jessica Rosenerg

Karen Dodds

Treva Ellison

University of Southern California

Rachel Burgess

Catherine Shields

Gregory Bynum

Nava EtShalom

Summer Starr

Hannah Howard

Gender Justice LA

Thierry Schaffauser

Sex worker trade unionist

Marek Falk

Cindy Sousa

Mani Rashtipour

Najma Khanzada

Nadia Sindi

Martje Belka

Annette Dubois

Penny Rosenwasser

May haduong

Adi Moreno

University of Manchester

Laura Horak

Stockholm University

Fred Saliba


Tara Mateik

Artist, CUNY

Sarah Colborne

Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Britain, LGBT activist

Adam Qvist

Free Gaza Danmark


Sita Balani

Leslie Feinberg

Jaimes Mayhew


Jessica Cadwallader

University of Groningen

Dara Silverman

Minnie Bruce Pratt

National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981

Gert Hekma

University of Amsterdam

Leslie Cagan

Susan Barney

Sarah Paule

Sunaina Maira

UC Davis

Sara Driscoll

Pratibha Parmar


eleanor roffman

malini johar schueller

M. Bissenbakker Frederiksen

University of Copenhagen

Kathy Roberts

Maureen Curtin

Alexander Baldassano

Sue Katz

Jewish Women for Justice in Israel/Palestine

Max Kreijn

Joseph Russo

Goldsmiths, University of London

Mikki Stelder

Queeristan (Amsterdam)

Enmaia Gelman

NYC Queers Against Israeli Apartheid

Kate Kozeniewski

Heike Schotten

Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston

David Klein

California State University,Northridge

Merrill Cole

Western Illinois University

Alexandra Juhasz

Pitzer College

Vanessa McEnery

Rae Rozman

Ashley Dawson

City University of New York

Claudia Schippert

Julia Johnson

Alyosha Goldstein

Emma Perez

University of Colorado, Boulder

Amy L. Brandzel

University of New Mexico

Kristine Danielson

Wayne State University

Laurie Wager


Edie Pistolesi

Sharad Chari

London School of Economics

Liam Lair

University of Kansas

Alex Lubin

American University of Beirut

Elisabeth Lund Engebretsen


Chrissy Hunter


Eric Nicolas Every

Lanka Tattersall

Kazim Ali

writer and translator

Ian Barnard

California State University, Northridge


Jay Botsford

Farhang Rouhani

University of Mary Washington

Holly Jones

Clark University Students for Palestinian Rights

Mel Mel Sukekawa-Mooring

Hampshire College

Daniel Werner

Shashi Thandra

Wayne State University

Max Macrae

Clark University

Max Cohen

Joyce Choi Li

Ahwa Al-Busaidy

Nicola Dunn

concerned citizen of Australia

S E Sanbar

Amanda McQuade

Clark University Students for Palestinian Rights

Bob Olivarez Jr.

Anabela Rocha

Hima B.

Filmmaker & member of Park Slope Food Coop BDS

Adifah Crista Kelly Sadler

Emanuela Bianchi

New York University

Aneil Rallin

Soka University of America

Michael Connors Jackman

York University

James C Faris

University of Connecticut (Emeritus)

Susette Min

UC Davis

Sydney Campos

Jenny Peto

Kyla Schuller

Rutgers Unviersity

Amina Mama

University of California, Davis


Gayatri Gopinath

New York University

Caroline Picker

T. Berto

university of guelph

Sara Giordano

sue goldstein

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN), Canada

Sasha Klein

Honna Veerkamp

Paola Bacchetta

zillah eisenstein

dept. of politics, ithaca college

Ilona Margiotta

Linda Chavez

Anette Ahmed Lebbad

Feministisk Initiativ

Norma Cardenas

Oregon State University

Herman De Ley

Ghent Univ. (Belgium)

Joan Hawkins

Stuart Comer

Marla Erlien

Elena Glasberg


Kim Ford

Michelle Dallalah

Stanford University

Rosalind Petchesky

City University of New York

Isa Kocher

Rand Carter

Kirk Grisham

Patrick Benitez

Stanford University

Michael Litwack

Brown University

patty ahn

koreans united for equality

Tyrone Boucher

Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance (AORTA)

Johanna Worley

Edwin McCready

Foley Ricchi

Shahla Khan Salter

Muslims for Progressive Values Canada

Millie Wilson

Jess Sundin

MN Anti-War Committee

patricia rodriguez

ithaca college, ny

Stephanie Gilman

Deepti Misri

University of Colorado, Boulder

Martha Wallner

Jewish Voice for Peace Bay Area Chapter

Mary Åberg

David Lloyd

Univ of Southern California

Tanya Aydelott

Mara Conroy Hughes

Rutgers University--Graduate School of Education

Ian Scott Horst

Author of The Cahokian blog; http://thecahokian.blogspot.com/; Occupy Sunset Park activist

John Dickerson

Peter Coviello

april kamilah

Judy Yu

Dana Luciano

Georgetown University

Dr. Joelle Ruby Ryan

TransGender New Hampshire

Eleanor Kilroy

Rüzgår Buschky

Lambdaistanbul LGBT Solidarity Association

Rich Wandel

Mannie De Saxe

Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne (Australia)

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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm