Palestinian queers: ‘Boycott Israel!’

Sunday, July 4, 2010
Banner of US solidarity group, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT). Photo: dannyman/Flickr

The following statement was released on June 27 by the group Palestinian Queers for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions – an international campaign to isolate Israel in protest against its treatment of Palestinians). Support for the BDS campaign has grown significantly since Israel’s massacre of peace activists on a boat taking aid to Gaza on May 31.

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Palestinian Queers for BDS call upon all queer groups, organisations and individuals around the world to boycott the apartheid state of Israel.

As Palestinian queers, we see the queer movements as political in nature; as movements that analyse the intersections between different struggles, evaluate relations of power and try to challenge them.

We firmly believe fighting for the rights of oppressed and marginalised queer minorities cannot be separated from fighting against all forms of oppression around the world. This is evident in the proud history of the queer movement worldwide, which has joined many global socio-political struggles against manifestations of oppression, imperialism, injustice, and discrimination wherever they exist.

Continuing this proud history, we call upon lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender queer and intersex (LGBTQI) communities around the globe to stand for justice in Palestine through adopting and implementing broad boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, until it ends its multi-tiered oppression of the Palestinian people, in line with the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for BDS.

For 62 years, Israel’s oppressive regime of colonisation, occupation and apartheid has systematically and consistently denied the Palestinian people of their basic human rights. Palestinians living in the West Bank have been subjected to a brutal military occupation manifested by Israel’s illegal colonies, checkpoints, and the apartheid wall.

Palestinians living inside Israel continue to face systematic, legalised apartheid policies that discriminate against them in all walks of life, rendering them second-class citizens, at best, inside Israel.

Most Palestinians in the diaspora continue to be denied their United Nations-sanctioned right of return to their homes. The 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza face the most brutal oppression of all, living in an open-air prison after years of the illegal Israeli siege on the Gaza strip, described as “slow genocide” by prominent international law experts.

This ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people does not differentiate between Palestinian queers and non-queers. Not only do Palestinian queers face these injustices daily and undergo the Israeli oppression like any other Palestinian, but our name and struggle is often wrongly used and abused to “Pinkwash” Israel’s continuous crimes against the whole Palestinian population.

In recent years, Israel has been leading an international campaign that tries to present Israel as the “only democracy” and the “gay haven” in the Middle East, while ironically portraying Palestinians, who suffer every single day from Israel’s state racism and terrorism, as barbaric and homophobic.

Thus, we call on queer groups, organisations and individuals around the world to stand for justice in the face of Israel’s pinkwashing efforts through joining the global BDS campaign against Israel until it fully complies with international law and ends its occupation, colonisation and apartheid.

We call on you to:
• Endorse the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for BDS, spread it in your queer community;
• Reject all invitations to speak at and collaborate with Israeli universities and institutions, in accordance with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel guidelines;
• Campaign against all activities aiming to pinkwash Israel’s crimes and oppression against the Palestinian people, and
• Organise in your respective communities to initiate BDS campaigns, or join existing ones.

[Reprinted from Pqbds.wordpress.com.]

From GLW issue 843