Tasmanian Palestine Advocacy Network campaigns for ceasefire, LGBTIQ rights

March 1, 2024
The Tasmanian Palestine Advocacy Network marching in this year's Tas Pride Parade. Photo: Janet Hawkes

The Tasmanian Palestine Advocacy Network (T-Pan) marched in this year’s Tas Pride Parade on February 10, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and for queer solidarity with Palestine.

Around 30 T-Pan supporters marched through the CBD with their banner “Queer as in Free Palestine” and handed out flyers. They said “queer as in Free Palestine” was a rejection of pink washing and criticised Israel for its “cooption” of Pride “while committing genocide”.

Palestinian queer advocacy group Al-Qaws said the term “pink washing” was “coined by Palestinian activists who sought to draw attention to … how the Israeli state and its supporters use the language of gay and trans rights to direct international attention away from the oppression of Palestinians.”

For example, the Israeli government posted on X in October: “Looking forward to seeing Hamas raise the rainbow flag in Gaza” to deflect condemnation of its genocidal war crimes in Gaza.


The Tas Pride Parade on February 10. Photo: Tasmanian Palestine Advocacy Network/Facebook

The TasPride march followed T-Pan’s weekly vigil calling for an immediate ceasefire and remembering the Palestinian victims.

T-Pan was formed in the wake of the October 7 incursion by Hamas and Israel’s assault on Gaza in which 30,000 Palestinians have been killed and the Gaza strip destroyed.

The group has held about 20 weekly vigils for the victims of this war.

Adel Youssif, co-founder of T-Pan, said: “We are not far away here in Tasmania. Our government is in this conflict: it is selling arms to Israel. We are right there!”

Labor has been vocal in supporting Israel, but has been forced changed its position at the United Nations, voting in December for a ceasefire in the General Assembly after abstaining in October.

The Greens said Australian-made equipment may be in use in Israel’s assault on Gaza. Palestinian human rights groups have brought a case to the Federal Court to make public all permits for military equipment granted since October 7.

According to the NSW Greens Senator David Shoebridge, Australian arms and ammunition exports to Israel was $13 million in the last five years.

T-Pan’s weekly vigils have been passionate. Zeinab, who is often on the microphone, told Green Left she had not been involved before the most recent war.

When she went to her first rally she “immediately started crying” as soon as she saw her mum as it was “so hard to contain our emotion”.

Zeinab and her mother Nagham are refugees from Iraq. They fled Baghdad in 2008 as the violence kept building, after the 2003 United States-Australian invasion.

Zeinab said that it is “why I feel more connected to it [Gaza].

“My mum told me all about the attack on Iraq in 2003; it was really hard to hear. Now I’m at the age where I can actually contribute. And they’ve [the Palestinians] been experiencing this occupation for much longer and this genocide for much longer.”

T-Pan has been organising “die-ins”, with “bodies” in shrouds representing the tens of thousands of dead Palestinians, at various events and buildings, including Salamanca Market and Taste of Tasmania.

A die-in outside the ABC criticised the national broadcaster’s biased coverage of Israel’s the assault on Gaza.

“For four months now we have seen nothing but one-sided coverage, the perpetuation of racist stereotypes, debunked information and Israeli/US propaganda,” T-Pan said.

The group is concerned that journalist Lebanese-Australian Antoinette Lattouf was fired “for sharing a Human Rights Watch post on her social media about the war in Gaza”.

[Get in touch with T-Pan and get involved.]

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