First the good news:
Welcome back to the 21st century NYC LGBT Center!
The Center just posted a statement overturning their absurd two-year ban on allowing Israel-Palestine related programming, which led to the barring of renowned lesbian thinker Sarah Schulman. Now it’s time to write director Glennda Testone (firstname.lastname@example.org) a note of congratulations for finally ending this embarrassing ban— along with a request that Islamophobe Michael Lucas and others who fuel anti-Palestinian bigotry be responded to appropriately under anti-hate policies. ( Lucas lobbied for the ban in response to a Palestinian rights group’s attempt to rent at the center.)
Now the bad news:
Speaking of anti-Palestinian bigotry, within seconds of the NYC LGBT Center’s posting of their new policy, four NY elected officials, led by NYC Council Speaker Christine C. “I just can’t get enough free trips to Israel” Quinn, issued a NY Jewish Community Relations Council inspired statement supporting the decision but then reiterating their irrational and non-fact based terror of a Palestinian-led nonviolent movement to pressure Israel into respecting the human rights of the people it occupies! Weirder, it reads like a Saturday Night Live parody of surreal Israel-obsequiousness. I mean, it’s hard to imagine these pols similarly tripping over themselves to defend the United States from criticism. And why are they even commenting on another country? They are NY politicians. (photo above: 5-17-10 – Michael Miller, Matt Maryles, Christine Quinn, Jimmy Van Bramer, Dan Halloran and Asaf Shariv at the kickoff of Celebrate Israel Week.)
I’m usually suspicious of conspiracy theories, unless of course they involve Scientology!, but you really have to wonder if this all-out scorched earth campaign against a nonviolent justice movement is simply because Israel expansionists want Palestinians to go back to armed struggle and suicide bombing so Israel can crush them and just take the land in one fell swoop, with the world cheering them on. That’s really the only thing that can explain the insane backlash to pretty basic tactics that have been used by social justice advocates since.. forever.
Here’s the whole, difficult to read statement below from the NY electeds, sent to us from a parallel universe where a country that repeatedly flouts international law using one of the world’s great armies, and its bigoted proxies ( here, here and here), portray themselves as victims, while people who are working frankly just to level the playing field for Palestinians are called purveyors of hate. H/T NY QUAIA
(Phan Nguyen over at Mondoweiss has this must-read article detailing the NY JCRC’s free junket racket devoted to ensuring NY elected officials mouth hasbara lines about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, on demand.)
Joint Statement by NYC Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, NYS Assembly Member Deborah Glick, NYS Senator Brad Hoylman, and NYC Council Member Jimmy Van BramerRe: New LGBT Community Center Space Use Guidelines“We support the new Space Use guidelines, terms and conditions being implemented by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center. Their decision to allow groups to have open discussion and to create a resolution process to address complaints of potential hate-related speech is the correct approach. Under the Center’s new guidelines, all parties will have access to rent space to organize around LGBT issues, and the Center will remain a safe space, where hate-related speech will not be tolerated. This will allow the Center staff and board to promote its core mission of providing health and wellbeing services to our community, in addition to providing a safe and secure forum for issues relevant to NYC’s LGBT community.That said, we want to make abundantly clear that we categorically reject attempts by any organization to use the Center to delegitimize Israel and promote an anti-Israel agenda. We adamantly oppose any and all efforts to inappropriately inject the Center into politics that are not the core of their important mission.We vehemently oppose the absurd accusations by some groups that Israel is engaged in so-called “pinkwashing”. We find this charge offensive and fundamentally detrimental to the global cause of LGBT equality. These accusations should be understood as just one part of the arsenal of those who seek to completely discredit the state of Israel altogether. In fact, Israel’s highly laudable record in advancing LGBT rights deserves praise, not scorn. Given the very poor record of much of the world on LGBT issues, we should be celebrating Israel’s – or any country’s – LGBT equality advances. We must always encourage countries with strong records of achievement for our community to be rightly and publicly proud so they may set an example for others. We continue to believe that the boycott, sanctions and divestment (BDS) movement against Israel is wrongheaded, destructive, and an obstacle to our collective hope for a peaceful two-state solution.We applaud the Center Board and staff for taking this important step. We now hope everyone will respect the Center as a safe space for open and safe discussions. We hope the Center can move forward and serve the LGBT community as it has always done.”