Call for IGLYO Member Organizations: Boycott the General Assembly in Tel Aviv

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Dear IGLYO Board of Directors, Member Organizations and Supporters,

It is with great disappointment that we received the voting results from IGLYO regarding the upcoming General Assembly meeting in Tel Aviv in 2011. We were deeply disheartened to learn that 55% of IGLYO’s Member Organisations voted in favour of keeping the GA in Tel Aviv while 25% abstained from this crucial vote. These actions demonstrate an active collaboration with Israel’s on-going pinkwashing campaign.

However, not all the Member Organisations chose to remain silent and “neutral.” We were inspired and very proud of the support we received from 9 member organisations (20% of the vote). Their vote signals a strong stand in favour of human rights. We find your statements and public support of our call inspirational and heartening; we hope that your strong stance will encourage other member organisations to reconsider their positions on this issue.

In response to the results, we call upon Member Organizations to BOYCOTT the General Assembly in Tel Aviv, and stop working with and supporting organisations that perpetuate Israeli apartheid and its crimes against Palestinians.

A conference held in Tel Aviv with funding from the Israeli state is boycottable, and should not be attended by the international queer community and the Palestinian queer community alike. However, IGLYO’s Board of Directors, as activists for social justice, first and foremost, we find that this simplistic and superficial decision-making process which creates gaps among movements.

Second, IGLYO falsely portrayed the Palestinian struggle as a religious problem between Muslims and Jews that can be solved through interfaith dialogue, refusing to acknowledge that 63 years of apartheid, colonial domination and oppression of the Palestinian people by Israel is not a religious or a political misunderstanding that can be solved with dialogue. Certainly, as individuals of different faiths and backgrounds, living under occupation, we reject this characterisation of our reality.

While ostensibly “neutral” in the decision-making process, IGLYO’s Board established a voting procedure, which precluded an open dialogue between member organisations and Palestinian queer groups and provided a “quick and instant” resolution. Rather than creating an open platform for debate and consensus, IGLYO’s Board of Directors created a damaging gap within its own organization.

IGLYO’s refusal to acknowledge its responsibility in such a decision constitutes complicity with the Israeli policies towards the Palestinian people. Furthermore, IGLYO has failed to honestly address the problem of pinkwashing: Holding the GA in Tel Aviv is actually contributing to a worldwide government-funded campaign that aims to brand Israel and pinkwash its war crime by the use of gay rights that portray Israel and Tel Aviv as THE gay haven while disparaging and demonizing the Palestinian society.

We, Palestinian Queers, would like to thank IGLYO Member Organizations who have taken the time to read our statements, discuss the issue internally, express their opinions and vote. We would especially like to thank MOs who have voted against holding the 2011 GA in Tel Aviv, Israel, and urge them to sustain the courage they showed when they voted against holding the GA in Tel Aviv, boycott IGLYO’s conference in Tel Aviv, and renounce all forms of complicity with the Israelis occupation and the Israeli apartheid.

We welcome organisations who decide to boycott IGLYO’s GA to come to Palestine and meet us, our colleagues, and to learn, first hand, about life under apartheid. We look forward to meeting other queer organisations that share our vision of human rights and commitment to justice.

We ask that all member organizations, and IGLYO’s Board of Directors, to assume responsibility, boycott IGLYO’s General Assembly in Tel Aviv and join the growing BDS movement in favour of human rights and justice in Palestine.

In solidarity,

alQaws for Sexual Diversity in Palestinian Society

Palestinian Queers for BDS

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