PhillyBDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) stands with NYC Siege Busters and their unity with the broader social justice community. Activists fighting for human rights and dignity, be it for Palestinians, the LGBT community or any oppressed group, only stand to gain from working together, and we urge the Manhattan LGBT center to uphold it’s long tradition of standing up for those that are marginalized in society.
Many defenders of Israel’s abuses against Palestinians use racist caricatures of Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians, using stereotypes of homophobia to characterize a complex and multi-faceted society. This is “pinkwashing”; the cooptation of the queer movement by Israel as a way to detract attention from its daily violations of International Law. Queer people in the Middle East will not be safe so long as Israel continues to restrict the ability of Palestinians to live full and self-determined lives.
Limiting access to the LGBT Center only perpetuates the systemic oppression of the Palestinian people. Our American society, and the LGBTQ community in particular, should stand for open doors and open spaces, rather than excluding particular peoples, ideas, or identities.
It is our hope that the Manhattan LGBT Center will stand on the side of human rights and intersecting struggles. The struggles against racism, homophobia, and all forms of oppression are all part of the same struggle for free spaces, freedom of expression and the freedom to exist, regardless of identity.