Thursday, June 02, 2011
NYC LGBT Center Buckles to Zionists Again
A week ago I spoke too soon.
New York City's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center last week offered space to Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. Today they reneged, and announced a new policy which bans any group — gay or not — which "organizes around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" from renting space at the Center indefinitely.
"The Center has been forced to divert significant resources from its primary purpose of providing programming and services to instead navigating between opposing positions involving the Middle East conflict. The Center, which does not endorse the views of groups to whom it rents space and requires all groups to sign a non-discrimination pledge, has decided to implement this moratorium to allow a cooling off period....
[The Center] agreed to rent space to Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, which conformed to the Center’s application guidelines and signed its non-discrimination agreement. But the ensuing controversy has again consumed significant time and resources and forced Center staff to negotiate issues of anti-Semitism in political expression – an area outside the Center’s expertise. For these reasons, the Center has adopted an indefinite moratorium."
What an outrage. And what utterly false even-handedness. This ban is aimed solely at queer pro-Palestinian activists. It slanderously suggests that the issue involves being asked to be somehow tolerant of anti-Semitism: a total lie raised by the political supporters of Israel having absolutely zero to do with the actual perspective of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, many of whose members are themselves Jewish.
A longtime activist friend of mine summed this up best on Facebook: "I have been in this community since high school, and the people now running the Center are the most destructive non-leaders we have ever been subjected to. They don't know how to solve problems, and they have no moral impulse. They created this crisis through their bad judgement and now they are escalating through more bad decision making. The lack of intelligence and responsibility is stunning. Even the corrupt mafia bar bouncer and the corrupt token clerk who used to run the Pride Parade at least threw a good party."
The Center has been open in New York for almost thirty years. It has provided a place for all sorts of people in the community to meet. Nobody presumes the Center endorses the views or issues of people who meet there, many of whom are outside of what some people call the mainstream. Why should there now be an issue of who inside the gay and lesbian community is able to meet there? Nobody's asking the LGBT Center to take a position on the Middle East. But by trying to silence the discussion, they are in fact choosing a side: the side of right-wing pro-Israel pornographer Michael Lucas who wants nothing more than to do exactly that: silence all opposition to the Israeli apartheid state.
Shame on the LGBT Center. It's time for an "indefinite moratorium" on donations and attendance at that now tarnished institution.