Tuesday, January 26, 2016

After anti-Israel rally at gay rights conference, an Israeli discovers BDS

From The Times of Israel:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/after-anti-israel-rally-at-gay-rights-conference-an-israeli-discovers-bds/

‘I knew about BDS, but I didn’t know how common or popular it was becoming,’ LGBTQ activist says as Jewish groups condemn protesters

By Eric Cortellessa January 26, 2016

WASHINGTON — After Jewish groups widely praised the National LGBTQ Task Force’s decision to reverse its cancellation of a Jewish reception featuring Israeli speakers at the 28th annual Creating Change Conference in Chicago, Illinois, they are now condemning what unfolded at that eventual reception on Friday, where roughly 200 protesters prevented the event from taking place.

After igniting fierce controversy last week for the initial cancellation, the nation’s oldest gay rights advocacy group called it “a mistake.” And while its executive director expressed concern over plans that had been circulating for a protest, she urged all involved to remain “peaceful” — counsel that, according to American Jewish organizations and one of the Israelis who was targeted, was not embraced.

But while American Jewish organizations have been monitoring for years the nature of anti-Israel efforts in the United States, the incident was illuminating for an Israeli who traveled to the Windy City not to discuss the political situation between Israelis and Palestinians, but to highlight the struggle for acceptance and equality for gay, lesbian and transgender persons in Israel.

The anti-Israel demonstrators who turned up Friday evening prevented Tom Canning and Sarah Kala-Meir of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, an Israeli LGBTQ advocacy group, from sharing with a crowd their experiences dealing with the aftermath a fatal stabbing at last summer’s Jerusalem pride parade, which they themselves organized.

“The reception after the Kabbalat Shabbat service was supposed to be very lighthearted. We were going to talk about our work, how we dealt with what happened at the pride parade, how it impacted our community and what are our hopes and dreams for the future of Jerusalem,” Canning told The Times of Israel. “That was our plan. But we didn’t get to say a word of what we were planning on saying.”

After Arthur Slepian, executive director of A Wider Bridge — an organization that builds ties between LGBTQ communities in North America and Israel, which hosted the event — showed a video to the attendees and introduced Canning and Kala-Meir, the protesters broke through security and entered the room, eventually commandeering the stage.

But while American Jewish organizations have been monitoring for years the nature of anti-Israel efforts in the United States, the incident was illuminating for an Israeli who traveled to the Windy City not to discuss the political situation between Israelis and Palestinians, but to highlight the struggle for acceptance and equality for gay, lesbian and transgender persons in Israel.
The anti-Israel demonstrators who turned up Friday evening prevented Tom Canning and Sarah Kala-Meir of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, an Israeli LGBTQ advocacy group, from sharing with a crowd their experiences dealing with the aftermath a fatal stabbing at last summer’s Jerusalem pride parade, which they themselves organized.

“The reception after the Kabbalat Shabbat service was supposed to be very lighthearted. We were going to talk about our work, how we dealt with what happened at the pride parade, how it impacted our community and what are our hopes and dreams for the future of Jerusalem,” Canning told The Times of Israel. “That was our plan. But we didn’t get to say a word of what we were planning on saying.”

After Arthur Slepian, executive director of A Wider Bridge — an organization that builds ties between LGBTQ communities in North America and Israel, which hosted the event — showed a video to the attendees and introduced Canning and Kala-Meir, the protesters broke through security and entered the room, eventually commandeering the stage.

Continue reading at:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/after-anti-israel-rally-at-gay-rights-conference-an-israeli-discovers-bds/

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