Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism

Why Should Queers Boycott Israel?

Why are we here?

Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!), a grassroots Bay Area group, is here today because there is an event that features a prominent Israeli artist or speaker.  We ask Bay Area queers to respect the cultural and academic boycott against Israel which has been called in response to:

  • the Israeli state’s ongoing refusal to comply with international covenants to which it is signatory and with resolutions of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice.

  • A call for international solidarity from over 100 organizations representing all sectors of Palestinian society.

What are the goals of the cultural/academic boycott?

The cultural/academic boycott is part of the larger international campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.  The goals of that campaign are:

  •  A single democratic state in the 1948 borders of Palestine, with equal rights and dignity for everyone who lives there;

  • Compliance with all international covenants and resolutions including implementation of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, and an end to the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and southern Lebanon.

What do we want?

We demand that queer institutions (including Frameline, LGBT Pride and the LGBT Center), as representatives of a progressive community, not accept funding from or cosponsor events with the Israeli consulate or any other representative of the Israeli government.  We ask queer people not to attend events sponsored by the Israeli consulate or featuring Israeli performers or speakers who are not explicitly opposing Israel’s racist and discriminatory policies.

But how do you know these performers/speakers are not opposed to discrimination?

Though some internationally known artists and athletes, like tennis star Shahar Peer, are active members of the Israeli military, the boycott is not about punishing or rewarding individual Israelis.  We are not saying that Israelis are bad people.  A boycott is not about individual intentions, either of the people participating or the people targeted by it.  It is a time-honored collective nonviolent action to pressure those in power to change their policies.  The Israeli people must be pressured to change the policies of their government.  Over 65% of Jewish Israelis are on record supporting the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank. 66% of Jewish Israeli youth and 59% of adults have said that they want their government to “encourage Palestinian Arabs to emigrate” from Israel (which translates to ethnic cleansing).  As many as 90% voiced support for the recent invasion of Lebanon, in which over 1,000 Lebanese civilians (30% children) were killed, using banned weapons such as cluster bombs.

Israeli scholars such as Tanya Rinehart and Ilan Pappe have spoken in favor of the academic boycott, even though they themselves may be hurt by it.  We are not urging a boycott of anti-apartheid Israeli speakers or artists participating in explicitly anti-apartheid events.

Isn’t the U.S. also an aggressive and discriminatory country?  What right do we have to judge Israelis?

We are not holding ourselves above Israelis or anyone else.  As people who also oppose our government’s policies, we feel we would not participate in activities abroad sponsored by our government, but if we did, we would understand that we might be the targets of boycott or protest.  Though few of us are people who are ever invited to speak or perform abroad, if we were, we would feel a responsibility to make public condemnation of our government’s policies a key component of all presentations.

What about the right of Israeli artists and academics to freedom of expression?

We are not trying to prevent them from expressing themselves.  We are simply saying that they should express themselves in Israel and use their role to challenge the apartheid policies of their country.

Why are we singling out Israel?

We are focusing on Israel because it is perpetrating a serious human rights crisis which is getting worse by the day.  However, we are in solidarity with the divestment/boycott campaign against Sudan (because of the genocide in Darfur).  In the past boycotts have been used against South Africa, Chile and Colorado (because of its anti-gay initiative), to name only a few.

For more information about the Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions campaign:  http://electronicintifada.net/bytopic/boycott-divestment-sanctions.shtml

This flier brought to you by QUIT! www.QuitPalestine.org

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