LGBTQ Task Force condemns anti-Semitism

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

Days after hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change conference attempted to disrupt a reception featuring Israeli activists, the American gay rights organization said it “wholeheartedly condemns anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic statements made at any Task Force event.”

Rea Carey, the group’s executive director, issued a statement at the close of the Chicago conference on Jan. 24 and released it to the media the following day.

“Hate speech of any kind is unacceptable whether it’s directed at Jewish or Muslim people,” the statement said.

Carey explicitly addressed the disrupted reception hosted by the pro-Israel LGBT group A Wider Bridge, San Francisco-based which featured members of Jerusalem Open House, a gay activist group based in the Israeli capital. Carey said, “We are deeply concerned about how the events of the evening unfolded — and have already initiated a review of our conference practices.”

Chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, pinkwashing has got to go,” the protesters streamed through the Hilton Chicago on Jan. 22 toward the reception hosted by A Wider Bridge.

Pinkwashing is the term used to described alleged efforts by Israel to cover up its treatment of Palestinians by touting its record on gay rights.

It was the first time a Creating Change reception was protested, Carey said.

A statement from A Wider Bridge said protesters had entered the reception and taken over the stage, preventing the visiting Israelis from speaking.

“Last night the values of free speech and respectful communication that we all value and that should be the hallmark of the Creating Change conference were replaced by a disgraceful authoritarian-like action that seeks to silence the voices of anyone the protesters feel don’t adhere to their rigid dogma,” the statement said. —  jta