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NYC LGBT Center Lifts Ban on Events and Groups Dealing with Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

Earlier this week, a decision by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in NYC to bar author Sarah Schulman from doing a reading there based around a book dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict came under scrutiny. The Center has now lifted its ban and changed its rules.

CenterThey released a statement:

In 2011 the Center was thrust into a controversy involving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict about which we took no position, but were forced to expend significant resources to address. This controversy placed substantial strains on management resources and front line staff, and created an environment that interfered with our ability to assist those in our community who needed our services. In response, we imposed a moratorium on renting space to groups that organize on all sides of this conflict, which, while itself controversial, allowed things to cool down and gave us time to rethink the Center's space use policies.

Our resulting Space Use Guidelines, Terms and Conditions will govern the use of our space going forward, and, accordingly, the moratorium is no longer in effect. The Center does not endorse the views of any groups to which it rents space. We adamantly believe in and defend free speech and the open exchange of ideas, but we deplore the rhetoric of hate and bigotry.

NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, NYS Assembly member Deborah Glick, NYS Senator Brad Hoylman, and NYC Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer released a joint statement regarding the new guidelines:

We support the new Space Use guidelines, terms and conditions being implemented by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center..

...That said, we want to make abundantly clear that we categorically reject attempts by any organization to use the Center to delegitimize Israel and promote an anti-Israel agenda. We adamantly oppose any and all efforts to inappropriately inject the Center into politics that are not the core of their important mission.

...We vehemently oppose the absurd accusations by some groups that Israel is engaged in so-called “pinkwashing”. We find this charge offensive and fundamentally detrimental to the global cause of LGBT equality. These accusations should be understood as just one part of the arsenal of those who seek to completely discredit the state of Israel altogether. In fact, Israel’s highly laudable record in advancing LGBT rights deserves praise, not scorn. Given the very poor record of much of the world on LGBT issues, we should be celebrating Israel's – or any country's – LGBT equality advances. We must always encourage countries with strong records of achievement for our community to be rightly and publicly proud so they may set an example for others. We continue to believe that the boycott, sanctions and divestment (BDS) movement against Israel is wrongheaded, destructive, and an obstacle to our collective hope for a peaceful two-state solution.

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Comments

  1. Sounds like the center made the right decision.

    The "joint statement," on the other hand, is a step backwards, as it attempts to reinstate censorship. According to their guidelines, anything critical of Palestine would be fine, anything critical of Israel would not.

    Pinkwashing not only exists, it has clearly done its work for these people. Why can't people talk about it?

    Posted by: KevinVT | Feb 16, 2013 10:05:59 AM


  2. All the lengthy postings about israel's actions against the Palestinians can't erase the attacks against a people whose land and prosperity has been savagely stolen. It's time for the American media to say No! to the Israeli owners of our newspapers, networks and politicians. You are not our allies, you are our dependents, and we will no longer tolerate your Nazi treatment of people who deserve freedom and peace.

    Posted by: Onnyjay | Feb 16, 2013 11:40:54 AM


  3. All the lengthy postings about israel's actions against the Palestinians can't erase the attacks against a people whose land and prosperity has been savagely stolen. It's time for the American media to say No! to the Israeli owners of our newspapers, networks and politicians. You are not our allies, you are our dependents, and we will no longer tolerate your Nazi treatment of people who deserve freedom and peace.

    Posted by: Onnyjay | Feb 16, 2013 11:40:57 AM


  4. Theres no more protected group on this planet than Jews. I've never heard of laws making it illegal to have academic discourse questioning the extent of say slavery or any other genocide not involving jews. To be clear, those discussions are often offensive and wrong but the fact is they arent illegal. In my country, questioning that six million figure will land you in jail. It doesnt surprise me that they tried to kill debate here too. And yes Jews were targetted over the centuries however in the Israel s

    Posted by: KT | Feb 16, 2013 12:14:33 PM


  5. TO ONNY, Your ignorance shows when you can equate Israels treatment of the Palestinians acts like Nazis... It's the leaders of the Palestinians that deny peace and freedom to their citizens. Other then the N.Y. Times.... what other newspapers are owned by Jews?

    My mother always told me not to call a dummy a dummy, but for you I'll make a exception...YOU ARE A DUMMY!

    Posted by: Jerry Pritikin aka The Bleacher Preacher | Feb 16, 2013 12:25:31 PM


  6. Stop the hi-jacking of LGBT rights by other (dubious) causes! Don;t let these anti-israel nutjobs use gays and lesbians to further their often dubious agenda.....just like they do when they bring their politics onto blogs like these. LGBT centers, LGBT Pride events, and more are not for advancing issues unrelated to LGBT issues. That is the issue here. That said, aside from a few radicals and self-hating jews, no gay or lesbian wants to see Israel destroyed in order to let another arab state be created that will outlaw and kill gays and lesbians (and let's face it, outlaw and kill non-muslims, too.).

    Posted by: William | Feb 16, 2013 12:26:14 PM


  7. Israel has legal protections for gay people. Name an Islamic country which does. I'll wait.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Feb 16, 2013 12:41:56 PM


  8. Israel has legal protections for gay people. Name an Islamic country which does. I'll wait.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Feb 16, 2013 12:41:58 PM


  9. Israel is a tiny country surrounded by numerous muslim dominant countries that could easily absorb the palestinian refugees just like israel had to absorb the jewish refugees. Why can't jews of the middle east have their own tiny country where they don't have to live under muslim dominance? Muslims seemed to have no problem when Britain created Pakistan so Muslims in India could have their own separate country.

    Posted by: fern | Feb 16, 2013 1:08:20 PM


  10. Here's the Ignorance Is Plentiful take on this kind of divisive, diversionary, anything-but-Gay-Rights activism:

    http://ignoranceisplentiful.blogspot.com/2012/10/buffy-vs-anything-but-gay-rights.html

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Feb 16, 2013 1:32:35 PM


  11. Here's the Ignorance Is Plentiful take on this kind of divisive, diversionary, anything-but-Gay-Rights activism:

    http://ignoranceisplentiful.blogspot.com/2012/10/buffy-vs-anything-but-gay-rights.html

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Feb 16, 2013 1:32:45 PM


  12. Israel should be boycotted or divested. Muslim country's poor record toward gay rights does not excuse the actions of the apartheid regime in Israel whatsoever. Israel should be sanctioned and punished for their human rights abuses, just as Muslim states should be.

    Posted by: Nathan | Feb 16, 2013 5:19:28 PM


  13. I've had hot sex with both Israeli and Palestinian boys (none of them, btw, give a fat rat's azz about the clueless joiners and posers loitering at the NYC LGBT center). Thus, I've done my part to bring peace among the relatively tiny population in that tedious desert east of the Mediterranean.

    Posted by: J.D. | Feb 16, 2013 5:41:16 PM


  14. David, spewing more nonsense said: "Israel has legal protections for gay people. Name an Islamic country which does. I'll wait."

    Relevance? You're just stirring the pot to stir the pot. This is about the gay center, Israel and Palestine (because those three items belong together?). What do other Islamic (your word) countries have to do with it?

    Don't answer. Your answer will strain my nonsense meter. Because there is no logic or rhyme or reason to anything you say here. Ever. It's been, like, years, dude...

    Posted by: Joe | Feb 16, 2013 7:55:03 PM


  15. @David Hearne,

    Agreed. There are two demographics in America used like no others by many 'Progressive' organizations who as you say are 'fronting' for a much bigger agenda, gays and black people. The reason for this IMO is both are small in numbers, and this isn't going to change, and both endlessly told how they're oppressed, some of which is true, some false. The main reason for this is to keep them 'radicalized'. They are then handy foot soldiers. I don't include 'Hispanics' because they are large in numbers and are a majority in some places [they are also a very diverse group of people], so it's much more difficult to 'control' them the way gays and blacks are controlled, especially by some 'progressive' groups. Asians have shown themselves not to need any special attention.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 17, 2013 10:26:09 AM


  16. Nowhere does this report mention that it was the execrable Michael Lewis, gay porn producer and multi-millionaire, who pushed for this ban in the first place.

    Lewis is an outspoken supporter of Israel as well as other conservative and Republican causes and threatened to use his influence and alleged political connections among the NYC elites to cut off public funding and to shut down the Community Center if they did not ban anyone or any group who expressed support or any reasonable solution the never-ending Israel-Palestine conflict.

    The omission to mention Lewis and his nefarious threats against the Community Center is inexcusable. Also inexcusable was the Community Center's acquiescence to Lewis.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Feb 17, 2013 1:36:40 PM


  17. Nathan you talk like a fool. Israel is defined as a jewish state. This would be Jewish in the ethnic sense. If Israel were to give citizenship to the Jordanians calling themselves Palestinians, then Israel would cease to exist as a Jewish state in short order.

    The Palestinians had Jordanian citizenship until 1988 when Jordan yanked their citizenship.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Feb 17, 2013 2:19:49 PM


  18. Nathan you talk like a fool. Israel is defined as a jewish state. This would be Jewish in the ethnic sense. If Israel were to give citizenship to the Jordanians calling themselves Palestinians, then Israel would cease to exist as a Jewish state in short order.

    The Palestinians had Jordanian citizenship until 1988 when Jordan yanked their citizenship.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Feb 17, 2013 2:19:52 PM


  19. "We adamantly oppose any and all efforts to inappropriately inject the Center into politics that are not the core of their important mission."

    Followed by paragraphs about Israel and boycotting and divestment, which having nothing to do with the center.


    Posted by: Chadwick | Feb 18, 2013 7:58:26 AM


  20. WHY has one of my posts on this subject been blocked? I didn't use any 'bad' words. This p*sses me off, and it usually happens when regards to this subject or similar subject matter.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 18, 2013 10:34:08 AM


  21. Grow up Jerry Pritikin.

    Posted by: Fensox | Feb 19, 2013 10:42:30 AM


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