Call to Boycott World Pride in Jerusalem 2006

18 May 2006


As individuals and groups working for the liberation of all oppressed peoples, we join in the call to boycott travel to World Pride Jerusalem in 2006 as part of the international boycott of Israel. Although the event is named, “Love Without Borders,” Israel has illegally occupied Jerusalem for decades, and has functionally annexed the city. Jerusalem is a city with borders that are constantly enforced by the Israeli army. These borders — including militarized checkpoints and towering concrete walls — are often impenetrable to Palestinians and other Arab people.

We support the rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and other queer-identified (LGBTIQ) people to love and live in freedom, and to demonstrate publicly to demand their/our rights. These rights should not be placed in competition with the long struggle of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian LGBTIQ people, for self-determination, for the right to return to their homes, and the struggle against apartheid and the occupation of their lands.

We urge all people who seek peace and justice to support the travel boycott of World Pride Jerusalem as a part of the boycott of Israeli goods, and the call to divest from Israel. Together we can build a free and fair world for us all.

to endorse or comment on this statement:
http://www.boycottworldpride.org/id2.html

This site is in the process of being created by individuals and groups who are urging a travel boycott to World Pride Jerusalem, which is now scheduled to be held in the summer of 2006. Please read the boycott statement below, and e-mail boycottwp@earthlink.net if you would like more info or want to sign the statement. The boycott was initiated by Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!).

An Open Letter to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer Groups and Individuals

We ask you to join us in a boycott of travel to World Pride Jerusalem 2006 as part of the international boycott of Israel and the campaign to divest from Israel.

As you know, many groups have joined the movement to boycott Israeli goods and to divest from Israel in protest of the ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands, the construction of the apartheid wall in the West Bank, and the destruction of Palestinian olive trees, homes, and villages. We believe that the goal of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) liberation is best served by supporting local community organizing while also supporting the liberation struggles of all oppressed peoples.

We support the work of Jerusalem Open House (the local sponsor of World Pride in Jerusalem) in fighting queer oppression, and we understand and respect that LGBTIQ people and organizations within Israel and Palestine will decide for themselves how to relate to World Pride. However, we ask LGBTIQ people from other countries to boycott travel to Israel and not to attend World Pride 2006 in Jerusalem.

Although Jerusalem was designated as an “international city” by the United Nations, travel to Jerusalem may only be accomplished with the consent of the Israeli government and its military forces. Palestinians and other people of Arab and North African descent have routinely been barred from the City of Jerusalem by the occupying Israeli forces. We are appalled that InterPride chose Jerusalem as the site of the second World Pride event and is encouraging LGBTIQ people from all over the world to ignore the boycott and spend significant funds in Israel, bolstering its tourist economy and its disingenuous claim to be a “free,” democratic, state. We are also appalled at the blatant misrepresentation of the event as one that will be open to all LGBTIQ people and the chosen theme “Love Without Borders.”

World Pride Jerusalem was originally scheduled to take place in August of 2005. However, Jerusalem Open House and InterPride postponed it because it coincided with the projected date of the Gaza “disengagement.” During the period when the world’s attention was focused on the dismantlement of Israeli settlements in Gaza, the Israeli government continued its policy of land confiscation and the demolition of homes in the West Bank, and continued construction of the apartheid wall.

The promotion of this event by InterPride has included the distribution of thousands of DVDs at Pride 2004 in San Francisco and New York. The DVD promotes the “great parties” and “beautiful women” in Israel. The DVD also promotes the fact that the Israeli army allows openly lesbian and gay people to serve. It does not discuss the role of the army in oppressing people in the Occupied Territories, but does condemn the Palestinian Authority for its treatment of lesbian and gay people. The only mention of the Intifada (Palestinian resistance struggle) is to say that it makes it more difficult for lesbian and gay Palestinians to come out or to “escape” to Israel.

We understand that some conservative and right-wing people in Israel are opposed to World Pride being held in Jerusalem because they oppose LGBTIQ rights, and that some LGBTIQ people are considering attending the event to oppose these forces and support the local LGBTIQ groups. We certainly understand this impulse, but we believe that after examining all of the many political issues involved it is more important to boycott travel to World Pride 2006 in Jerusalem to send the message to Israel that the civil rights victories gained by some LGBTIQ people within Israel do not justify or excuse the oppression of the Palestinian people or the occupation of their lands.

We hope that you will raise the issues discussed above with your group and others as part of the ongoing dialogue concerning how LGBTIQ people can both promote LGBTIQ liberation and the rights of all oppressed peoples including the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, refugee camps, and in the Diaspora. We will post thoughtful responses to these issues on this website http://www.boycottworldpride.org in order to facilitate dialogue on these issues within the LGBTIQ community.

Please let us know if your group is willing to join us in endorsing or sponsoring the boycott of travel to WorldPride 2006 in Jerusalem.

In Peace and Struggle,

The Coalition to Boycott World Pride Jerusalem 2006

Related Links

  • All Eyes on Jerusalem as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Allied Groups Prepare for WorldPride 2006, Press Release, World Pride (10 May 2006)
  • U.S. Gays Launch Boycott of Jerusalem Gay Pride, Report, QUIT (13 May 2005)
  • Boycott World Pride
  • Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT)
  • LAGAI: Queer Insurrection