Podcast Ep 5: How “gay rights” group uses right-wing funding to promote Israel

On episode 5 of The Electronic Intifada Podcast, co-hosts Nora Barrows-Friedman and Asa Winstanley are joined by researcher and activist Stephanie Skora.

Skora’s recent report “Pride with Prejudice” questions the activities of A Wider Bridge, a pro-Israel group that claims to be concerned about gay, lesbian and transgender rights.

The report demonstrates how the group relies on donors who have supported right-wing political campaigns.

The report is intended as an exposé and a call to action, Skora wrote recently. “An organization with links to anti-gay, anti-Muslim and Republican groups has no place representing LGBTQ Jewry, and no place calling itself ‘progressive,’” she explains.

The group, she adds, is “essentially a propaganda and backlash creation arm of the Islamophobia industry that is targeted at LGBTQ people.”

Events and speaking tours sponsored by A Wider Bridge are designed to grow support for Israel, Skora explains.

A number of the organizations that A Wider Bridge gives to in Israel “are actually funded in part or in whole by the Israeli government,” she says, providing an avenue to funnel money “between private US donors and the Israeli government through LGBTQ middlemen.”

These groups are intended to “cause a ruckus and then cry anti-Semitism” when LGBTQ people object to the presence of Israel propaganda groups in their activities, she says.

The organization has repeatedly drawn accusations of pinkwashing. This is a term for attempts to use the supposedly positive record of Israel on LGBTQ rights to cover up the state’s brutal oppression and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

A Wider Bridge denies all this. But as Skora’s research proves, a closer look at the organization’s internal politics and institutional funding sources paints a disturbing picture.

We also talk about a new book we’ve been reading by our friend Max Blumenthal, The Management of Savagery: How America’s National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump.

We hope to get Max back onto a future show to talk about the book in more detail.

Articles we discuss

Music: “Send It” by Indigo Mateo ft. Lauren Jimenez

Production assistance by Sharif Zakout

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Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).