Protest pinkwashing at the San Fran LGBT Film Fest

Queer organizations around the globe are mobilizing to let filmmakers and other cultural workers know that the Israeli government is trying to “pinkwash” its war crimes by giving money to queer cultural events, including the upcoming San Francisco LGBT Film Festival. Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!) wrote this action alert intended for filmmakers who are submitting their work to the Festival.

QUIT! encourages the general public to sign the following letter and send it to queer filmmakers around the world.

Dear Filmmaker:

As queers for human rights and justice, we are writing to make you aware of an issue regarding the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival’s relationship with the state of Israel. Last year, for the first time since 2006, the film festival’s parent organization Frameline accepted monetary support for its festival from the Israeli Consulate. At the very same time, attacks on Palestinian civilians and international human rights activists in Gaza were intensifying and the building of settlements, against international law, was continuing.

We are asking you to join hundreds of internationally-organized artists, academics, filmmakers and writers by supporting the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and human rights. LGBT Palestinians have asked international queers to respect the cultural and academic boycott of Israel called by Palestinian civil society in 2005. Please read their statement. The call of Palestinian civil society makes it clear that any institution which is sponsored by or partnering with any agency of the Israeli government is a target of boycott by people who support a just peace in the region.

Mainstream media would have us believe that Israel is the only true democratic state in the Middle East, offering freedom to LGBTQI people and women. Nothing could be further from the truth than this fantasyland version of Israel.

We recognize that the struggle for LGBTQI rights must occur in the context of the liberation of all people, including Palestinians. We are therefore asking you as a filmmaker to support the call that Frameline, the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival, not accept financial sponsorship by the Israeli Consulate. We cannot say that we are for the liberation of all queers, if we do not respect the call of Palestinian queers to act in solidarity with their struggle for liberation.

The Israeli government is specifically targeting the LGBTQI community in a campaign to “rebrand” Israel as a progressive, queer-friendly democracy. We call this a “pinkwashing” of the brutal realities that Palestinian face under an illegal military occupation.

If you are not submitting a film to this year’s festival, you can help the struggle for peace with justice by letting Frameline’s Executive Board know that you cannot allow your films to be shown in a context which crosses an international picket line. If you are submitting to Frameline for this year, good luck! And if your film is selected, please ask whether they are accepting Israeli sponsorship before you agree to show your film. In joining the cultural boycott you will stand with a growing number of queer filmmakers for human rights, including Elle Flanders, John Greyson, Maher Sabry and Sonia deVries, and writers including Adrienne Rich and Sarah Schulman.

Queer rights are human rights, and human rights are queer rights. Add your name to this call; help to build a broad movement of queers promoting real human rights for all. Email us at info [at]


Organizational signatories:

Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!)
South West Asian and North African Bay Area Queers (SWANABAQ)
ASWAT - Palestinian Gay Women
Israeli Queers for Palestine
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA) (Toronto)
QTEAM (Montreal)
Birthright Unplugged

Filmmaker signatories:

John Greyson, director, Fig Trees and Lilies
Sonia deVries, director, Gay Cuba
Eric Stanley, co-director, Criminal Queers and Homotopia
Matthilda Bernstein Sycamore, co-director, All That Sheltering Emptiness
Elle Flanders, director, Zero Degrees of Separation

For more information go to QUIT’s website.