Kauanui: Letter to IGLYO: No such thing as neutrality.

 

USACBI advisory board member J. Kehaulani Kauanui wrote the following letter to the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization Board of Directors, in response to the call from Palestinian Queer organizations, demanding IGLYO cancel its General Assembly in Israel in December 2011 and stop participating in Israel’s pinkwashing campaign.

Her letter is based on the letter form available at Palestinian Queers for BDS. We encourage you to take action and write similar letters today!

To the IGLYO Board of Directors:

As a queer-identified Native Hawaiian woman, and as an Advisory Board member of the U.S. Campaign
for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (http://www.usacbi.org/), I write to convey my moral outrage
with the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization’s (IGLYO) decision to hold its General Assembly for
2011 this December in Tel Aviv, Israel.

This decision as outlined in your ‘Open Letter – 2011 GA’ misleads LGTBQ member-organizations into normalizing
and providing a cover to the Israeli apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and other oppression of the Palestinian people.
In your letter, you claim that by holding the GA in Tel Aviv, you are being neutral on the subject, but
there is no such thing as neutrality in the context of an illegal occupation!

Israeli policies and occupation do not distinguish between queer and straight. All Palestinians—queer and
straight— must deal with the effects of the apartheid wall, checkpoints, and illegal settlements, and settlers
violence, not to mention living under Israeli military law that strips them off their rights as civilians.

All Gazans, including queers, live under an illegal siege in the de-facto open-air prison that is the Gaza strip.
And like all Palestinian citizens of Israel, queers are subject to institutionalized discrimination in laws, education,
and throughout their public and private lives.

As an organization whose mission is to “combat all forms of exclusion, discrimination, and persecution,” it is
extremely problematic that IGLYO is ignoring the oppression of Palestinians, queer and straight alike — as well
as the multitude of allies– while “pinkwashing” Israel’s grave violations of international law, human rights and
other crimes against the Palestinian people by accepting the Israeli government funding and playing an active role
its campaigns.

I hope that once and for all, IGLYO will move the General Assembly out of Israel, and truly become an organization
that values the rights of all queers, including Palestinians.

Sincerely,

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Ph.D. (Kanaka Maoli-Native Hawaiian)
-Associate Professor, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, USA
http://jkauanui.faculty.wesleyan.edu/
-Producer and host of radio show, “Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond”
http://www.indigenouspolitics.com/
-Member of the “Horizontal Power Hour” (anarchist radio) collective
https://horizontalpowerhour.wordpress.com/

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