This week, the World Social Forum: Free Palestine to be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil from November 28 to December 1, 2012 will bring together activists from around the world organizing for justice in Palestine. Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, Pinkwatching Israel, and alQaws: for sexual and gender diversity in Palestinian society invite activists, social movements, and queer groups to join and endorse Queer Visions at the World Social Forum: Free Palestine.
Promote an analysis of the use of sexual politics in Israeli settler colonial discourse. We will discuss this topic in depth. What does this mean? Where/How does this surface – amongst other things in the pinkwashing campaign? How can we collaborate in communicating this to the outside world? What strategies of resisting the pinkwashing logic can we create?
Explore the linkages between the struggle for queer liberation and the struggle for Palestinian liberation. What does this mean, and how can we articulate this comprehensively? Besides implementing/promoting BDS, what are the specificities of the struggles we are facing?
Focus on how our activism can productively address queer communities, without falling into the trap of singling out queer communities, and without losing site of our goals? Which are: End Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; ensure the fundamental rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and Implement, protect, and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
Our goals thus far are to:
Oppose the use of queer politics and LGBT rights that harm an intersectional understanding of political struggle and oppression.
Establish the Palestinian Liberation Struggle as a queer struggle.
Build a queer discourse and activist practice that does not separate itself from struggles against colonialism, racism and neoliberalism.
The program includes 2 public panels: “Sexual Discourses in the Zionist Project: Queer Politics and Liberation” and “What is Queer BDS? Pinkwashing, Intersections, Struggles, Politics” (more information below). A 2-day working conference will also bring together activists from all corners of the world will gather to discuss future goals and strategies, to create strong local and international networks, and to mobilize a comprehensive global movement for Palestinian self-determination and radical queer politics.
Wednesday, 28 November
WORKING CONFERENCE I
Thursday, 29 November
WORKING CONFERENCE II
17:00 – 20:00
MARCH OF SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINE
Friday, 30 November
WORKING CONFERENCE III
14:00 – 16:00
Public Panel I: SEXUAL DISCOURSES IN THE ZIONIST PROJECT: QUEER POLITICS AND LIBERATION
The State of Israel has launched a campaign to recruit Jewish-Israeli and international gays and lesbians into the Zionist project. Tel Aviv has become a gay h(e)aven, and Israel a “beacon of freedom” because of its gay rights standards in comparison to “the rest of the Middle East.” However, underneath Tel Aviv’s sandy and gay friendly beaches lies a history of expulsion, ongoing occupation and apartheid. The obliteration of Palestinian lands and bodies through Israel’s promotion of “gay equality” as the final feature of the human rights project is called Pinkwashing.
By promoting gay rights as the endpoint of human rights, Israel obscures not only its obliteration of Palestine, but simultaneously silences queer voices who argue that their liberation is always already bound up with the liberation from any form of oppression. Palestinian and international (queer) activists argue that to achieve a radical equality queer politics has to be intrinsically anti-racist, anti-occupation, anti-sexist, and anti-classist.
In this panel, different speakers will talk about pinkwashing, queer politics, and Palestinian liberation. In conjunction, they will share their views on the use of sexuality in a larger context of Islamophobia, imperialism, neoliberalism, globalization, and settler-colonialism.
We invite the audience to participate in a discussion on the ties that bind queer liberation to Palestinian liberation, and join in the struggle for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, and against Pinkwashing.
Lynn Darwich (Nasawiya, Beirut, Lebanon)
Gina Dent (University of California Santa Cruz, USA)
Haneen Maikey (alQaws: for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, PQBDS, Jerusalem, Palestine)
Dean Spade (Seattle University School of Law, USA)
Tamsila Tauqir (Safra Project, UK)
Saturday, 1 December
14:00 – 16:00
Public Panel II: WHAT IS QUEER BDS? PINKWASHING, INTERSECTIONS, STRUGGLES, POLITICS
In different parts of the world queer groups and allies have aligned themselves with the Palestinian Liberation Struggle. Despite Israel’s attempt to win the favor of queer people in order to legitimize its occupation, activists and scholars have publicly and collectively renounced Israeli pinkwashing, occupation, and apartheid. A global queer movement is gaining momentum to promote Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as a political tool to force Israel to abide by International Law.
In this panel, different activists will share their experiences, challenges and views on the contemporary state of queer solidarity for Palestine. They will talk about the diverse struggles that they have faced in promoting queer politics and BDS in their respective communities. Our special guest this afternoon is Angela Davis. Her vision and experience has empowered us all. We are honored to have her as our guest on this panel.
Angela Davis (University of California Santa Cruz, USA)
Sarah Colborne (Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK)
Selma Dillsi (Seattle, USA)
Natalie Kouri-Towe (Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Canada)
Ramzy Kumsieh (PQBDS/Queeristan, Palestine/The Netherlands)
MODERATOR: Mikki Stelder (The Netherlands)
For more background information, check Queer Visions at the World Social Forum: Free Palestine and the call for endorsements.