We reject the extremists fighting against Israel’s LGBTQ democracy.

A Special Statement by Andy Austin, AWB Board Chair:


Last week, we learned that despite nationwide and international protests, the Netanyahu government in Israel is moving forward with legislation that would reduce the authority of the Supreme Court to serve as a check on unreasonable government actions.

I am shocked, but not surprised.

Just a few weeks ago, I was in Israel with 30 outstanding LGBTQ activists. We marched with, supported, and learned from our Israeli LGBTQ partners – the Proud community, as they are known. They told us of their concerns about the powerful leaders who have made it their mission to denigrate and dehumanize the entire  LGBTQ community. We heard about the hate-filled rhetoric and violence they are experiencing – and we witnessed it with our own ears and eyes.

A Wider Bridge vehemently rejects the extremists who are fighting against Israel’s LGBTQ community and democracy at the same time. The strength of any democracy lies in the confidence its citizens have in government institutions. Eroding judicial review undermines that confidence and the very security of the Jewish state.

Of course, we don’t have to travel around the world to see LGBTQphobia. It’s a global phenomenon. Indeed, much of what we see is exported from the U.S. and translated into Hebrew and other languages.



And the global increase in hate isn’t limited to the LGBTQ community. I live in New York City. We have seen an alarming increase in antisemitic rhetoric in this city, as in many places across America. I know that hateful words are often followed by hateful acts. In fact, part of what makes the news from Israel so painful is that it makes it even harder to fight those whose antisemitism is manifest in the demonization of Israel.

We are all in this together. There is no parliamentary vote – in Israel or anywhere – that can erase our lives. We love Israel as much today as we ever have, and we know our destinies are intertwined. We have never taken the position that what happens in Israel is entirely an internal affair. We have always had a core commitment to building equality in Israel. We always will. We commit to support our Israeli partners no matter which direction the pendulum swings. We stand in solidarity.