Monthly Roundup – January 2019

Here’s what’s been happening in the intersecting worlds of A Wider Bridge, Israel and the LGBTQ community.

A WIDER BRIDGE NEWS

It’s been a busy start to 2019.

ANTI-SEMITISM RETURNS TO CREATING CHANGE

On Thursday, January 24, at the opening plenary of the LGBTQ activist conference Creating Change, organized by the National LGBTQ Task Force, a dozen anti-Israel protesters (the same group that violently shut down our Chicago Creating Change reception in 2016) hijacked the stage for 15 minutes.
In response:
  • We co-authored a letter with Rabbi Denise Eger of Kol Ami of West Hollywood to Task Force CEO Rea Carey expressing dismay for their continued lack of control over anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic content at the Conference.
  • We published a short video highlighting the challenge to our LGBTQ community.
  • The story has been widely distributed through JTA, JPost, The LA Blade, and Ha’aretz.
  • Read a strong OpEd in the Washington Blade (DC’s LGBTQ news source).

THE COMMUNITY RALLIES AROUND MANNY’S

Manny’s, a restaurant and civic engagement space in the San Francisco Mission District, is being targeted by the anti-Israel group QUIT (Queers United Against Terrorism), who are trying to paint Manny as a ‘gentrifying Zionist’ in order to hurt business. We condemned these actions as anti-Semitic and homophobic and mobilized an action alert. Read Manny’s eloquent OpEd here.

SPEAKING OUT AGAINST THE TRANS MILITARY BAN

We released a statement expressing our deep disappointment that the Supreme Court has reinstated President Trump’s partial ban on transgender people in the United States Military, and called on Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, leaders and communities to publicly oppose this ban. We’ve also brought leading trans activists in Israel, including Captain Ofer Erez (Jerusalem Open House) and Elisha Alexander (Ma’avarim Trans Organization), to the US to change the narrative.   

ON BEING LGBTQ + PROGRESSIVE

Executive director Tyler Gregory spoke on a panel with fellow Zionists at the Israel on Campus Coalition’s annual conference to discuss being pro-Israel and progressive on campus.(Panelists Archie Gottesman of JewBlong, Ann Lewis, and Amanda Berman of Zioness)

Additionally, Tyler Gregory joined leaders in DC and NYC for two Teach-Ins about showing up and speaking out as our authentic selves, organized by our friends at Zioness Movement. Watch video.

ISRAEL LGBTQ NEWS

QUEERING THE VOTE

  • On April 9, Israelis will head to the polls to elect a new Knesset (Israeli Parliament), and our LGBTQ partners in Israel are hard at work amplifying the LGBTQ community agenda.
  • Next month, Israelis will first vote in primary elections for the many political parties. Our partners are also working hard to encourage LGBTQ community leaders to commit to running in party primaries across the country, and to pressure every political party to recruit and promote LGBTQ candidates for elections.
  • The Aguda — Israel LGBTQ Task Force (the community’s leading advocacy) organization is organizing LGBTQ candidate training forums (akin to the Victory Fund in the US) to equip candidates with the skills needed to run for office.
  • The LGBTQ community led by Chen Arieli, Chair of the Aguda, put out a call for its members to support Ethiopian Israelis during their fight for equality at a January 30 protest. Times of Israel

ANTI-SURROGACY LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL

  • Israel’s Supreme Court President Esther Hayut criticized the state’s anti-gay surrogacy law, stating that this could be “blatantly unconstitutional.”  Ha’aretz