Full statement and information here: https://voices4london.org.uk/blog/open-letter-queers-solidarity-palestine/
We, as LGBTQIA+ individuals, groups, organisations, and artists around the world, stand in solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement. We urge all governments to demand an immediate ceasefire and to restore aid into Gaza through any possible routes. We call for an end to the occupation of Palestine.
We are watching a genocide take place in real time. Death overflows from our phone screens and into our hearts. And, as a queer community, we cannot sit idly by while the Israeli Government continues to wipe out entire lineages of Palestinian families. We once said, “silence equals death”. Now is not the time to be silent.
We have been grieving alongside our siblings of faith; with our siblings Palestinian and Israeli. There has been too much violence, pain, and loss for decades. Our hopes sit with an end to all attacks on Palestinians by Israel; our wishes lie in the safe return of all Israeli hostages and imprisoned Palestinians. But there can be no peace without an immediate ceasefire.
Unspeakable crimes against humanity that break international law are being committed by the state of Israel, as confirmed by UN experts. But Western governments not only turn a blind eye, but validate the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Over the past week, the Israeli Government has cut off the supply of water, power, food, and medicine to 2.2 million Palestinians. Over 6000 bombs have now reduced much of Gaza to rubble, killing over 4,200, half of whom are reported to be children.
We cannot untangle these recent tragedies from a violent history of occupation. Current events simply are an escalation of the state of Israel’s apartheid regime, which acts to ethnically cleanse the land. Since the violent creation of the state 75 years ago, the Israeli military and Israeli settlers have continued to terrorise Palestinian people – expelling families, destroying their ancestral olive trees, pouring concrete in their wells, and detaining, torturing, and killing men, women and children.
We believe that standing in solidarity with Palestine is a queer issue. Oppression of all marginalised communities is rooted in the same violent structures – colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. We too feel the long-lasting harmful impact of the British Empire. Those who question our support for the Palestinian struggle on the basis of “gay rights” forget that the criminalisation of homosexuality in much of the world stems from colonialism. We too understand the power of propaganda and a media that serves the interests of those in power, rather than those who struggle for liberation on the margins of society.
Queer and trans Palestinians have long highlighted that pinkwashing plays a significant role in zionist propaganda – in the presentation of Israel as a ‘civilised democratic bastion of LGBTQIA+ rights’, in direct contrast with ‘barbaric, repressive, and intolerant’ Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim communities. However, this functions as part of a colonial logic that uses racist and Islamophobic narratives to justify Western and white supremacist colonisation as a way of ‘freeing’ or ‘saving’ those they are exploiting and oppressing.
We, as LGBTQIA+ people, cannot let others weaponise our struggles for freedom on the basis of sexuality and gender identity to justify systemic occupation and genocide of a people. This pinkwashing is a smokescreen that undermines the lives of LGBTQIA+ people in Palestine right now. Queer Palestinians have also been displaced from their homes. LGBTQIA+ Gazans are also dying under the Israeli occupation. The bombs do not discriminate.
We strongly reject the argument that holding a pro-Palestine or anti-zionist stance in any way promotes antisemitism. We stand against any and all harassment and discrimination against Jewish communities. For the many queer and anti-zionist Jewish individuals invested in liberation, this unthinking philosemitism, which hesitates to criticise an ongoing genocide out of fear of being seen to criticise Jewish people, is simply the other face of antisemitism. To equate zionism with Judaism is to equate an entire people with the violence of a colonialist state, run by self-proclaimed ‘fascist homophobes’.
A true queer liberation is intertwined with all liberation struggles – including the fight against antisemitism, and that for a free Palestine. We fight for the safety of all of our siblings.
None of us are free until all of us are free.
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