Seattle LGBT Commission’s Boycott of Israeli LGBTI Guests Opens Wounds

By Melanie Nathan and Scott Rose, 03/16/2012

Caving to protests by a small anti-Israel and anti-Jewish contingency, using the guise of so called pinkwashing,  the  Seattle City LGBT Commission has silenced the voices of its Israeli LGBT guests  from the coalition Group AILO,  by cancelling, with less than 24 hours notice,  a dialogue event which was to be held today.  The purpose of the dialogue was to discuss common issues  impacting LGBT youth and communities.

By cancelling the event and in a letter on Facebook,  The Seattle LGBT Commission has agreed with assistant professor Dean Spade from Seattle University Law School  that the  Israeli government is using Israel’s liberal gay, lesbian,  LGBT equality record to so called “pinkwash” the Israel-Palestine conflict AND for that reason the AILO group should be refused its audience,  silencing the dialogue.

Many believe the accusations of pinkwashing is an exploitative method deployed by anti-Israeli proponents to further their anti-Semitic or anti-Israel political agendas.

Previous articles which explain what happened can be read here: Commission-shuts-down-israels-lgbt-voice/   and


By this action the Commission has in effect invited a discussion on the politics of Israel and Palestine including the lesbian and gay (LGBTI) record of the two sides:-

After we broke the news last night novelist Scott Rose, a human rights writer, wrote to the Seattle City LGBT Commission the following poignant letter.

[email protected]
In Re: AILO event cancellation

Scott Rose

To the Seattle LGBT Commission:

I am dismayed at your cancellation of the planned event with the Association of Israeli LGBT Educational Organizations.

In cancelling the event, you have caved to demands from simplistic, questionably-intentioned persons who pin all blame for problems in the Mid-East on Israel while giving everybody else a free pass. Pinning all blame on one side, while giving the other side a free pass, is not how diplomatic solutions towards peaceful coexistence will be found. To relate your absurd decision to the political realities, you have chosen the side of people who have demands which, if immediately implemented, would without question result in the imposition of an Islamic theocracy in the territory now Israel, with a corresponding loss of rights for all of the LGBT persons there.

While some portray the PA as more moderate than Hamas, and while in some respects it may be, it arrests and jails without trial people who “insult the prophet.” (See here for a reference: Furthermore, when Israel withdrew from Gaza, Hamas abolished its political opposition, the PA, through violence. The same jerks who propagandized you out of going ahead with the planned AILO meeting are sometimes among those who insist that the Hamas government is “democratic,” even though Hamas abolished its political opposition through violent means. And, Hamas has a stated goal of eliminating Israel.

I wonder if you know that an Arab of means of whatever nationality may purchase private property in Israel, but in Gaza and the PA-controlled West Bank, the penalty for selling property to a Jew is death. I wonder if you know that when the UN proposed a two-state solution in 1947, Jews accepted the proposal, but Arabs, including many Arabs living in Israel, made war with the intent to destroy the new country, even though the Israeli Declaration of Independence pleaded with Israeli-Arabs to remain peaceful and to join as citizens in the building up of the new democracy. (For reference, the text is here: ( Today in Israel, there is an Arab member of the Supreme Court and Arab members of Parliament, the universities and hospitals have Arab doctors and professors, and there are mosques in Tel Aviv, Haifa and numerous other cities and towns.

By contrast, as stated above, in Gaza and the PA-controlled West Bank, the penalty for selling land to a Jew is death.

So why have you bought into the ludicrous notion that one side is all bad and the other side all good, and to boot, punished leaders of LGBT rights movements in the Middle East. Do you honestly believe that AILO members have no concern for the rights of LGBTers in the Paletinian territories, as well as in Arab-majority countries? Do you? You made this stupid decision, you should be able to answer such questions.

I recently attended the premiere of the gay Arab-American Mohammed Fairouz’s Third Symphony, “Poems and Prayers,” which uses Aramaic, Arab and Hebrew poetry and ends with an appeal for peace for all peoples.

Now how have you contributed to the hoped-for outcome of peace, by caving to Israel bashers and cancelling the AILO event?



Commission-shuts-down-israels-lgbt-voice/   and


At first the Commission said this:

Seattle LGBT Commission

Seattle LGBT Commission Response to concerns raised about AILO (Alliance of Israeli LGBT Educational Organizations) as voiced by Dean Spade Dear whom it may concern,The Seattle LGBT Commission values the comments of Dean Spade, who recently brought to our attention the concerns of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and agenda of pink washing to cover up said crimes and corruption of the Israeli government. While we believe his concerns are valid, the purpose of the meeting with Israeli LGBT groups is to engage in a dialogue about their successes and progress of LGBTQ people’s rights in Israel and Seattle. While this dialogue is centered on efforts for LGBT equality we acknowledge that there is national and local concern about pink washing campaigns, occupation, and apartheid. Dean Spade’s concerns encompass a much larger issue that the commission is interested in exploring at a later date.

We invite Dean Spade to attend our monthly LGBT commission meeting to share his perspective during the public comments section of our meeting agenda, this Thursday, March 15th from 6:30-8:30pm at Seattle City Hall (600 Fourth Avenue, Boards and Commission Conference Room L-280). Our monthly meetings, and the event on Friday, March 16th from 4:30-6:30pm at City Hall (Room 370) with Israeli LGBT groups are open to the public.

The mission of the Seattle LGBT Commission, under the Seattle Office of Civil Rights, is to effectively address and present the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens of Seattle, and to recommend legislation, policy, programs, and budget items to the Mayor, City Council, and all City Departments.

More information about the upcoming monthly Seattle LGBT commission meeting and the meeting with the Israeli LGBT representatives can be found at this link:


Seattle LGBT Commission

The Seattle LGBT Commission is hereby canceling the event scheduled for Friday, March 16, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

At this time, the members of the LGBT Commission feel we are not thoroughly prepared to facilitate an event surrounding such complex topics.

We have great respect for those who have shared their comments with us this week on all sides of the issue and are open to ways in which we can support community members in continuing this dialogue while involving all diverse perspectives involved.

The mission of the Seattle LGBT Commission, under the Seattle Office of Civil Rights, is to effectively address and present the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens of Seattle, and to recommend legislation, policy, programs, and budget items to the Mayor, City Council, and all City Departments.

More information about the Seattle LGBT commission can be found at this link:

2 thoughts on “Seattle LGBT Commission’s Boycott of Israeli LGBTI Guests Opens Wounds


    Arthur Slepian, Executive Director, A Wider Bridge

  2. Pingback: Israel, Gays and Equality | Seasons of Pride

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