Incompetency of the Seattle LGBT Commission highlighted by the Council member questions at the end of the discussion in Video
By Melanie Nathan
Watch the apology and the dramatic and emotional testimony given by leaders from the Seattle LGBT and Jewish community to the Seattle City Council ( Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee 3/21/2012) expressing sadness and outrage at the treatment of the LGBT equality activists from Israel, who came to Seattle, last week only to have their event cancelled for political reasons.
The LGBT Commission of Seattle City apologized for their disastrous vote to refuse to meet with Israeli equality activists. but clearly after hearing these leaders after the apology was published, that was not enough.
Hear for yourself. The Civil Rights Division which oversees the LGBT Commission must do more to change how this could have happened in the first place. It was a clear case of discrimination based on nationality.
The Commission decision was based on national origin of the Israeli delegation. The purpose ever was not and never should have been about Israel-Palestine, yet the commission cited the complexity of the Israel-Palestine issue as the reason to cancel and silence the non-political group.
Andrew Cohen spoke of the impact the cancellation had on the community and his family. “This past Friday my husband and I hosted the group for Shabbat dinner. I was saddened I had to apologize to my guests for the cancellation. They were confused and shocked that the City did this to them especially thinking we are LGBT friendly, with the state’s recent marriage equality. We owe our guests civility. They are not politicians and worked as hard as we do to make lives better for LGBT people in Israel. My marriage would be recognized in Israel.”
What needs to happen with regard to the Seattle LGBT Commission is a re-evaluation of their role, and how a volunteer organization could cause so much damage to international relations and local divisiveness. The Commission needs more oversight, education, evaluation, new appointment guidelines and more.
Included in the snub was the first ever gay man in the world who openly challenged his Military to allow him to serve openly.
There were also people who spoke on behalf and in favor of the cancellation who took advantage of the City Council by lecturing their perspective and going way beyond time allotment, also bringing in pinkwashing rhetoric. The few lied outright about the intent of the visitors and sponsorship. They used usual rhetoric calling good hard working LGBT organizations hate groups. Unbelievable and I am sure not taken seriously. Perhaps if what they say is true then perhaps the Palestinian LGBT people should seek refuge in other Arab countries and not Israel; I mean after all they say they are so badly treated by Israel why do they hang out there at all?
Jewish Voice for Peace was there to thank the Commission. They read a letter of thanks to the Commission for cancelling the event.
Dean Spade was there to further the anti-Israel agenda and politicize what was truly a non-political event, to assert his own political agenda. What was clear is that the Jews who spoke against the cancellation did not talk about the politics of the murder and protection of Jews against terrorism; whereas those who spoke for the cancellation only spoke politics and ignored LGBT worldwide interests. The Seattle LGBT Commission had a job to not get involved in International politics and they did!
Tom Rasmussen, a Seattle City Councillor points out the hypocrisy of the Dean Spade group – hear it for yourself towards the end. He noted he without the commission’s behavior was a monumental failure of leadership. They do not speak for the City of Seattle and have to explain themselves.
The discussion ensued and the commission spoke too. A MUST WATCH!