“…. conference organizers failed to defend these organizations and correct the false information and gross distortions….,” EQCA
By Melanie Nathan, January 26, 2016.
Equality California (EQCA) has posted a strong and pointed statement, calling out The National Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Task Force, for its poor handling of the debacle at Creating Change 2016, which resulted in a vicious Antisemitic onslaught of protesters, disrupting and shutting down an LGBT Jewish event held by a participating U.S.A. LGBT organization, A Wider Bridge.
Los Angeles — In response to events over the weekend at the Creating Change conference, organized by the National LGBTQ Task Force in Chicago, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement:
“It is important that LGBT Jews and other Jewish allies understand that they do not stand alone in their extreme disappointment, sadness and disagreement with events this past weekend at Creating Change. Contrary to the stated goal of creating a safe space for everyone, what took place sent a message of exclusion and disrespect to many Jewish members of our own community and to non-LGBT Jewish allies, who have been some of the staunchest advocates for LGBT equality and social justice both in the United States and around the world.
A Wider Bridge, one of two organizations at the reception shut down by some 200 protesters, is an American organization that aims to encourage pluralism in Israel and strengthen the country’s LGBT community through connections with LGBT communities in North America. The other organization, Jerusalem Open House, is a community center that, true to its name, opens its doors to all — Jew and Arab, religious and secular. Rather than representing the Israeli government and its policies, the organizations encourage cooperation and coexistence between people with differing backgrounds and views. The attacks on fellow LGBT organizations simply because they work with Israel’s LGBT community is deeply offensive to many Jews and non-Jews alike. To read about the experience of EQCA Legislative Director Alice Kessler with A Wider Bridge, click here.
The events at Creating Change did a disservice to the broader LGBT movement. We are disappointed that after cancelling the reception and then inviting back A Wider Bridge and Jerusalem Open House, conference organizers failed to take appropriate steps to assure that the reception could occur in light of expected protests and did not ensure that conference participants could attend. They also failed to protect the safety of and respect for participants and conference guests. The verbal and physical intimidation on conference participants who wanted to attend the Wider Bridge event was unacceptable.
We also are extremely disappointed that the conference organizers failed to defend these organizations and correct the false information and gross distortions that were used as a basis for an unfair attack on LGBT people and organizations that serve them. National and state organizations that provide leadership for the LGBT community and movement should always attempt to serve as a moral compass and stand for truth, fairness, respect, and inclusion.
In this case, the Task Force needs to do more to adhere to these values.
The silence of some leadership attending the Creating Change Event is deafening. It is highly unusual for a LGBT organization to call out another, so vehemently. This is indicative, not only of the seriousness of the what occurred at Creating Change, but also the danger to our future as an effective LGBTQ movement. Equality California and Executive Director Rick Zbur clearly understand the ramifications of what occurred and how important it is for our movement. Not a single LGBTQ organizations and/or their leadership participating at the conference should be silent.
A Coalition to take Task Force to task is building: Contact [email protected]
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED:
READ MORE: These articles outline events leading up to this statement above: