By Melanie Nathan, 03/21/2012
The Seattle City LGBT Commissions has issued a formal apology, by posting it on Facebook, to the LGBT public and the Israeli AILO group, as can be seen below, for its actions in cancelling an event that in essence served to boycott and silence the visiting group from Israel.
It admits the “pain, offense and embarrassment,” which they caused by canceling their scheduled event with leaders from Israel’s LGBTQ community who were visiting U.S. cities. The toolk responsibility by apologizing to “leaders who were invited as our guests and to the many members of the Israeli, Palestinian, and LGBTQ communities in Seattle and worldwide who were affected by our decision.”
However the letter goes further to denounce the proponents who sold the boycott idea in the first place, led by academic Dean Spade and a handful of anti-Israel activists who provided the Commission with unsubstantiated rhetoric as a reason to cancel the visits.
After widespread criticism, culminating in a powerful letter from the Greater Seattle LGBT Business Association, yesterday addressed to the Commission, it seems to have come to its senses and has issued this heartfelt apology. The letter notes the Commission’s disappointment in the fact that Dean Spade and cohorts saw fit to call for “celebrations” after they had succeeded in accomplishing the boycott, stating : “We also have heard from many who celebrate the cancellation of this event. We flatly reject the suggestion that there could be any joy or celebration in this outcome.”
However now the commission says it plans to create a format for dialogue and is asking for input at its meeting to do so. Unfortunately I believe that their excuse for cancelling remains in place by this part of their apology statement:- “Our vote to cancel the meeting was not to make a stand for either side, but to recognize that we could not facilitate a neutral space for dialog and learning and keep the conversation focused on LGBTQ issues versus the larger issues of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.”
In doing this they admit that they do not realize that by virtue of cancelling they did indeed make a political statement that cannot be undone. They further admit their incompetence in handling this matter at all. What makes anyone think that they are now suddenly equipped?
The only basis to move forward to any further dialogue with a City of Seattle LGBT Commission is if each and every one of the members who voted for the Boycott resign with immediate effect and a new Commission of competent individual be appointed in their stead! Until such time as they resign and a new commission is appointed, the Jewish community, the LGBT community and al those interested should refrain from pursuing this invitation as outlined in their letter below!
Here is the apology:-
SLGBTC Public Statement 3 20 12
by Seattle LGBT Commission on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 2:48pm ·
March 20, 2012
The Seattle LGBT Commission sincerely apologizes for the pain, offense and embarrassment that we caused by canceling our scheduled event with leaders from Israel’s LGBTQ community who were visiting U.S. cities. We apologize both to those leaders who were invited as our guests and to the many members of the Israeli, Palestinian, and LGBTQ communities in Seattle and worldwide who were affected by our decision.
The Commission has heard from many individuals who have shared their thoughts, concerns and outrage in emails, social media and phone calls. We appreciate those who have taken the time to reach out to us to express their thoughts and emotions, and we recognize that our actions have also touched many others who have not yet contacted us.
The Commission originally scheduled the event to foster greater dialogue within the LGBTQ community and to meet with Israeli leaders who are working in service of LGBTQ equality. We respect the work they are accomplishing. In advance of the event, we heard from many members of the local community who were concerned that hosting this event implicated broader issues. Much feedback expressed contained deep pain and anger.
At our March 15, 2012 Commission meeting, we listened to extended public comment from members of the public, both in favor of and against the event. This was a difficult decision. Our vote to cancel the meeting was not to make a stand for either side, but to recognize that we could not facilitate a neutral space for dialog and learning and keep the conversation focused on LGBTQ issues versus the larger issues of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.
We also have heard from many who celebrate the cancellation of this event. We flatly reject the suggestion that there could be any joy or celebration in this outcome.
It is important for us to learn from this experience and to create a deeper conversation. The Commission is meeting with Seattle City Councilmembers and community leaders this week to develop ideas for future dialogue opportunities. We invite all to our next monthly Commission meeting to hear more from our community about the format for this learning dialog. Our next meeting is April 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the City Hall Boards and Commissions Room (5th Ave. and Cherry St., Room L280).
As members of a volunteer Commission, we are deeply touched by the concern and commitment expressed by communities both near and far. We appreciate everyone’s commitment to work for equity for our LGBTQ communities.
Members of the Seattle LGBT Commission
Here is a list of the Articles about the topic that I have written over the past week-
By Melanie Nathan, March 19, 2012 I often wonder if advisory boards for non-Profit organizations keep a check on what they have tied their names to? Many are apt to join for an appealing mission statement tied to common causes and very often because a friend or acquaintance pitched the importance. Although I do recognize […]
Or who is Pinkwashing the Projected Projectiled Pinkwashers By Melanie Nathan, 03/17/2012 There has been a recent spate of targeted attacks on Israeli LGBT community and leadership visits in the USA. The attempts to squash the meetings of all and any Israeli LGBT visitors, regardless of purpose and commonality has been helmed by a group […]
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 […]
The unconscionable shutting down of gay, lesbian and transgender voices by our own community cannot be tolerated, for any reason whatsoever – I take blogger’s license – I am sad and disgusted! By Melanie Nathan 03/15/2012 Reports have come in from the Seattle commission’s meeting tonight that in an act of unprecedented cowardice the Seattle […]
Denying dialogue is a means to foster hate … By Melanie Nathan, 03/14/2012 In the midst of a visit to the West Coast by a delegation of Israeli LGBT leaders, is a small group of anti-Israel proponents, who seem to be led by an assistant law Professor from Seattle University, Dean Spade, who was a […]