The Mob: Who screamed for Israel’s destruction; who displayed hate above unity of purpose; who knew exactly what they were doing and who were the nochschleppers ? SCROLL DOWN for names.
By Melanie Nathan, January 30, 2016
Last week the halls of The Hilton Hotel in Chicago, became the scene of a near riot. The debacle started with a cancellation by The Creating Change conference organizers, National LGBTQ Task Force, of an event to be hosted by A Wider Bridge, followed by the reinstatement of the event, and then culminated in a protest by anti-Israel supporters, who succeeded in shutting down a Shabbat reception. The protest turned into a vicious onslaught against Jewish attendees, with participants screaming, pushing, shoving, blocking and microphone led chants calling for the destruction of Israel. When all was said and done it was the stink of anti-Semitism that prevailed in those halls.
And now we have countless video and personal accounts to cement its imprint. Whats next? Truth? Reconciliation? Is there hope for us as an LGBTQ movement to reunify in common purpose or will so called ‘intersectionality’ take us down? Perhaps we should start off by exposing the participants and by looking into their individual agendas. I do not have the answers but can provide some clues.
In looking back one can see that the Conference’s ideals failed: It failed because of the taint and smear and the fact that so many in our LGBT community have their feelings left in tatters.
From all sides of several painful issues its the failure in unity that seemed to command the conference. The promise by organizers to never call police backfired. Hilton Hotels were compelled to call in the cops. Task Force, while honoring their promise to those who feared police brutality, disregarded others who were threatened by a raging mob. Hypocrisy abounds. The Task Force was willing to discriminate by deciding who deserved protection and who did not. The mob participants comprised of the very individuals who feared police brutality, and yet those same individuals seemed quite comfortable being part of the threat that caused Hilton Hotels enough consternation to fear for the safety of its hotel guests, to the point where they did in fact call police.
The conference failed on many levels, which all boil down to the inability to truly honor an environment where intersection ought to bring unity, but instead slipped into conflict, because of mismanagement and incompetence intersecting with alternate agendas. The perfect storm! The crazy notion to invite ICE into a safe space for undocumented LGBTQ people, the appeasement of stakeholders who believe some of our voices should be shut down, and the failure to note that alternate agendas such as anti-Israel protests, alleging Pinkwashing, could be lobbed at the correct target, the Israeli Government, and should not not enter the space where LGBTQ Jews and their organizations are equally entitled to represent their LGBTQ issues.
So far, there has been no redemption, no reconciliation – only halfhearted statements condemning anti-Semitism in general, with no responsibility for robbing members of our community of their safe haven. How can one protect and stroke one group at the expense of another? How does one accommodate all LGBTQI in attendance? Indeed when ‘hate’ toward others within our own community enters the picture, all goals for unity will collapse.
To move forward and ensure mistakes are not repeated, one must analyze many elements of the debacle. Alternate agendas must be exposed. Who were the protesters: Who screamed for Israel’s destruction; who displayed hate above unity of purpose; who knew exactly what they were doing and who were the nochschleppers? Or was it just a mob!
Under the barrage of hate, so clearly evidenced by what you will see on those videos, everything we seek to accomplish in terms of unity, at such an event, in terms of focus on our mutual goals and ideals, fell by the wayside. And one small percentage of attendees helped turn the event into an absolute disaster. Surely we must find out who did what – so that we can correct the mistakes made.
Now the Creating Change 2016 conference organizers, the National LGBTQ Task Force, will face the wrath of a variety of stakeholders, as the finger pointing begins. Understanding the complexity of balancing the interests of such a diverse community, as that of the LGBTQI community, one wonders how the ideal of embracing ‘intersectionality’ can ever prevail if groups within it fail to fully respect the space that belongs to us all. To that end, surely the rule ought to be, that under no circumstances should we ever protest each other in our LGBTQ space at the expense of dialogue. This space should be revered as “QUEER holy”and our common goal for full equality and a world free of criminalization of our sexuality and gender identities, free of homophobia and transphobia, so called “curative” rape against lesbians, ought to helm the one event that brings us all together. Not alternate agendas of a few!
A conference of this nature must be a safe space for each and every member of the LGBTQ community, whether liberal, conservative, African American, Caucasian, Asian, (etc.) Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Atheist, (etc.) pro Israel, pro Palestinian, (etc.) Democratic, Republican, Immigrant, documented, undocumented, refugee, doctor, lawyer, professor, plumber, street cleaner, (etc.) rich, poor, privileged, not privileged, perceived as this, or perceived as that! Nothing should stand in the way of one single fact – we are attending the conference for a common goal. No one’s issue rises above that of another. No one is more important than another. No one is ignored at the expense of another. No one is shut out. Not if you are LGBTQ. And to accomplish this, all must respect each and every space at this event, with full and absolute inclusion, and the promise of no disruption. To accomplish this Task Force cannot yield to those it perceives as more entitled to voice or less entitled to be heard.
Until we have full equality in the U.S.A., the global decriminalization of sexuality and gender identity, the eradication of homophobia, transphobia, and so called “corrective” rape of lesbians, as well as all else that impedes our LGBTQI human rights, we must focus on our unity first – that which brings us together, without which intersecting can never work. And until Task Force accepts that this is our trajectory at this time, their event with never work again. So while we cannot ignore the issues that do in fact separate us, or denote our differences, when we are all brought together at one forum, we must be able to safely discuss everything and anything, and such discussions must not be thwarted through out of control hateful protests and threats of shut down. We must all rise above that. The forum must be open to all under a policy of absolute respect and the preservation for the dignity of all , regardless of what side of an issue one represents and regardless of anger. Anger can and must be felt – its a right – and its acceptable, but how one hones that anger in a safe space is up for critical review. Free speech is a right that must be respected – but how it is expressed – not at the expense of safety and respect – is up for critical review. To this end we must expose alternate agendas and hence look critically at those who participated in the mob.
What was touted as an anti-Israel protest, turned out to be a Jew-bash-fest. With chants like – “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a genocidal chant calling for the demise of Israel, calling Jews “kike”, assaulting a man with a yamulkah by smothering his face in a Palestinian flag, and more… this was anything but a peaceful expression of free speech. It was aimed to shut down the voices of Jewish LGBTQ at the conference- and it did just that.
To catch up on the trajectory of the event, its initial cancellation, its reinstatement and the debacle that ensued can be found on this blog here or in links at the end of this article.
Many articles have been written, to include accounts of the experience from those traumatized, descriptions of the fiasco, letters from luminaries in our LGBT movement expressing outrage and calling for an investigation and even a statement (short of an apology) from Creating Change organizers denouncing anti-Semitism and promising an investigation.
Now is the time to expose the long list of participants, who judging from the video, seemed very comfortable Jew bashing their fellow LGBTQ attendees as well as hurting the very many of us who were not there, and detrimentally impacted by the horror of what occurred. In looking at who they are and why they behaved in such an awful way, must be a part of an investigation that will hopefully bring truth and reconciliation, so that change will happen giving Creating Change a decent future rather than a dismal burial!
Prior to the start of Creating Change a handful of anti-Israel activists, led by a known Anti-Israel activist, Dean Spade, called for the cancellation of the Shabbat reception event and succeeded in getting the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Rea Carey to cancel it. When there was an outcry, Carey reversed her decision and the event was allowed to continue. I dont know much about Dean Spade except he has been touted as a Trans activist who has advocated against marriage for LGBTQ people, and that he has a staunch anti-Israel agenda, which has disrupted LGBTQ organizations in the past, causing much embarrassment.
Spade is on a crusade to shut down anything and everything Jewish where Israeli LGBTQ are guests, regardless of the fact that those guests are often left wing, against the Israeli government policies, regardless that they are the ones who have fought against the religious right for LGBT equality in Israel, regardless of the fact that they house and shelter Palestinians and Arabs who escape Sharia law practices by their families and authorities. Clearly his agenda is Anti-Israel and he is using LGBTQ Israelis as his missile. Spade and a gang of three caused a serious embarrassment to the Seattle LGBT Commission, when he threw a tantrum for the shut down of an event to which Israeli LGBT speakers had been invited. The latter caused the City of Seattle to apologize to the Israeli guests and the Jewish LGBT community and led to the termination of most of the LGBT Commissioners. Spade works at Seattle University as an associate professor and was once a fellow at The Williams Institute.
lest we forget that Spade has the dubious distinction of actively opposing the NY State bill adding gender identity as a protected category to the state’s hate crimes statute because doing so would, according to Spade, promote incarceration by bringing perpetrators of anti-trans violence to justice. Spade is a prison abolitionist and campaigned against the lifting of the ban on military service by transgender Americans because he is against “U.S. militarism” and insists that transgender people have no business being in the military.
After viewing the video, what strikes me is vitriol expressed against the protesters’ fellow LGBTQI community. It seems to me that anyone who would protest those who have fought for the equal rights of fellow LGBTQI, protesting those who have tackled religious right wing extremists, and those who have provided safe haves for LGBTQ Palestinians and Arabs on the run from Sharia observant families and authorities, can only be judged anti-Jew. To assert claims of social justice is to deny truth. To assert the defense of oppression in the face of supporting those who oppress one’s own community is outrageous. The only explanation for me is that those who are protesting with full knowledge and awareness – those who are NOT the nochscheleppers – are disturbed self loathers, or Jew haters, – the hate taking precedence over the unity of purpose.
We have compiled a list here, with photographs of individuals, the organizations with whom they are affiliated or which they were representing at Creating Change, who we believe participated actively in the vicious anti-Jewish, anti-Israel, Anti-Semitic – whichever way you choose to interpret what took place – protest at Creating Change 2016: (Note there is no particular order of importance!)
This will be an open article – and updated . These are the people spotted on video or carrying signs. In some instances it is best if you view the extensive video footage yourselves to determine extent of participation. The videos linked here are by no means exhaustive of what is out there. The list will increase as we are able to identify more participants. Anyone who wants to provide input, correction or add to this list – by way of other participants or further information – is welcome to comment or contact me at [email protected] .
VIDEO 2. Minute 3:40 mob gets larger and chants Genocidal chant for the destruction of Israel. From minute 5:00 one sees the physical danger is escalating.
Lets see who is who – lets call a Spade a Spade!
Dean Spade, Associate Professor at Seattle University
Katherine Acey – board member of the Human Rights Watch LGBT Programs Advisory Committee, recipient of a Creating Change advocacy award
Andy Thayer – Gay Liberation Network, In 2010 home raided by FBI investigating ties to terrorists in Middle east (See Wikipedia)
Ben Lorber – Campus Coordinator at Jewish Voices For Peace.
Colin Dayan, a.k.a Joan Dayan – A Professor of English, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University.
Faith Cheltenham, is president of BiNet USA
Benjamin Balthaser – University of Indiana, South Bend, Active member of Jewish Voice for Peace,
Jenn Steinfeld, Executive Director of Women’s Fund of RI
Jose Roman Garcia Madrid – TransQueer Liberation Movement, #FUCKice Campaign
Eyad M Alkurabi, purported Palestinian, affiliated with GetEQUAL
DarkMatter: name, a design/poetry performance duo named, Alok Vaid-Menon and Janani Balasubramania
Katherine Acey ,
Katherine Acey is one of the founders and executive director emeritus of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Under Acey’s leadership Astraea became one of the first foundations in the world to begin to provide funding to emerging LGBTI rights groups in the global East and South. In 1990, Astraea established the nation’s first Lesbian Writers Fund and in 1996, Astraea created The International Fund for Sexual Minorities—the only fund of its kind. In 2006, Astraea launched its U.S. Movement Building Initiative with a focus on support to people of color LGBT organizations. Acey has extensive experience building philanthropy both in support of LGBTI rights in the United States and globally. She has served as associate director of the North Star Fund, as the chair of the Women’s Funding Network, and Funders for LGBT issues.
Acey is currently a board member of the Human Rights Watch LGBT Programs Advisory Committee. Acey has been awarded the Cross Cultural Black Women’s Studies Institute for International Women’s Leadership Award, the NYC National Organization for Women Susan B. Anthony Award, and the Women & Philanthropy LEAD Award, among others. Acey received her BA in sociology from Daemen College and her MS in community organizing from the Columbia University School of Social Work.
Campus Coordinator at Jewish Voices For Peace. A source reports that he participated in the vicious anti-Semitic attack on Israeli and Jewish voices at Creating Change 2016. He can be seen in the many videos participating in anti-Jewish and Anti-Israel chants. Perhaps its becoming more evident that JVP stand for anti-Semitism – a charge long out there – well as they say – ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating.’ So is this what JVP stands for? Is this what JVP promotes? https://www.facebook.com/ben.lorber.1
FROM BEN LORBER’s TWITTER ACCOUNT: I have checked his Facebook account and his twitter account and do not see any LGBT work or activism and am not even sure of his sexuality or real interest in LGBTQ equality issues. The latter is not evident from his public profile. I am not sure if he was or was not a registered participant at Creating Change 2016. That would be information we would like CC16 to reveal during the independent inquiry we are hoping to accomplish. Is Lorber’s platform one which includes LGBTQ equality and decriminalization? Was he registered to attend Creating Change? I dont know!
Caption: I AM A JEWISH QUEER BUT I WILL STAND FOR ANTI-SEMITISM IN MY NAME?
Yes he does call himself an LGBTQ activist. Represents Gay Liberation Network . He resides in Chicago. I am not sure if he was a registered attendee or not. I am not sure if he participated in anything other than this protest at Creating Change 2016. That would be a question to ask him. In 2010 his home was raided by the FBI in an investigation of several people who is was alleged may have had ties to Hamas. One will notice from the chants that Thayer is indeed leading a Hamas chant! Thayer was one of the organizers of this protest and can be seen on video as such, as well as in admitted statements to the press. Andy Thayer also held an event for a well known Russian LGBT activist, Nikolai Alekseev, some years back, after the activist was rejected by local American LGBTQ activists for his public anti-semitic statements.
Minutes 3:28 at Windy City Times: Creating Change protest vs. A Wider Bridge reception, Video 7, 1-22-2016 see minute 9:21 and
From 9:42 Thayer chants the genocidal phrase: “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free“
Colin Dayan, a.k.a Joan Dayan ?
A Professor of English, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University. She works in prison law; the legal and religious history of the Americas. I do not see any connection to or evidence of any LGBTQ activism or advocacy work, volunteer or otherwise from her social media sites.
Works at Vanderbilt University
Faith Cheltenham, is president of BiNet USA, was a participant and is the person wearing blue and black stripes in your photo of Colin Dayan. She wrote this op-ed after CC: http://unicornbooty.stfi.re/66110/?sf=apoepx (Added: Feb 01, 2106 -)
Benjamin Balthaser is assistant professor of multi-ethnic U.S. literature at Indiana University, South Bend. His forthcoming book, Anti-Imperialist Modernism: Race and Transnational Radical Culture will appear from University of Michigan Press December, 2015. He is an active member of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago . Prof at Indiana University South Bend . https://www.iusb.edu/english/faculty-and-staff/balthasar.php . An avid anti-Zionist. Clearly an agenda that is not LGBTQ centric. Is he LGBTQI? – I dont know. Has he participated in activism toward the attainment of LGBTQI equality? – I do not know. Is this his first Creating Change? – I don’t know. Is he an opportunistic anti-Israel proponent who happens to live in Chicago with easy access to the conference and hence showed up at Creating Change to further his agenda- mmm maybe!
His articles are biased anti-Zionist thumbsuckers. Unscientific findings – such as Zionists must be those Jews who are wealthier because while observing one event’s participants at a Jewish (Zionist) fundraising Gala:
“At the recent protest against the Jewish National Fund’s Chicago meeting organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, I was immediately struck by the stark differences between the crowd of protesters assembled for a prayer vigil and the donors crossing Randolph Avenue for a catered reception. Both crowds were nearly all Jews; the vigil sang Shavua Tov and many of the donors wore kippot—both sides apparently locked in a cultural arms race for who most represented authentic Jewish life. Yet for all the Hebed-out display, what struck me was not our shared culture, but rather the immediately apparent cultural differences. The JNF donors arrived in limousines and taxis (despite the conference hotel being only blocks away); they wore fur and expensive cocktail dresses; they sported the kind of even tans one wears as a fall accessory at a suburban country club. The crowd of singing Jewish protesters, by contrast, looked like social service workers, teachers, students—the ordinary, if educated, middle class. ” SOURCE.
Need I say more.
Jenn Steinfeld, Executive Director of Women’s Fund of RI.
Their mission is to “invest in women and girls in our community through research, advocacy and strategic partnerships designed to eliminate gender inequity through systemic change.” Amazing Israel is the ONLY country in the Middle East which gives women such a high measure of equality and yet she would participate in shutting down LGBT women from Israel’s voices! Unfathomable. Their website notes that when you donate to the Women’s Fund, your investment helps make real and lasting impact on the state of gender equality in Rhode Island. Your donations directly fund the creation of new legislation for a better Rhode Island, advocacy of practices and policies that are good for women and families; and community outreach which encourages people of all ages and walks of life to take a stand and adopt a lifestyle that helps level the playing field for women and girls.
Lets hope that Jenn protested on her own dime!
Jen’s page BIO on the site reads:
“ Jenn Steinfeld has spent her career creating opportunities for equity and access, and is devoted to making the world a more fair place for all. She has spent nearly 20 years working on LGBTQ issues, education, and community health. Her passion is working at the intersection of policy and action, and she has helped many local organizations develop strategic plans, enhance their fundraising capacity, and build coalitions for action. Jenn was a founder of Marriage Equality Rhode Island, and helped steward the organization through the successful passage of equal marriage legislation in 2013. She serves on the City of Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advocacy Commission and the board of Girls Rock! Rhode Island. Jenn was named a Mover and Shaker by Rhode Island Monthly in 2006 and received an inaugural Julie Pell Empowerment Award for Social Change & Civic Engagement from the Equity Action fund at the Rhode Island Foundation in 2010. She is a student of nonviolent communication and an avid knitter and gardener. Jenn and her partner live in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Providence.“
Eyad M Alkurabi
Affiliated with GetEQUAL, claims to be Palestinian born. Known LGBT activist who organized as a volunteer/worked for GetEQUAL. When I first posted the story about the protests causing a shut down at Creating Change his comment on my Facebook page timeline was: “Fucking liar.” He has often trolled and posted angry hateful comments on my Facebook Timeline. Finally blocked him!
He was one of the lead organizers of the protests and can be seen in many parts of the videos instigating the event and chants. Here he leads the start of the chanting calling for Israel to be swept into the sea: Windy City Times: Creating Change protest vs. A Wider Bridge reception, Video 2, 1-22-201 Minute 0:34 at
See also Video 7, 1-22-2016 and at 7:09, Minute 2.07 : “From The River to the Sea Palestine Will be Free”- the calling for the destruction of Israel. Windy City Times: Creating Change protest vs. A Wider Bridge reception, –“ I am Palestinian – I am Palestine” “Had people repeat after him: I feel incredibly uncomfortable because Zionism put their hand on us.”
Eyad at Video 7, 1-22-2016 at minute 11:52. He is seen on video threatening to sue a man for “supporting Netanyahu”. Seriously he is THAT clued in. In America the land of free speech – as long as it is HIS free speech – so smart so smart!
Preview YouTube video Windy City Times: Creating Change protest vs. A Wider Bridge reception, Video 3, 1-22-2016
The Genocidal Chant:
“FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA PALESTINE WILL BE FREE”: (Windy City Video #7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Acrl38WJ0P4)
At 1:34 Minutes:
José Ramón García-Madrid
Jose Roman Garcia Madrid – may have been involved in the yarmulke/flag incident*. According to his Facebook profile, he is originally from San Buenaventura, Chihauhau and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. His cause has been the “FUCKICE” campaign, on behalf of detained and deported undocumented immigrants.
Associations: TransQueer Liberation Movement, #FUCKICE Campaign, Black Lives Matter, movements which many of us who believe Israel has a right to exist, support as well.
Windy City Times: Creating Change protest vs. A Wider Bridge reception, Video 3, 1-22-2016: HERE.
GARCIA-MADRID was outraged and angry when the National LGBTQ Task Force, the organizer of the Creating Change Conference, had invited ICE and when ICE was then uninvited, they seemed to complain that the retraction and apology from Rea Carey was not enough: “We are saying the apology is not enough–we need action. So we need #ICEoutofCC since ICE shouldn’t be there in the first place. The conference will be safe ONLY when the National LGBTQ Task Force guarantees that ICE will not be at #CC16. Once that happens, the task force needs to demonstrate the same commitment to ensuring LGBTQ and GNC immigrants are at the conference and participate as they did in ensuring ICE not only attended, but had space to present. So really it’s simple: move all the energy you put into including ICE at next week’s Creating Change Conference and shift it to benefit LGBTQ and GNC undocumented immigrants who are the ones who SHOULD be there. #FUCKICE #Not1More“
GARCIA-MADRID’s Facebook status: “We reject the National LGBTQ Task Force‘s apology statement for inviting ICE to take up space and present at next week’s Creating Change Conference. ICE should not have been invited in the first place. We are laying out initial thinking and demands from our community as follows: *Include a “Fighting Against Deportations” plenary with trans immigrant leaders; *Make space available on the agenda to include more LGBTQ immigrant rights workshops; and, *Ensure all LGBTQ undocumented immigrant attendees are supported financially throughout the conference (meals, lodging, registration, travel, etc). #NOT1MORE #FUCKICE
DarkMatter, Alok Vaid-Menon and Janani Balasubramania
By name, a design/poetry duo
Seems they wanted their pound of flesh last year at CC15 – well happily realized this year – scroll down-
DARKMATTER is a vastly popular duo whose work seems to include attacking fellow LGTQ without regard for who they are and the truth of whom they represent. Evidenced by their apparent call to cancel the AWB event before it happened. Did they do their homework into AWB and JOH before calling for the event cancellation? If they did not then they ought to apologize. If they did, then they did not make a mistake and they meant to shur down voices of LGBT who do not represent the Israeli government voice. One must wonder why attack fellow LGBTQ who fight for equality? Some clues may lay in their work, which does not always seem friendly to LGBTQ community. Google and find – there are Bios and writings out there.
Tony Verona notes in an article that DarkMatter participated in the early calls for cancellation.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kal-shalash-04a9734b (updated 2/2/2016)
As a matter of fact, the general sentiment in the LGBTQ movement is one of disgust at what occurred at Creating Change. It caused a huge outcry among noted LGBTQ community, activists and luminaries in our movement.
Above are the comments at the end of the You Tube Video. Not a single one supporting the vicious self-righteous call for the destruction of Israel:
6) LGBT Leaders Call on Task Force for Independent Review of Creating Change Debacle
By Melanie Nathan January 28, 2016. I am proud to be a signatory to this letter addressed to the LGBTQ Task Force. I am also proud to stand with noted and admired leaders in our community. The letter speaks for itself. Thank you to Roberta Kaplan and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum for leading the effort on this powerful message: READ MORE
5) National LGBTQ Task Force’s Halfhearted Condemnation After Creating Change Attack on Jews
No Apology and Measured Responsibility Veiled in Excuses
4) Equality California Calls Out National LGBTQ Task Force for Disservice to LGBT Movement
“…. conference organizers failed to defend these organizations and correct the false information and gross distortions….,” EQCA
3) LGBT Protesters at Creating Change Call for the Destruction of Israel
Has Creating Change taken on a New Meaning: Does that Change involve LGBTQ America Supporting Anti Semitism?
2) National LGBTQ Task Force Reverses Decision to Cancel Jewish Reception
Carey: “when faced with choices, we should move towards our core value of inclusion and opportunities for constructive dialogue”
1) Famed LGBT Voices Blast Task Force For Banning Jewish Event from Creating Change Conference
The Hypocrisy of Rea Carey and the LGBT Task Force : “Our vision for the future of the movement is one that is broad, inclusive and dynamic” – and yet they ban a pre-arranged and once accepted Jewish event within days of the Conference. See Call to Action below!
CONTACT: Melanie Nathan, [email protected]
READ MORE ABOUT THE PINKLYING of the PROTESTERS HERE – thanks to Dana Beyer for an excellent article.