Protesters hold a sign saying "zionism sucks" at a Creating Change Conference in Chicago.

Watch: Tying queer liberation to fighting Zionism

More than 200 protesters shut down a presentation organized by a Zionist group this past weekend during the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change conference in Chicago.

As protesters explained, “For several years the Israeli government has attempted to use propaganda about the freedoms some LGBTQs in that country have as a cover for their increasingly brutal rule over Palestinians, a process known as pinkwashing.” That a white, mainstream, American organization buys into this propaganda should come as little surprise. As organizers note:

This is not the first time that the Task Force has been criticized for marginalizing people of color or cultivating racism at Creating Change. In fact,  these criticisms and protests are commonplace at the Conference. Whether this year or in the past, the Task Force has invited both police and [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] ICE — with blatant disregard for many, many queer/trans activist communities of color.

Among those supporting the #cancelpinkwashing campaign in response to the Task Force’s inclusion of a Zionist lobby group (as well as ICE) are Tarab-NYC, Reina Gossett, Jennicet Gutiérrez, Black Lives Matter Chicago, and Dean Spade, the director of “Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back.” They are connecting queer liberation to organizing against other systemic oppression and have since called on the Task Force to “take a firm stand against colonialism, racism and apartheid and refuse to host pinkwashing events by Israel advocacy organizations, ICE or the police.” As one activist writes:

As long as empire exists, what meaning does [queer] equality hold? Does it even have any? How can I gloat in my own supposed freedom while people are getting phone calls from the IDF telling them their homes will be destroyed in ten minutes? How are you liberated when empire culminates in children dying, burning, in a cloud of white phosphorus?

Check out the two-minute clip from Spade’s film below that describes what pinkwashing is and how to spot it.

Header image via.

Mahroh is a community organizer and law student who believes in building a world where black and brown women and our communities are able to live free of violence. Prior to law school, Mahroh was the Executive Director of Know Your IX, a national survivor- and youth-led organization empowering students to end gender violence and a junior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her research addresses the ways militarization, racism, and sexual violence impact communities of color transnationally.

Mahroh is currently at Harvard Law School, organizing against state and gender-based violence.

Read more about Mahroh

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