US Social Forum cancels exploitative Zionist workshop

Press release, “Al-Awda, NY”, Arab American Action Network, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Arab American Union Members Council, Arab Youth Organization, Bay Area Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid, Desis Rising and Moving, Palestine Youth Network, US Palestinian Community Network, Middle East Children’s Alliance, South West Asia North Africa Bay Area Queers, General Union of Palestine Students, Committee for Justice in Palestine (SJP)-UC Berkeley, Youngstown Arab Community Center, 23 June 2010

In a historic accomplishment, the leadership of the US Social Forum voted this morning to cancel a workshop proposed by “Stand With US,” a Zionist organization that sought to represent Israel as a safe haven for LGBTQI communities and undermine the broadening support for the cause of justice in/for Palestine. As the National Planning Committee (NPC) put it in its announcement, “the workshop ‘LGBTQI Liberation in the Middle East’ (Thursday, 24 June 10:00am to 12:00pm) has been canceled for violating the submission procedure and transparency requirements for all workshops, and for being in violation of the anti-racist principles central to the US Social Forum.”

We, Palestinian, Arab and Muslim activists, gathered at the US Social Forum, came together in a solid coalition with our allies from other marginalized communities of color, poor people’s movements, and anti-Zionist activists, to respond to the urgent call issued by our sisters and brother in Palestine and Lebanon to cancel the Zionist workshop. The call was supported by Arab queer groups, such as SWANABAQ and by Palestinian and Arab community groups, such as the USPCN (US Palestinian Community Network), a group member of the National Planning Committee (NPC) of the US Social Forum.

As our sisters and brothers (Helem, ASWAT, Al-Qaws and Palestinian Queers for BDS) made it clear in their statement that racist, Zionist, colonialist and Islamophobic politics and actions are as abhorrent as the politics and practices of homophobia and therefore have no place within movements for justice. We agree with this position and stand steadfastly and with unwavering commitment with this just struggle. Likewise, we stand steadfastly and with unwavering commitment to struggles against US and Israeli policies of war against poor and marginalized communities here in the US and that seek to undermine our unity and solidarity.

This is a victory for our struggle and indeed the struggle for justice for all. This victory makes it clear that the struggle for justice in/for Palestine is an integral part of the worldwide movement for freedom, dignity, justice and peace.

We call on all of you to participate in the US Social Forum process by

* Attending workshops and sessions in Detroit for the next four days
* Writing to thank the National Planning Committee (NPC) of USSF
* Working with the broad and diverse forces of justice and peace in your area.

Congratulations to all of us! Together, united for justice, another world is possible!

Undersigned organizations:
Al-Awda, NY
Arab American Action Network (AAAN)
Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)
Arab American Union Members Council
Arab Youth Organization (AYO)
Bay Area Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid
Desis Rising and Moving (DRUM)
Palestine Youth Network (PYN)
US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)
Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)
South West Asia North Africa Bay Area Queers (SWANABAQ)
General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS)
Committee for Justice in Palestine (SJP)-UC Berkeley
Youngstown Arab Community Center

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