Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in Brooklyn Pride
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid marched without incident in the Brooklyn Pride Parade on June 11. As the clip above shows, the group received the same cheers that every other group marching in the parade received because that is how onlookers behave at pride marches -- they cheer loudly and for everything.
I saw one man grimacing and he appeared to give a quiet “Boo” as Queers Against Israeli Apartheid went marching by, but he looked as if he was not enjoying any part of the parade so I cannot say he disapproved of any specific group. I was struck by one thing.
Michael Lucas, the owner of Lucas Entertainment, a gay porn studio, has aggressively and successfully, sort of, kept Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from meeting in Manhattan’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center and previously he got the Siegebusters Working Group, another organization that opposes Israeli government policy towards Palestinians, tossed out of the Center.
The working group held regular meetings at the Center beginning in August 2010, but when it planned a March 5 party to mark the end of Israeli Apartheid Week, Lucas threatened a donor boycott. The Center barred the party and banned Siegebusters from any further meetings there.
On May 25, the Center allowed Queers Against Israeli Apartheid to rent space for three meetings and the group met at the West 13th Street building for the first time on May 26. Threatened with another donor boycott, the Center pulled that approval on June 2 and announced an “indefinite moratorium” on renting to groups that “organize around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
I was struck by one thing on June 11. Lucas and the folks who joined him in pressuring the Center to give these two groups the boot prevented them, or tried to, from meeting and talking among themselves. When I asked Lucas if he had any plans to challenge the participation of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in the gay pride marches in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, he said “I don’t care. They can do whatever the hell they want.”
So it is beyond the pale for these groups to meet quietly, but perfectly acceptable for them to carry their message to what will have been hundreds of thousands of people by the time they are done marching in the June 26 pride march on Fifth Avenue? So the objection is what? I remain confused.