Pro-Palestinian protesters this past Friday, January 22, 2016, forced the cancellation of a reception and in Chicago at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s annual conference. The gathering was to have featured two LGBT rights advocates from the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance in Israel. More than 200 people disrupted the event sponsored by A Wider Bridge (AWB) at the Creating Change Conference. The AWV seeks to bolster LGBTQ connections with those working on LGBTQ issues in Israel.
“No justice, no peace,” the protesters chanted at the Chicago Hilton. They were intent on preventing what they called “pink-washing” efforts to promote Israel’s LGBT rights record as an alleged strategy to deflect attention from Israel’s oppressive policies toward Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The protesters chanted “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free,” leaving little doubt about their program or commitments, and pushed in and took control of the stage. The visiting Israeli activists had to be rushed out a back door.