March 25, 2011

Gay City News on the Siegebusters ban

Gay City News' Paul Schindler writes a clear profile of who Michael Lucas is in this debate -- and the plethora of longtime queer community activists calling for the Center to stop heeding Lucas' claims that opposing occupation is anti-Semitic. Several statements appear here that aren't elsewhere. Snippets follow the link.

Firestorm Over LGBT Center Jettisoning Critics of Israel

Michael Lucas, the Center's Glennda Testone, and Siege Busters' Sherry Wolf.
The February 22 decision by New York’s LGBT Community Center to cancel a party planned to mark Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), an annual international mobilization by critics of the Jewish state’s treatment of the Palestinians who live in the territory it controls, has sparked outraged response from many LGBT New Yorkers, including a good number of prominent Jewish lesbian and gay activists — but has also won support from other progressive Jewish gay leaders and journalists.


Lucas’ linking of IAW to anti-Semitism — a charge leveled by many defenders of Israel against a movement whose mission is BDS: boycott, divestment, sanctions — proved particularly stinging to the organizers and supporters of the Center event, many of whom are Jewish, when it became clear that the accusation apparently had traction with Testone and her board.


He has also been a harsh, even inflammatory critic of Muslims. ... In another Advocate essay about the Muslim Army psychiatrist arrested in the killing of 13 at Fort Hood last spring, he wrote, “We knew he simply carried out the order of his guide, the Koran.” While now saying, “Anything under the sun is possible,” Lucas told Gay City News that Islamic faith is essentially incompatible with US military service.


Leslie Cagan, a longtime peace activist, picked up on Taylor’s discussion of the Center’s tradition of diversity, writing, “The Center has always been one of the few places in New York City where all parts of the queer community have been welcome, and where our allies and friends have also found a safe space. Our community, indeed the nation as a whole, needs to know we can have open and fear-free discussions about so many important issues. Now is not the time to slam the door shut.”

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