Within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, the slogan “we are everywhere” is not only wonderfully true but painfully true as well, as LGBT people are found both among the Jewish Israeli and Palestinian and Arab populations living within the borders of the State of Israel. And LGBT people in the United States are found on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian divide, scattered on a continuum from those who see Israel as the only legitimate claimant to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean to those who believe that all of that land is the home of the Palestinian people alone. Many queer Americans, of course, are somewhere in between, recognizing as legitimate both the State of Israel and the aspirations of the Palestinian people. Perhaps a majority in the LGBT community in the United States is either frustrated to the point of giving up or apathetic after years of war and conflict.
And the story of how the Center became drawn into the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, despite the desire of its board and staff to avoid such entanglement — or perhaps because of it — is a cautionary tale for LGBT community centers and LGBT organizations and queer politics more generally — both in New York and beyond.