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Zionism Still Welcome at the US Social Forum
Will the US Social Forum permit militant Zionists to participate and speak for Arab and Muslim LGBTQI people? It appear so.
As described here on Thursday, the US Social Forum, a diverse domestic political and cultural gathering in emulation of the World Social Forum with the objective of developing alternatives to neoliberalism, scheduled a June 24th workshop on LGTBQI Liberation in the Middle East. But there was a problem. The workshop will be conducted by Stand With Us, an American Zionist organization known for its support of an attack upon Iran, the siege of Gaza and the harassment of anti-Zionist academics and activists. More practically, Stand With Us purports to speak for Arab and Muslim LGTBQI people for which it otherwise directs hatred and contempt.
On Wednesday, someone from the Forum posted a brief comment to the Forum's Facebook page to the effect that a statement would soon be issued, after the posting of the statement. It is now Saturday, three days before the start of the Forum, and no statement has yet been publicly released. Instead, the Forum has engaged in hedging by process, inquiring of people who have raised objections as to whether they have been in direct contact with ussf organizers or the co-signers of the original letter of concern from Helem, ASWAT, Palestinian Queers for BDS, and Al-Qaws. There has, however, been a lively discussion about the participation of Stand With Us, with numerous comments in opposition posted in the last few days.
Yesterday, Nada Elia, a person who has been quite persistent in expressing the opposition of Arab queers to the presence of Stand With Us, may have provided some insight into the opaque decisionmaking processes of the Forum in regard to this issue in following comment on the Arab Queers say NO to Pinkwashing at the US Social Forum Facebook page:
In other words, more hedging, an attempt to protect the right of Stand with Us to speak for Arab and Muslim LGTBQI people at the Forum by means of a strategic apology. Yet again, in what I would have considered the most unlikely of places, we come face to face with the problematic relationship of the American left with Zionism. Consider, for example, my brief dialogue with Sam Molnar on the Forum's Facebook page:
If a significant number of US leftists and progressives think like Sam Molnar, it is no wonder that the American political scene lacks any vitality on the left:
Unfortunately, it looks like the Forum is going to do precisely what Baker fears, and evolve into yet another aggregation of leftists and progressives that serves therapeutic purposes instead of political and social ones. With my family obligations, I have not been able to attend the Forum, but I did hope that it would play a significant role in organizing a left opposition in the US. But any organization that allows militant Zionists like Stand with Us to participate has no future other than as an organizer of activist vacations. Perhaps, the Forum can invite the Minutemen to conduct a workshop on the dangers faced by undocumented people in Arizona at its next event.