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Queers Tell LGBT Film Festival, Stop Pinkwashing Israeli Crimes
The gay glitterati at the opening night of Frameline's annual international LGBT film festival were met by a raucous demonstration protesting Israel's inclusion as a festival sponsor.
The opening night of Frameline's annual SF International LGBT Film Festival is the official beginning of the Pride social season. It's a $75 gala attended by elite and wannabe gays and lesbians and even some queers and trans folks.
This year, the glitterati were greeted not only by the usual swarm of festival volunteers, decked-out staff and celebs, but also by a reminder of the seamy underside of the self-described largest queer cultural event in the world.
Three years ago, LGBT activists from the local groups Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism and SouthWest Asian and North African Bay Area Queers (SWANABAQ) spotted the logo of the Israeli Consulate General in the Frameline festival guide and realized that the festival was being partly underwritten by war criminals. After an aggressive campaign of petitions and post cards, the festival dropped Israeli sponsorship for two years, claiming, of course, that it was a mere coincidence. But this year, amid the pressure of the Israeli Foreign Ministry's Brand Israel campaign (see http://nation-branding.info/2010/02/24/brand-israel/) which considers the international LGBT community a potential ally, especially against Iran (http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel-recruits-gay-community-in-pr-campaign-against-iran-1.274422), the festival agreed to accept Israeli money once again.
When the festival guide came out in late May, revealing that the dirty deal was done, local queers sprang into action to organize a picket at the opening night festivities. Bearing signs calling for "Stop Pinkwashing Israel's Crimes" and "Israeli Government Out of Frameline", over 150 people led by the Brass Liberation Orchestra chanted "Frameline Frameline Shame Shame Shame, No Apartheid In Our Name."
Demonstrators gave out fliers asking filmgoers to stuff the ballot box with requests to drop the Israeli consulate as a sponsor. They also distributed copies of a statement by the only two Palestinian LGBT organizations condemning "Pinkwashing" and calling on international queers to join the international boycott of Israel until it respects Palestinian human rights (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=105642289484387&v=wall).
For more information, see the excellent article by Erica Marcus in the San Francisco Bay Times, http://www.sfbaytimes.com/?sec=article&article_id=13121.