Tel Aviv's LGBT Tourism Conference Met with Protest
Tel Aviv, Israel, October 11, 2009
On Sunday afternoon local Palestinian and Jewish LGBT\queer activists held a protest against promoting LGBT tourism to Israel in front of the Tel Aviv gay center. The protesters intercepted a group of travel agents and other guests attending a conference that took place inside the gay center. The conference was organized by various Israeli institutes and International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA).
While entering, the guests went by the protesters, who were wearing T-shirts that read "QUEERS VISIT PALESTINE, NOT THE OCCUPIERS & OPPRESSORS". Some of the protesters faces were covered with dirt, contrasting the concept of a "tourist attraction," putting themselves on display, not as shining examples of gay Israeli privilege but as wounded dirty queers, embodying the ugly side of the occupation being masked by the gay tourism initiative.
Haneen, one of the protesters said: "These conferences are trying to create an aesthetic facade that everything is rosy, when minutes from here there is poverty, exploitation, discrimination and occupation. We are against an event that bluntly deny and hide the dirt of our realities. It is our duty as queers not to overlook the oppression of others and to engage in their struggles".
"At a time when Israel still holds Gaza under siege, controls, segregates and divides the West Bank - there is no place for a 'business as usual' attitude", added Ayala Shani.
Yosef/a Mekyton said: "Portraying Tel Aviv as safe and tolerant for LGBTQ people is done also by silencing the daily violence we experience in this city and strive to oppose".