Issue One

A call to action from Ghadir al Shafie, the co-founder of Aswat - Palestinian Feminist Center for Sexual and Gender Freedom.

ertain human rights and civil freedoms cannot be prioritized above others nor divided.

The struggle for liberation in Palestine is intersectional; it is transformative and effective and needs the full support of the global queer community.

Palestinian queers and LGBTQIA+ people are among the most discriminated minorities in the world, facing multiple levels of oppression: as Palestinians living under Israeli Aparthied, settler-colonialism, and occupation; as women and trans people in sexist, violent, and militaristic societies; and as queer people in the context of pinkwashing and homophobia.

Courtesy of Aswat.

Throughout Pride month, queer and LGBTQIA+ people around the world celebrate in pride events and marches, while Palestinian queers live in a state of horror. Aparthied Israel is creating fear and chaos among Palestinians by applying excessive force through the use of lethal weapons like tear gas bombs, stun grenades, and rubber coated bullets against Palestinians in peaceful marches. Militarized forces use disproportionate measures while conducting random brutal arrests of young Palestinians, including children. Most shamefully, Aparthied Israel’s militarized police are unleashing armed far-right Israeli mobs who roam Palestinian localities and cities like Jerusalem, Acre, Haifa, Lod, and Yaffa, chanting “Death to the Arabs'' while attacking Palestinians, their homes, and their property. Even Palestinians in present-day Israel do not feel safe in their homes or the streets.

What are Palestinians protesting? Israel’s indiscriminate shelling of civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip, settler violence, and the gradual ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem and elsewhere across Historic Palestine. The Palestinian Nakba continues, and the collective trauma becomes personal.

But the struggle we are witnessing today revives Palestine, it makes the historic present, and it defies Israel’s 73-year long system of oppression that aims to divide and fragment our efforts for liberation. Today, we stand courageously in our resistance: spreading from the villages and cities of ‘48 to East Jerusalem to besieged Gaza to the West-Bank to the refugees and the diaspora. We stand against Israel’s machine of oppression and its sponsors, and pledge that as long as oppression continues, our popular resistance will continue and spread further, all over Historic Palestine. Why? Because it is brutal to live under a racist colonial system that does not regard you as human enough.

The courage the whole world is witnessing among Palestinians all over Historic Palestine is inspiring courageous solidarity worldwide.

Sisters, brothers, and siblings, today we struggle for queer rights as part of our political, social, and human rights. Our struggle for queer rights is also intersectionally connected to worldwide struggles for Indigenous rights, women’s rights, the rights of people of color, Black Lives Matter, and climate justice. We call on queer and LGBTQIA+ groups, activists, and artists to support Palestinians by—at the very least—boycotting Israel’s pinkwashing events, such as Tel Aviv Pride events, Tel Aviv Film Festival, or any similar activity that aims to pinkwash, artwash, or whitewash Israel’s crimes.

As in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, we ask for your solidarity, and the most effective form of solidarity with our liberation struggle is refusing to cover up, pinkwash, or normalize our oppressors and the institutions and activities that are part and parcel of its system of occupation, settler-colonialism, and apartheid.

The courage the whole world is witnessing among Palestinians all over Historic Palestine is inspiring courageous solidarity worldwide. Palestinians, including those of us who are queer, demand the full menu of rights. We are calling on you to stand in solidarity with us and work, separately and collectively, to end Israel’s oppression of all Palestinians—queer Palestinians included.