“This past shabbat, a shouting mob of roughly 200 people hounded a delegation of LGBTQ Israelis out of the National LGBTQ Task Force “Creating Change” conference in Chicago.
“The conference organizers had published over 10 pages worth of instructions to participants about the supreme value of making all attendees feel welcome, safe and respected. Here is a sampling of the conference guidelines:
“There are two fundamental principles to the Creating Change Conference: human rights and solidarity. . . . Harassment, violence and bigotry create feelings of fear, uneasiness, humiliation and discomfort. They are expressions of perceived power and superiority by the harasser over another person. It is all of our responsibility to ensure that each member of our LGBTQ and ally family feels welcome and affirmed. . . . Thank you for your help in ensuring that Creating Change is an environment where all participants feel safe, comfortable and celebrated as members of the Creating Change family.”
“There are detailed instructions about language usage, pronoun choice, “Bisexual/Pansexual/Fluid Etiquette,” “Transgender/Gender Nonconforming Etiquette,” instructions regarding proper behavior with respect to service dogs, use of flashing lights which might trigger seizures, and even non-use of perfumes (“becoming scent-free is an important step toward access for people with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses,” obvs.).
“Explicitly excluded — indeed, expelled — from these exquisitely safe spaces, however, was any Israeli and anyone supportive of the Jewish national project (chanting and beating on doors while bearing a sign that reads “Zionism Sucks” was somehow OK). Israelis, simply by virtue of being Israeli, were fair game for just about anything, it seems.
“This is ugly, shameless, and self-righteous bigotry of the worst sort, emanating from precisely those quarters that should know much better. Shame on everyone involved.”