Apartheid Israel is not for LGBT Leisure Tourism!

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Toronto
Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Queer BDS activists from Israel

On October10-16, 2009, the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) isplanning to hold a tourism conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, aimed at boostinglesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) leisure tourism to Israel. Theaudience of this conference is expected to be made up mostly of travel agentswho specialize in promoting LGBT tourism. With this conference IGLTA, incooperation with an Israeli LGBT organization, the Aguda, will give itssymbolic and financial support to a state that continually occupies, oppressesand dispossess millions of Palestinians and murders and imprisons manythousands of them.

We, queeractivists and groups, call on LGBTQI people and friends around the world tojoin us in our protestagainst IGLTA's promotion of leisure tourism to apartheid Israel. Wedemand that IGLTA cancel its planned conference in Israel and cease any promotion oftourism to this country.

For some timenow, Israeli officials and organizations such as the Aguda, who are cooperatingclosely with IGLTA, have been promoting LGBT tourism to Israel through falserepresentations of visiting Tel Aviv as not taking sides, or as being on the"LGBT" side, as if LGBT lives were the only ones that mattered. It isimplied that it's okay to visit Israelas long as you "believe in peace," as if what is taking place inPalestine/Israel is merely a conflict between equals, rather than an oppressivepower relationship. Consistent with globalization's tendency to distance the"final product" from the moral implications of the manufacturingprocess, LGBT tourists are encouraged to forget about politics and just havefun in a so-called gay-friendly city.

This Zionistpropaganda disguises the reality of anti-LGBT violence. Last month's Tel Avivshooting in a gay center has reminded us that it is not as friendly as it isdepicted to be. Since that attack, numerous reports have been released on theprevalence of violence against LGBT people in Israel,including a state official report suggesting that "80% of gay teens in Israel suffersome sort of sexual orientation-related abuse" (Ynetnews.com).

Even moreimportantly, Tel-Aviv's flashy coffee shops and shopping malls, in contrastwith the nearby deprived Palestinian villages and towns, serve as evidence thatthe Israeli society, just as the Israeli state itself, has built walls,blockades and systems of racist segregations to hide from the Palestinians itoppresses. The intersection of physical and societal separations and barriershave justly earned the term apartheid, referring to an historically parallelracist regime in SouthAfrica against the indigenous Blackpopulation of that country. Leisure tourism to apartheid Israel supportsthis regime. It is not neutral, and it certainly is not a step toward realpeace, which can only be based on justice.

We encouragepeople to visit Palestineand join Palestinians in solidarity with their popular struggle. A number oforganizations are doing this, including International Solidarity Movement,Palestine Solidarity Project and International Women's Peace Service. Thisclearly is not what IGLTA is doing. Instead, by its actions, IGLTA calls on ourcommunities to turn our backs on the oppression of Palestinians, and to ignorea specifically effective Palestinian popular non-violent initiative - the BDSmovement.

On July 9th2005 171 Palestinian civil society's organizations issued a statement callingfor boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. These measures are to beapplied until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people'sinalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts ofinternational law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling theWall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens ofIsrael to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees toreturn to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194 (http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/52).

In recentmonths, especially after the murderous assault on Gaza, the BDS movement is gaining momentumworldwide. New groups are forming and many have implemented successfulnon-violent protest actions around the world. These actions inspire us for whatis to come. By supporting BDS now, we can have a significant impact on theoverall struggle for justice in Palestine.We urge LGBTQI people and friends around the world to endorse the Palestiniancall and to join this particular action of solidarity and protest.



Please emailInternational Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, calling on it to cancel itsplanned conference in Israeland any promotion of tourism to this country. You can compile your own letteror use the sample letter below.

Pleaseemail your letter to all management and staff members of IGLTA:

john@iglta.org,richard@iglta.org, deven@iglta.org, usa@iglta.org, tom@iglta.org,aaron@iglta.org, europe@iglta.org, australia@iglta.org, newzealand@iglta.org, caribbean@iglta.org,latinamerica@iglta.org, argentina@iglta.org, brazil@iglta.org,canada@iglta.org, france@iglta.org, germany@iglta.org, greece@iglta.org,israel@iglta.org, lebanon@iglta.org, mexico@iglta.org, poland@iglta.org,southafrica1@iglta.org, southafrica2@iglta.org, spain@iglta.org,sweden@iglta.org, switzerland@iglta.org, turkey@iglta.org, uk@iglta.org,usa@iglta.org

(JohnTanzella, Executive Director; Richard Brower, Strategic Development &Marketing Manager; Deven Chism, Administrative Assistant; Babs Daitch , SpecialProjects; Ann Corbitt, Event Planner; Tom Nibbio, Manager - PartnershipDevelopment; Aaron Riggins, Manager - Membership Development; Carlos Kytka,Manager - Europe; Mark Proffit, Australia / New Zealand Ambassador; AndréRojer, Latin America Ambassador; Alfredo Ferreyra, Argentina Ambassador; ClovisCasemiro, Brazil Ambassador; Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce ,Canada Ambassador; Clark Massad, France Ambassador; Edwin Brown, GermanyAmbassador; Andreas Balakakis, Greece Ambassador; Shai Doitsch, IsraelAmbassador; Bertho Makso, Lebanon Ambassador; Ron Kuijpers, Mexico Ambassador;Piotr Wojcik, Poland Ambassador; Adriaan Coetzer, South Africa; Brian Kruger,South Africa Ambassador; Juan A. Carmona Del Solar, Spain Ambassador; TobiasHolfelt, Sweden Ambassador; Spyros Petridis, Switzerland Ambassador; MustafaKartopu, Turkey Ambassador; Darren Cooper, United Kingdom Ambassador; BabsDaitch, United States of America Ambassador)
Source: http://www.iglta.org/staff.cfm



DearInternational Gay and Lesbian Travel Association management and staff members,

It wasbrought to my attention that your organization, IGLTA, is planning to hold aconference in Tel Aviv, Israel,between October 10th, 2009 and October 16th, 2009, aimedat boosting LGBT tourism to Israel.As someone who believes in protecting human rights, I
am disturbed by yourattempt to promote leisure tourism to apartheid Israel. I plead with you todistance yourselves from Israel'scrimes. Please cancel the conference, along with any other promotion activityon your behalf of tourism to Israel.

Just as Iconsider LGBT rights to be a human rights issue, the rights of Palestinians area human rights issue as well. I reject any attempt to depict Tel Aviv asseparate from Israel,the state that it is, to a large extent, sustaining. Given the continuedoccupation, colonization and oppression of the Palestinian people by Israel, it seemsto me awful and hypocritical to promote leisure tourism to its largest andrichest city in the name of LGBT human rights. In an environment of racistsegregation, as imposed on the Palestinians by the annexation wall and otherfences and blockades, leisure tourism promotion to Tel Aviv and Israel isespecially harmful and morally corrupt.

The extent ofIsrael'soppression of the Palestinians, and its long duration, require thatorganizations and businesses be wary of connecting themselves with it. In the territoriesoccupied in 1967, unarmed Palestinians, including teenagers and children, areroutinely shot and imprisoned by the Israeli army. Israeli forces routinelydestroy people's homes, confiscate their land and resources, discriminateagainst Palestinians in their access to water, and restrict their everydaymovement between Palestinian towns and villages. Millions of Palestinianrefugees and their descendants are prevented from returning to their homes andhometowns, many living in refugee camps without any compensation for theircontinued loss and suffering. In only the three weeks of its most aggressivemilitary offensive on Gaza,the Israeli army killed more than 1400 Palestinians, wounded thousands ofpeople and destroyed the houses of tens of thousands of people.

Since IGLTA,in its activities, is providing symbolic as well as financial support to Israel, I seeit as inevitable to connect IGLTA to such atrocities. Only by abstaining fromdealing with Israelcan you distance yourselves from such moral corruption and the rightfulcriticism that will come with it.



Your name
Your city and country of residence






Click here to download the 120-report which exposes the funders of Zionist backlash on campuses and in communities