June 18, 2019

The Progressive Assault on Israel

“It happened again last month in Detroit. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators seized the stage of the National L.G.B.T.Q. Task Force’s marquee conference, “Creating Change” and demanded a boycott of Israel. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” they chanted — the tediously malign, thinly veiled call to end Israel as a Jewish state.

They were met with sustained applause by the audience at what is the largest annual conference of L.G.B.T.Q. activists in the United States. Conference organizers did nothing to stop the disruption or disavow the demonstrators.

For Tyler Gregory, neither the behavior of the protesters nor the passivity of the organizers came as a surprise. Gregory is executive director of A Wider Bridge, a North American L.G.B.T.Q. organization that works to support Israel and its gay community. In 2016, his group hosted a reception at the Task Force’s conference in Chicago. The event was mobbed by some 200 aggressive demonstrators, and Gregory and his audience had to barricade themselves in their room while those outside were harassed.

“Whether you believe in the concept of intersectionality is beside the point,” Gregory told me recently, referring to the idea that the oppression of one group is the oppression of all others. “If this is your value system, you are not following it. As Jews we were denied our safe space. We were denied our place in a movement that fights bigotry.”

Scenes of the kind that played out at the L.G.B.T.Q. conferences — not to mention college campuses across the United States — are familiar to anyone involved in the politics of the American Jewish community. They have burst into wider consciousness in recent months, thanks to revelations that Jewish organizers of the 2017 Women’s March were deliberately sidelined, excluded and attacked by some of its founders, at least one of whom, activist Tamika Mallory, is an unapologetic admirer of Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam’s unapologetically anti-Semitic leader.”

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