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January 19, 2016 3:17 pm

American LGBTQ Organization Reverses Cancellation of Event With Israeli Counterparts

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Tel Aviv's LGBT pride parade in 2013. The LGBTQ Task Force  reversed its cancellation of a Shabbat reception with leaders from an Israeli LGBTQ organization. Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv’s LGBT pride parade in 2013. The LGBTQ Task Force reversed its cancellation of a Shabbat reception with leaders from an Israeli LGBTQ organization. Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv.

JNS.org – The US-based National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Task Force on Tuesday reversed its cancellation of a Shabbat reception with leaders from an Israeli LGBTQ organization, Jerusalem’s Open House for Pride and Tolerance. The initial nixing of the event came after pressure to do so from anti-Israel activists.

The reception is scheduled for a Jan. 20-22 national event in Chicago dubbed the “Creating Change” conference.

“We are very pleased that the Task Force has reversed course and taken responsibility for their deeply misguided decision to cancel this reception,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said Tuesday. “We were surprised and disappointed with the initial choice to cancel an event that had been designed to celebrate and embrace ties with Israel’s diverse LGBTQ community. That initial decision was unworthy of an organization committed to justice and equality.”

Before the reversal of the decision, Arthur Slepian — executive director of A Wider Bridge, the Jewish LGBTQ group sponsoring the reception — had said, “We are saddened by what appears to be capitulation to the intimidation of a small number of anti-Israel extremists who want to shut down the voices of those who don’t adhere to their rigid and exclusive party line. As LGBTQ people, we are all too familiar with being oppressed through shaming, the closet, and imposed silence, and we see great danger in allowing this kind of censorship and blatant double standard to become the norm in our community.”

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