QUIT!
Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism

LGBT Film Festival: No Pride In Apartheid!

The San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival bills itself as  the largest queer cultural event in the world.  For years, the Israeli Consulate has been a financial sponsor and copresenter of the festival .  In 2007, QUIT! launched a campaign to get Frameline, the festival's producer, to sever the relationship and to respect the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli cultural institutions.  We did not ask them not to show Israeli films or bring Israeli directors to speak, but only to stop partnering directly with the Israeli government.

In 2008 and 2009, the Consulate was not a sponsor of the film festival, and it seemed that we had been heard.  But in 2010, with new leadership at Frameline and the Israeli government in the throes of its "Brand Israel" campaign, which includes a specific focus on forging ties with international LGBT communities, the relationship was renewed.  In 2010 and 2011, QUIT! organized demonstrations outside the Castro Theater during the festival, which drew crowds of hundreds.  Frameline was upset by the demonstrations, but instead of meeting the legitimate demand of queer activists to take a stand for all human rights, Frameline leadership strengthened its ties to the Israeli government and worked closely with them to neutralize and discredit the protests.

In 2011, Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Al Qaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society and Aswat-Palestinian Gay Women joined the call for Frameline to end its relationship with the consulate.  Frameline ignored them.   

In 2012, 20 activists from QUIT!, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Decolonize Oakland and Occupride interrupted Frameline executive director KC Price as he introduced the director of "The Invisible Men," an Israeli film about Palestinian gay men fleeing intolerance in their own communities to live underground in Tel Aviv.

While we do not deny that there is homophobia in Palestinian society, as in nearly every society on earth, we know that the occupation is the biggest obstacle to freedom for Palestinian queers.  When the Israeli government sponsors the showing of movies like "The Invisible Men," it does so not to liberate Palestinian queers but to promote the image of Israel as a bastion of freedom in contrast to the Arab world.  This misrepresents the experience and appropriates the voice of Palestinian queers. 

Listen to an interview with Yariv Mazor, director of "The Invisible Men."

Read documents compiled by the San Francisco LGBT Alliance of the Jewish Community Federation regarding QUIT!'s campaign and the relationship between Frameline, the Israeli government and Zionist organizations.

Learn more about Brand Israel and Pinkwashing.

Last updated July 2012