On Friday evening, dozens of people occupied public spaces in the Chicago Hilton hotel, in the city of Chicago, USA, to protest the presence of an Israel lobby group and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change conference.
Some 200 people manage to gain access to the room where a reception for the pro-Israel group A Wider Bridge was being held.
They chanted against Israeli apartheid and pinkwashing and against the US government’s policies of mass deportation of immigrants implemented by ICE.
The protestors also marched throughout the hotel’s public areas, which were full of attendees of the Creating Change conference.
According to the Eletronic Intifada, Tarab-NYC, an LGBTQ and gender nonconforming group organizing in Middle Eastern and North African communities, launched the #cancelpinkwashing campaign in response to the inclusion of A Wider Bridge.
A Wider Bridge describes itself as a “pro-Israel organization that builds bridges between Israelis and LGBTQ North Americans and allies.”
The #cancelpinkwashing campaign’s Facebook page notes that A Wider Bridge and its partners aim to “normalize the occupation of Palestinian land by distracting from the violent, inhumane actions of the Israeli settler state.”
Pinkwashing is a public relations strategy that deploys Israel’s supposed enlightenment toward LGBTQ issues todeflect criticism from its human rights abuses and war crimes and as a means to build up support for Israel among Western liberals and progressives.
The Chicago organization Brown People for Black Power canceled its scheduled workshop at Creating Change and Black Lives Matter Chicago’s delivered a statement in support of the protesters pro-Palestine:
“As They/We all struggle to achieve healing, safety and autonomy in our own lives, families and communities, let us commit to mobilize ourselves and honor the self-determined struggles of Palestine so as to divest from the violence of the occupation. Black & Palestinian Lives depend on it.”