Palestinian queers and BDS

by ray goodlass

The Israeli arrest of three Palestinian MPs has caused nothing more than outrage, but no action, unfortunately.

On another issue, I’ve found references to Palestinian gays and lesbians and queer political action, which is interesting and encouraging.

Previously I had read that homosexuality was illrgal in Palestine and socially taboo. Well, that may have been true, and in some areas probably still is, but I’m pleased to report that such doom-saying is very ill-informed.

True, whilst I was in Palestine the only referernce I found was to a lesbian ‘endurance artist’, but as that was in ‘This Week in Palestine’, a glossy backed by commercial interests, I figured that the issue couldn’tg be all that taboo if the ‘pink dollar  (shekel?) has an interest.

So I was pleased to find out when doing my current Palestinian reading, ‘The Case cfor Sanctions Aginst Israel’ edited by Audrea  Lim, published by Verso’ a chapter about the role Palestinian queers are playing in the Boycott, Divedstment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, including references to the ‘al-Qaws for Sexual Divedrsity in Palestinian Society’ movement, known as ‘a-Qaws for short . It is in fact quite active, and takes exception to the way Israeli gays and their right wing government have used LGBTI issues as a way to promote their so-called progressive and westernised culture  at the expense of what they claim to be the backward Palestinian culture. This was a breath of fresh air that I must investigate further.