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LGBT Activist: Progressives Must Oppose BDS Censorship, Support Tel Aviv Film Festival

A leading activist in Florida denounced the campaign to boycott an international LGBTQ film festival that took place in Tel Aviv last week, calling on the “LGBTQ and progressive ally communities” to take a stand “against censoring, and against anti-semitism,” in an op-ed published Saturday in The Miami Herald.

James Moon, a board member of both the LGBTQ group A Wider Bridge and South Florida’s Outshine Film Festival, and said that he felt at home during his first visit to Israel and sees no difference between the American and Israeli LGBTQ communities.

While his trip centered around TLVFest, which was held June 1, he also toured across Israel and the West Bank, meeting with political, artistic and advocacy leaders.

However, he said that proponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign who denounced TLVFest as “pinkwashing” cast an “ugly pall” over the event.  The term means “that any person or organization that promotes or even acknowledges the progress of LGBTQ rights in Israel is really a mouthpiece for Israeli propaganda,” Moon wrote. He dismissed the characterization as a “slanderous allegation.”

“BDS and those that hate Israel are playing a zero-sum game where any achievement by Israel or any community or person in or from Israel cannot be tolerated or recognized,” he explained. A recent example of this was the banning of the film Wonder Woman in Lebanon because it starred Israeli actress Gal Gadot.

It is “morally unacceptable” to block international LGBTQ-themed films from Israeli audiences because “you cannot advocate for LGBTQ rights” without supporting Israeli LGBTQ rights, Moon wrote. “And you cannot advocate for progressive values — and not stand against bald bigotry when confronted with it.”

Moon concluded by asking the LGBTQ community to support TLVFest because, “if you do not stand now, your festival may be the next target of the BDS movement.”

There is currently a crowdfunding campaign to raise $10,000 in support of TLVFest.

[Photo: A  Wider Bridge / YouTube ]