A group of American LGBT activists denounced in a public letter on Wednesday an anti-Israel protest that forcibly took over a reception at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change conference in Chicago over last weekend.
The letter, which garnered 90 signatures from Jews and non-Jews alike, sharply condemned the actions of the anti-Israel demonstrators, who disrupted a reception by A Wider Bridge, a group that creates ties between LGBT Jews in Israel and North America.
"We are united in our belief that what transpired at [the conference] was dangerous, deeply disturbing, and given the use of epithets like ‘k—,’ clearly anti-Semitic,” the letter stated.
The signatories demanded the National LGBTQ Task Force use an “outside, independent party” investigate the incident to determine how it happened and what could be done to ensure that it will not happen again.”
They asserted the Task Force needed to adopt an "active pluralism" policy so protestors could no longer "effectively censor the speech of other groups, much less threaten the physical well-being and safety of those with whom they do not agree, including Jewish and Israeli LGBTQ groups."
It is "intellectually, politically and morally dishonest to claim that in the name of freedom, liberation, or some other progressive ideal, there is a right to target and exclude Jewish/Israeli groups, to foment physical intimidation and harassment, and to encourage anti-Semitism."
Prior to the release of the letter, the Task Force's executive director, Rea Carey, issued a statement condemning anti-Semitism.
She promised to review the incident and makes changes in areas such as "inclusiveness and program content review; safety and security; and promoting conversation and peaceful protest."