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Queens Chronicle

It’s about free speech

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

In your June 6 editorial (“An attack on Israel, here in Queens”), you wrote, “We were disappointed to see our friends at the Queens Pride House in Jackson Heights helping to promote the insidious movement to boycott, divest from and impose sanctions upon Israel.”

In fact, Queens Pride House has not taken a position on either BDS or on Israel/Palestine more generally. Your editorial mischaracterizes our June 4 forum as “a one-sided event” attacking Israel. Raising questions about a government’s policy is not “attacking a country”; if it were, Chronicle editorials criticizing Bush administration policy would constitute an attack on the United States.

If you would like to know what happens when voices are silenced and views suppressed, you need only look at the debacle that the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan brought on itself when, in March 2011, it banned the Siege Busters Working Group, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, and all discussion of Israel/Palestine, ultimately lifting the ban in February 2013 after an enormous uproar in the city’s LGBT community. Even LGBT supporters of Israel denounced the Center’s ban on Sarah Schulman as an outrageous suppression of free speech.

In contrast, Queens Pride House is committed to providing a safe space for all members of the community as well as public forums for the discussion of issues of importance to our community and our borough — including controversial issues such as this one.

Pauline Park
President of the Board of Directors, Acting Executive Director
Queens Pride House
Jackson Heights

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