No Apology and Measured Responsibility Veiled in Excuses
Following a vicious protest that led to the shut down of a Jewish Shabbat and reception event at Creating Change Conference 2016, Rea Carey of National LGBTQ Task Force issued a statement which is headed “National LGBTQ Task Force Condemns Anti-Semitism“. But that is not really what her statement says given the veils and context. Why did she NOT condemn the vicious protest and apologize for he failure to secure the space as safe!
Instead her statement is a mish-mash of zero apology and a myriad of ineffectual excuses, hiding behind verbiage which, by virtue of its context, halfheartedly condemns Anti-Semitism. The below statement by Rea Carey of National LGBTQ Task Force leaves a lot of questions and much to be desired.
Rea Carey should be reminded that the Jewish LGBTQ community, in effect, experienced an assault and such was in effect delivered courtesy The Task Force. Task Force provided the platform and were well aware that a protest would be a security issue.
By all accounts – very little was done to prepare for what occurred and very little was done to handle it when it did occur. In fact Task Force, seems to allude to the fact that the Hilton Hotel staff calling police was wrong and so they want to be clear they did not call police. They should have called the police because people were placed in great physical danger. By not calling police and making an issue of it, they are pandering to fear of police, probably justified on some level, but then at the same time they are balancing the lives and safety of Jewish attendees, and who are THEY to make that call? That fear of arrests should serve to endanger those being assaulted?
Example of such physical danger can be seen from the video and stories that are now coming out. One such story involved an older Jewish man who was attacked from behind by a protester. The man, wearing a yamulkah, was trying to get through the crowd to the event. A person standing behind him threw a Palestinian flag over his face from behind, seemingly to smother him. The Jewish man, clearly shocked by the physicality of the attack from behind, in truth an assault, grabbed the flag off his own face, at which point people in the crowd assumed he had grabbed the flag away from the protester, not realizing it was the Jewish man who had been attacked by being smothered with the flag. The people around started screaming “SHAME SHAME SHAME” while pointing their fingers in the face of the Jewish man. (Watch Video – watch beginning carefully you will see man standing and then Fald draped over his face from behind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFGVR5-bnYk)
Here is what is wrong with the Task Force statement: That which I have changed to RED should NOT be in the statement at all and that in BLUE requires much more of an explanation! That simple!!!
And maybe Rea Carey should be reminded that no one attacked or protested or used anti-Muslim hate language. This was all anti- Jewish hate language. There is not a single video showing a Jew screaming profanity, insults at the protesters. So why allude to hate speech against Muslims. The Muslim faith was not attacked at all and is not an issue here. The inclusion of “Muslim people” is redundant in this context and indicative of a discomfort to protect Jews. And then why not include Christians then too and other religions? This form of defensiveness serves only to water this reprehensible conduct down to the point of invalidation!
Also perhaps someone should inform Rea Carey that in Jewish tradition there is often a reception or ‘Oneg’ after a service and so to try and separate the religious event from the reception is of zero consequence and does not make this any less offensive.
National LGBTQ Task Force Condemns Anti-SemitismLaunches review of Creating Change Conference
Chicago, IL, January 25, 2016 — The following statement is being released by Rea Carey, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director, at the close of this year’s Creating Change Conference in Chicago, Illinois.
I want to make this crystal clear: the National LGBTQ Task Force wholeheartedly condemns anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic statements made at any Task Force event including our Creating Change Conference. It is unacceptable. Hate speech of any kind is unacceptable whether it’s directed at Jewish or Muslim people. Let me also be clear regarding a reception planned and hosted by the group A Wider Bridge with guests from Jerusalem Open House that happened after the annual Shabbat service and a protest of that reception. We are deeply concerned about how the events of the evening unfolded — and have already initiated a review of our conference practices.
“The last couple of weeks leading-up to Creating Change have been rough. The events leading up to and during it have been extremely hurtful to many — and for really different reasons. What we all are experiencing is complicated and messy. We know that many people at Creating Change share our belief in the self-determination of all people. And for many we have failed to live up to the ideals of our mission or values. We are leaning into the struggle. As Creating Change has grown to over 4,000 people, we are experiencing some of what happens when we ask people to be their full selves, to bring their whole selves to Creating Change… and those whole selves come into conflict.
“There have been many protests over the 28 years of the conference — and peaceful protest has been a hallmark of the pursuit of civil rights in our country. Receptions have never been protested at Creating Change in all its history. We acted to defuse the situation to the best of our ability. Without consulting us, hotel security called the police.
“This year’s conference revealed a variety of needed improvements to the systems and infrastructure we have built over the years for a smaller conference — that now need to be evolved to meet the challenges of a growing attendance. In light of all that has happened, I have already started a review of the Conference so we can make needed changes in the future. Among them are: inclusiveness and program content review; safety and security; and promoting conversation and peaceful protest.
“We know we have much to learn and many to learn from. As we work hard to improve the Creating Change Conference experience over the next year, we will include in that review process consulting widely with leaders in different communities, supporters and stakeholders.
“The Creating Change Conference, for the past 28 years, has been both a family reunion, a home for activists, a movement town hall and a place for movement building, for wrestling with the hard issues, and to energize activists to press on. It has always been a special place and will continue to be as it evolves and grows. If not the Task Force, who? If not Creating Change, where?”
What our Jewish LGBTQ community needs, at this early stage, since the conclusion of Creating Change 16, is an unconditional apology and a stand alone statement, declaring that National LGBTQ Task Force condemns Anti-Semitism, while also stating vehemently that the protest and hate speech emanating from such against the LGBTQ Jews was unacceptable.
Thereafter we need a full report to include full disclosure of all communications before the initial cancellation, what led to its reinstatement, details about the so called “mistake” Rea Carey referred to in her statement reinstating the event, and a full account of security, measures prior to and during the event. Only thereafter will Creating Change be in a position to review its policy for changes. Yes TRUTH and RECONCILIATION deciphered, means TRUTH first and the latter requires full transparent disclosure.
READ MORE: To read the articles which outline events leading up to this statement above: