Accept Brown Students' Invitation, Not Hillel's
This petition had 160 supporters
As Brown students, we are very concerned about Brown/RISD Hillel’s sponsorship of Janet Mock’s lecture at Brown. Janet Mock, a Black & Native Hawai’ian trans woman, is a prominent advocate for queer people and people of color, which stands in stark contrast with Hillel and the Israeli state’s politics in two important ways:
1. Hillel as a corporation has consistently defended and even advocated for the Israeli state’s policies of occupation and racial apartheid. Israel’s violent policies center on colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide of native Palestinians. Further, the Israeli government has been ignoring (and actively perpetuating) waves of anti-African violence in the past few years, recently including the mob shooting and lynching of an African asylum seeker and anti-African state-supported police violence.
2. Hillel’s Moral Voices campaign has chosen the topic of LGBTQ rights this year. This hides the fact that for decades, the state of Israel and Israeli advocacy organizations (like Hillel) have been engaging in pinkwashing, a strategy that tries to improve Israel’s image and rebrand it as a liberal, modern, and ‘hip’ country. By shifting the focus to a very narrow definition of LGBTQ rights (exclusively for queer Israelis and not for queer Palestinians), Israel uses pinkwashing to deflect attention from Israel’s colonization and occupation of Palestine, and the violence that is being carried out against Palestinians.
Currently, Hillel International has guidelines set in place to ensure that no speaker hosted by Hillel is allowed to rigorously critique Israel. This guideline is an incredible violation of the standards of free speech and academic freedom that is valued at Brown, and places restrictions on Janet Mock’s ability to engage with students.
We are asking that students sign this petition to remove Hillel’s sponsorship from the event. We are not asking for students to boycott the event, but simply do not want Janet Mock’s invitation to Brown to be part of Hillel’s (and Israel’s) pinkwashing campaign. We therefore ask Janet Mock to accept Brown students' sponsorship instead of Hillel's.
***We would like to emphasize that Brown is also a colonizing force in its occupation Native land, specifically that of the Narraganset and Wampanoag people. Our aim here is to address the issue of pinkwashing: we do not condone the use of queer people of color as props to hide occupation.***
More information on Israeli pinkwashing:
- NYT Op-Ed: Pinkwashing and Israel’s Use of Gays as a Messaging Tool
- Leading LGBT activists, artists and cultural workers: oppose pinkwashing and support BDS
- A documentary guide to ‘Brand Israel’ and the art of pinkwashing
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