One of the most bizarre groups in California’s political galaxy goes by the name of Q.U.I.T. — Queers Undermining Israeli Terror — also known sometimes simply as Queers for Palestine.

QUIT tags along and makes regular appearances at the various omnibus anti-war and anti-Israel rallies around the Bay Area; they almost never organize protests on their own. But yesterday, April 8, was one of those rare days in which there was a protest organized by and exclusively attended by QUIT.

The focus of their anger this time around was the “Out in Israel” film festival at San Francisco’s Roxie Theater, which is “a special showcase of new, recent and classic films from Israel exploring lesbian and gay life, imagery and stories.” The film festival is itself part of the larger overall Out in Israel LGBT Culture Festival, which celebrates all things gay in Israel.

Now, one would think that there would be nothing controversial in the slightest about a pro-gay festival in San Francisco. So I was mystified as to what exactly QUIT — itself purportedly a gay rights group — could possibly find so offensive about a pro-gay-rights festival as to merit a full-blown street protest. Out of curiosity, I decided to check it out, and to sincerely try to comprehend and present to the public their point of view.

QUIT did not go unopposed. Local pro-Israel groups San Francisco Voice for Israel (SFV4I) and Stand With Us got wind of the QUIT protest and quickly put together a counter-protest to bring a dose of sanity to the proceedings.


Here’s an overall shot of the protest, showing QUIT’s pink banner on the right, and a crowd in front of the Roxie Theater on the left. (Apologies for the extremely poor quality of these protest photos — they were taken by someone with a low-resolution cell-phone camera.)


“No Pride in Apartheid; Boycott/Divest From Israel” reads QUIT’s banner.

Now, I’ve written about QUIT before, pointing out their suicidal cognitive dissonance in supporting a society (Palestine) in which homosexuality is absolutely forbidden, generally under penalty of death. What I wrote back then (nearly five years ago) remains true; this paragraph bears repeating:

“In fact, the cognitive dissonance of Queers for Palestine — marching in support of those who would kill you if they were given the opportunity — only serves to illuminate the cognitive dissonance of the entire “anti-war movement.” Because the goal of the “War on Terror” is to protect the liberal, free, egalitarian democratic society that we all cherish from the forces of oppression, totalitarianism and religious fundamentalism. Yet the anti-war crowd strives to compel the very soldiers who are defending them to lay down their arms, as if the battle would suddenly cease if one army were to stop fighting. So the anti-war crowd must ignore the evidence that one side is fighting to impose the harshest form of religious conservatism not just on their own countries but on the entire world given half a chance, whereas the other side (our side) is fighting to preserve a progressive civilization. That’s right, folks — this war’s for you.”

The same principle applies to the Israel/Palestine conflict, which is a microcosm of the wider Islam-vs.-the-West “Clash of Civilizations.”


The narrow sidewalk in front of the Roxie was completely blocked with QUIT protesters and SFV4I counter-protesters.


I checked QUIT’s Web site to see if they had anything about this event, but the site is updated so infrequently I found no mention of it. Even so, at the protest itself I was lucky enough to nab a copy of QUIT’s manifesto explaining their rationale behind the protest. Click on the image above or here to view a larger, more readable version.

Our vocabulary word for the day is “pinkwashing,” QUIT’s clever twist on the notion of “greenwashing,” which itself is of course a twist on “whitewashing.” “Greenwashing” describes the PR campaigns of corporations which try to cover up their environment-unfriendly policies with a veneer of supposedly “green” initiatives. “Pinkwashing” apparently means to use the PR-boosting power of being gay-friendly to cover up one’s other flaws. (Unfortunately for QUIT, the term “pinkwashing” has already been reserved by breast-cancer awareness groups to refer to companies that abuse the “pink ribbon” cancer awareness logo to boost sales.)

QUIT is accusing Israel of “pinkwashing” its treatment of Palestinians by promoting how gay-friendly the nation is while sweeping under the rug its “apartheid policies” toward Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. I invite you to read QUIT’s manifesto above and try to wrap your mind around their point of view — which may not be an easy task. Note how QUIT in no way disputes the fact that Israel is queer-friendly; nor do they dispute the fact that gays in Palestine generally face immediate execution (by mob violence, government dictate, or even at the hands of their own families) if ever found out. Mostly, QUIT conveniently fails to mention what happens to gays in Palestine, but to the extent that they do mention it, they lay the blame on Israel. QUIT’s “logic” goes like this: Israel has the Palestinians trapped like rats in a cage, and it is this desperate social condition which causes Palestinian society to become so twisted that it oppresses its own people; furthermore, by closing the borders, Israel prevents gay Palestinians from fleeing the horrors of Palestine for the freedom of . . . Israel.

Dizzy yet?

Of course, my analysis is this: The members of QUIT are in a “hipper-than-thou” arms race with other far-left radicals, and realized that if they want to be at the forefront of leftist political activism, they absolutely need to be anti-Israel and pro-Palestine, as that has become a defining feature of far-left ideologies. But as a gay rights group, QUIT was confronted by the deeply unfortunate fact that gays are safe, free and happy in Israel, while being oppressed, closeted and/or dead in Palestine. Other far-left groups coped with this problematic political conundrum by studiously ignoring the whole issue, thus obviating the need to resolve it. QUIT, on the other hand, uniquely has attempted to address the issue head on. Yet in order to somehow justify being pro-Palestine while at the same time supporting gay rights, QUIT necessarily needed to engage in the most ludicrous philosophical gymnastics in order to find some way to reconcile two irreconcilable positions.

But the end result is worse than QUIT could have imagined, because when all is said and done, they are promoting a society in which gays are simply not allowed to exist, and end up championing the grotesquely oppressive Arab/Islamic social order.

If QUIT truly cared about the rights of gays in Palestine and the Middle East, they would celebrate the treatment of gays in Israel and point to it as a model for other Middle Eastern countries to emulate. Instead of fighting for Arab self-rule in Palestinian territories — which would inevitably lead to a complete extirpation of all gay rights if not all gay people — QUIT should take the position that Israel should administer the Palestinian territories, because only under Israeli rule could gay Palestinians have any chance of survival. And instead of advocating that Palestinians continue their violent confrontational stance against Israel, QUIT should absolutely insist on Palestinian non-violence, which would allow the endless Intifada to fade away, quell all terror incidents, and allow Israel to once again open the border to Palestinian day workers and immigrants — and allow gay Palestinians to escape to the freedom of Israeli society.

But no. QUIT does the exact opposite of all those things. Which makes them among the most mystifying, and in some ways, the most loathsome of all leftist protest groups.


At the rally was a pro-Israel protester waving an Israeli gay pride flag in front of a brutally direct sign which takes the notion of “gallows humor” literally: Under the words “Gaza LGBT Center” are drawings of gay Palestinians lynched by Gaza’s theocratic rulers, Hamas.


Right next door to that sign were members of QUIT displaying their narrative: “Former Palestinian Village Open for Settlement: Jews Only — Queer Friendly.”


Here’s one thing I can say in QUIT’s favor: Unlike many other Bay Area protest groups, they are non-aggressive and non-confrontational. Mostly, they just stand there holding signs without getting into interpersonal conflicts. That’s how, as in this picture, protesters from two opposing camps can stand elbow-to-elbow and yet both remain all smiles, despite having diametrically opposed political views.


One of the SFV4I protesters held a sign riffing on the possible derivation of the acronym “Q.U.I.T.”


Another (again, sorry for the blurry photos) pointed out that Israel has a Gay Pride Parade — something that would be unthinkable in most Islamic countries. I think Dan Kliman — the Oakland doctor who for years was at the forefront of the Bay Area’s pro-Israel gay rights activism and who died over a year ago under somewhat mysterious circumstances — would concur.


Right around the corner from the Roxie, just steps from the protest, I noticed this casual bit of anti-Semitic graffiti on the window of a check-cashing business — unnoticed by all the protesters and counter-protesters. Someone had written the word “Jewish” on a roll of money pointing to the word “tax,” which is apparently either a reference to the old “Jews are money-grubbing” stereotype; or is a reference to the “Jewish Tax or “Kosher Tax,” an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that has been voiced at earlier SF anti-Israel protests; or, more simply, is a way of identifying Jewish-owned businesses for the next Kristallnacht.

24 Responses to “Q.U.I.T.'s protest against the "Out in Israel" film festival”

  1. 1Zach on Apr 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm:

    Great article zombie. QUIT, like many “progressive” Palestinian supporters, often have to contort themselves beyond all rational thought to avoid demonstrating their hypocrisy.

  2. 2Rob De Witt on Apr 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm:

    Radical homosexuals who call themselves “queer” have certainly hit on the right term.

    Queer, adj: anomalous, bizarre, crazy, demented, doubtful, dubious, erratic, fishy, irrational, suspicious, touched, unbalanced, unhinged, weird.

    They’re queer, they’re here, we’re bored with it.

  3. 3ALAH on Apr 9, 2010 at 9:25 pm:

    ALah (Arab Lesbians against Hate)- yes, I’m serious
    http://arablesbiansagainsthate.blogspot.com/2010/04/wont-quit-quit-please.html
    has rejected QUIT. They must be a brand new group (or deeply deeply closeted).
    I sent them a link to your site

  4. 4AnarchoZionist on Apr 9, 2010 at 10:16 pm:

    Very cool Zombie. I didn’t think you would have bothered with such a small event, but I’m glad you were there to show your readers how whacked out Q.U.I.T. truly is.

    I got three shots of some jerk at the end of the counter-protest screaming “Intifada” at us and accusing us of being racists. If you’re interested, do contact me.

    Cheers, and thanks again for your report.

    ✡ Am Yisrael Chai! ✡

  5. 5hebro on Apr 10, 2010 at 1:33 am:

    Zombie, who ever you are your a friggin legend in the fight against liberal fascism! like “AnarchoZionist” i too was surprised you showed up to that rally Thursday night. you’ve got a great eye for catching all kinds of subtle shit everywhere like that crap on that store front. i was the one who made that “Gaza LGBT Center sign”. it’s based on one of a series of original black/white political cartoons i created that touch on all these issues such as liberal fascism, radical islam and anti-semitism. it’s good art too like you would see in marvel or DC comics ( well almost ). please let me know if you’d like to have a look at them and perhaps put them to use.

  6. 6Starless on Apr 10, 2010 at 4:33 am:

    Of course, my analysis is this: The members of QUIT are in a “hipper-than-thou” arms race with other far-left radicals, and realized that if they want to be at the forefront of leftist political activism, they absolutely need to be anti-Israel and pro-Palestine, as that has become a defining feature of far-left ideologies.

    Reading their manifesto, I get the feeling that they’re also performing quite a lot of ideological gymnastics (which includes this classic move) in order to use this issue to reinforce the gays-as-victims-always meme.

    There are plenty of reasons for people in the US to criticize Israel (which doesn’t have to involve anti-Semitism) but ginning up some sort of bizarro connection between settlements, gay rights and “Palestine” isn’t one of them. “Pinkwashing”? How about “brownwashing”? I won’t go into the details of what that involves, I’ll just let you imagine.

  7. 7Bakunin on Apr 10, 2010 at 6:02 am:

    There is an attempt to quash any due criticism of Israels treatment of the arab minorities in Israel proper and the occupied territory. The sign “Former Palestinian Village Open for Settlement: Jews Only — Queer Friendly” is a perfect example of that: it says although Palestinians have been forced off there private property though military means, and then discriminated agienst in terms of where they can live based on there ethnicity (ie “Jews Only”) that’s A-OK ’cause we are “gay friendly”!

  8. 8Josephine on Apr 10, 2010 at 10:44 am:

    Good work, Zombie!

  9. 9Rose on Apr 10, 2010 at 11:12 am:

    Amazing.

  10. 10Nestor on Apr 10, 2010 at 7:17 pm:

    Well except Bakunin, thats not whats going on. Kate and her little friends feel their emotional need to express themselves outweighs everything else, including people’s rights to watch a film, see a lecture, take a class…

    What does this have to do with criticim of Israel? Some of the films being shown are quite critical of Israel, and if Kate and QUIT had put one bit of effort into this, they would have realized that.

    No, this is about Kate’s knee jerk reaction to respond to everything “Israeli” by interjecting her own tired sorry opinion. But she’s still hurting from her attempt to bully the Berkeley Bowl into “deshelving” Israeli kosher foods. The mangers response was to set up 3 end of aisle displays of Israeli produtcs. And lets not forget her attempt to bully Trader Joes last year- that lead to a 23% increase in sales for Trader Joes and sold out shelves of Israeli products across the country

  11. 11Starless on Apr 11, 2010 at 3:25 am:

    Bakunin: There is an attempt to quash any due criticism of Israels treatment of the arab minorities in Israel proper and the occupied territory.

    By whom? At least in the US, the only people trying to “quash any due criticism” are unabashed and obviously partisan Israel boosters — precisely the type of people who would be expected to do so. But did riot police come in and quell the QUIT demonstration with water cannons and attack dogs? Was there a law passed telling US citizens that they can’t criticize Israel? Is there even a generalized and entrenched social trend in the US which makes criticizing Israel as using the “n-word”?

    Next up, you’ll be talking about how a conspiracy of Jews control Hollywood and the banking industry.

    The trouble is that despite the fact that, like any other government in the world, Israel should be open to criticism (let’s say for selling US military technology to the Chinese or the way they seem to sometimes go out of their way to piss off their Arab neighbors at the worst possible time for the US) inevitably that criticism comes from real anti-Semites and what may have started out as reasonable-sounding criticism turns out to be basic, old fashioned conspiracy-mongering Jew-bashing. There are indeed people who equate any criticism whatsoever of Israel with anti-Semitism but there are enough anti-Semite out there, particularly (and weirdly) on the Left, to give their math some credibility.

  12. 12Sima on Apr 11, 2010 at 8:45 am:

    It is amazing to me that it is so easy for some queers to ignore the violences of the state of Israel against Palestininas. When you trun a blind eye to this violence, you become complicit in the Israeli nationalist project that grabs the “hollow land” by force and at the expense of Palestinian lives. The claims to being a sanctuary for queers notwithstanding, Israel IS a terrorist state. As a queer Middle Eastern, I am appaled by the forgetful memory of the “counter-protesters” whose militant attitude at the protest spoke volumes.

    “When the Nazis came for the communists,I remained silent;I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats,I remained silent;I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists,I did not speak out;I was not a trade unionist. When they came for the Jews, I remained silent;I was not a Jew. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.” Martin Niemöller

  13. 13blangwort on Apr 11, 2010 at 10:28 am:

    I wish QUIT would take a trip to Gaza to find out first hand how well Queers are treated. One way or another it will solve the problem.

  14. 14Sharon on Apr 11, 2010 at 5:09 pm:

    Something is queer about this protest–It’s not very Gay

    It’s definitely not a thinking or wise protest. If they only knew

  15. 15hebro on Apr 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm:

    Any body out there want to see some funny ass cartoons in regards to anti-Israel bullshit and the slobbering love affair between radical islam and far leftists just go here: http://sites.google.com/site/holseydportfolio/

    i even have some stuff pertaining to gay solidarity with the palestinians like we all saw at the Roxie last Thursday night.

  16. 16Starless on Apr 12, 2010 at 4:05 am:

    Sima: The claims to being a sanctuary for queers notwithstanding

    No, not “notwithstanding” — being a “sanctuary for queers” is the whole point.

  17. 17Bakunin on Apr 12, 2010 at 7:15 pm:

    Starless:
    No, not “notwithstanding” — being a “sanctuary for queers” is the whole point.

    Bakunin: Palestinians have been forced off there private property though military means, and then discriminated agienst in terms of where they can live based on there ethnicity (ie “Jews Only”)that’s A-OK ’cause we are “gay friendly”!

  18. 18Dane on Apr 12, 2010 at 11:41 pm:

    Well, it’s kind of refreshing to see a self-identified-as-gay group that isn’t totally single issue-fixated, I guess.

    Granted, they could use some work on picking their causes. (Ideally, you don’t advocate things that unabashedly desire your death.) But it’s no worse than the other thick as a brick leftist protest groups who have thrown in their lot with the Palestinian Arabs – anyone have doubts as to how those communists from a while back holding the “down with all gods” banner would fare if they were living in Gaza?

  19. 19Starless on Apr 13, 2010 at 6:17 am:

    Bakunin: Starless:
    No, not “notwithstanding” — being a “sanctuary for queers” is the whole point.

    Bakunin: Palestinians have been forced off there private property though military means, and then discriminated agienst in terms of where they can live based on there ethnicity (ie “Jews Only”)that’s A-OK ’cause we are “gay friendly”!

    At least you’re consistent, Bakunin.

    What you don’t get, and what anti-Semites like Sima don’t want you to see, is that it’s possible to recognize that Israel’s tolerance of gays is a virtue in and of itself and acknowledging that fact is not inconsistent with criticizing Israel’s settlement policy. Instead of saying something like, “As gay people we are glad that Israel is gay-friendly but we condemn the settlements and would hope that the Israeli government would take as progressive approach to Palestinians as it does to us,” what usually comes out is histrionics like: “Israel is a terrorist state as bad as Hitler’s Nazi regime and apartheid South Africa — push them into the sea”. The latter only proves that people mouthing those words are not serious. I believe they give about as much of a damn about Palestinians as they do about anything on the cover of People magazine and their real agenda involves local politics, not the Mideast and the poor, suffering Palestinians. And you can likely take it to the bank that the Palestinian-on-the-street doesn’t benefit one whit from these protests, though the mullahs who are determined to wipe out every Jew on the face of the Earth sure do.

    Dane: But it’s no worse than the other thick as a brick leftist protest groups who have thrown in their lot with the Palestinian Arabs

    I think there’s an American ethno-political analogy here — like blacks v. hispanics. It’s one thing to see a minority go against the majority, it’s another to see one minority come out against another.

  20. 20hebro on Apr 20, 2010 at 12:23 am:

    anybody want to see more political humor like the LGBT sign just go to: http://sites.google.com/site/holseydportfolio/

  21. 21شات كتابي on Sep 27, 2010 at 11:48 am:

    military means, and then discriminated agienst in terms of where they can live based on there ethnicity (ie “Jews Only”)that’s A-OK ’cause we are “gay friendly”!

  22. 22منتديات on Jan 8, 2011 at 4:03 am:

    Re: the bare-foot guy.
    Suffice to say he’s an SF ‘character’, has been for some 20 years that I know about and AFAIK, has never harmed a soul.

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