[News] A Wider Bridge: the "gay rights" group funded by homophobes

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Feb 25 10:25:51 EST 2019


https://electronicintifada.net/content/wider-bridge-gay-rights-group-funded-homophobes/26726 



  A Wider Bridge: the "gay rights" group funded by homophobes

Stephanie Skora <https://electronicintifada.net/people/stephanie-skora> 
- 25 February 2019

------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you’ve encountered LGBTQ Jewish life in the United States, odds are 
you’ve heard of A Wider Bridge. The LGBTQ-specific Israel advocacy 
organization, whose mission in its own words is “Equality IN Israel and 
Equality FOR Israel,” has tried hard to portray itself as progressive 
and to create a pro-Israel bent in LGBTQ life in the United States.

The organization has repeatedly drawn accusations of pinkwashing 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/pinkwashing> – the attempt to use 
the supposedly positive record of the Israeli state on LGBTQ rights to 
cover up the state’s brutal oppression and ethnic cleansing of 
Palestinians – to which it responds by declaring 
<https://awiderbridge.org/our-work/trainings/the-myths-of-pinkwashing/> 
that pinkwashing is a myth.

A Wider Bridge insists that accusations of pinkwashing are nothing more 
than an attempt to silence progressive, LGBTQ Jews and other Zionists 
who support the Israeli state, and it often leans hard on its carefully 
cultivated progressive image to give its pushback credibility. A closer 
look at the organization’s internal politics and institutional funding 
sources, however, paints a much different picture.


    A funding problem

A Wider Bridge receives funding directly from organizations with a long 
and troubling pattern of giving to groups that could be classified as 
right-wing, anti-gay, anti-Muslim, pro-settlement; campus-specific 
organizations dedicated to those causes; or agents and politicians in 
the Republican Party. All eight of their publicly available 
institutional funders 
<https://awiderbridge.org/our-institutional-funders/> have repeatedly 
given to organizations that fit these categories.

Of particular note among that group are the Paul E. Singer Foundation; 
the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund of San Francisco, The 
Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties (otherwise known as the JCF); and 
the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

The Singer Foundation is the personal giving vehicle of Republican 
mega-donor, billionaire and vulture capitalist Paul Singer. Singer, who 
made a large portion of his money buying distressed debt from developing 
nations such as Peru, Argentina and Congo, donates extensively to 
Republican interests 
<https://littlesis.org/person/52680-Paul_E_Singer/political>, and an 
examination of his individual political giving and tax Form 990s from 
his foundation revealed donations to the anti-gay 
<https://www.glaad.org/blog/heritage-foundation-intensely-anti-lgbtq-white-house-pipeline> 
Heritage Foundation, the Canary Mission-linked 
<https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/revealed-canary-mission-blacklist-is-secretly-bankrolled-by-major-jewish-federation-1.6528545> 
Central Fund of Israel, and a $1 million donation to the Inaugural 
Committee for Donald Trump.

Likewise, an examination of the Schustermans’ taxes shows similar 
donations to the Central Fund of Israel, extensive support for 
right-wing, pro-Israel campus organizations, many of which were featured 
in the censored Al Jazeera documentary /The Lobby – USA/ 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/watch-film-israel-lobby-didnt-want-you-see/25876>.

This author has already published a report 
<https://medium.com/@stephanieskora/the-jewish-federation-of-san-francisco-funds-far-right-and-anti-muslim-groups-and-i-can-prove-it-dc030484266c> 
on the JCF’s giving to right-wing groups.


    Money talks

A Wider Bridge’s extensive history of right-wing political actions fits 
more clearly into its organizational story in light of its institutional 
funding. The organization frequently creates backlash and smear 
campaigns that are similar to other right-wing groups funded by their 
common institutional donors.

It notably cosponsored multiple pinkwashing events with the pro-Israel 
and anti-gay organization StandWithUs 
<https://mondoweiss.net/2012/03/northwest-pinkwashing-events-cancelled-standwithuss-record-of-queer-exploitation-exposed/>, 
a series of which became the subject of a 2015 documentary 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/battle-seattle-outing-truth-behind-israels-gay-friendly-spin/14839> 
by scholar and activist Dean Spade, called /Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle 
Fights Back/ <https://pinkwashingexposed.net/>.

It was behind the largely 
<https://medium.com/@cancelpinkwashing/post-creating-change-a-response-from-cancelpinkwashing-6f9b5adb822b> 
fabricated backlash 
<https://www.out.com/2016/1/27/op-ed-creating-change-protest-was-pure-anti-semitism> 
in the wake of the 2016 Creating Change conference in Chicago.

A Wider Bridge created the controversy 
<https://awiderbridge.org/press-release-lgbtq-jews-dismissed-from-chicago-dyke-march/> 
around the 2017 Chicago Dyke March, during which a then-current employee 
of A Wider Bridge, Laurel Grauer, disrupted the march by harassing 
Palestinian attendees and disrupting chants about Palestine. The Chicago 
Dyke March Collective later proved 
<https://web.archive.org/web/20170628015647/https://chicagodykemarchcollective.org/2017/06/27/chicago-dyke-march-official-statement-on-2017-march-and-solidarity-with-palestine/> 
that Grauer came to the event with the intent to disrupt, or cause a 
controversy.

And just weeks ago, A Wider Bridge attempted to smear 
<https://awiderbridge.org/anti-semitism-returns-to-creating-change/> a 
group of queer, trans, Muslim and Jewish activists (including myself), 
as anti-Semitic, homophobic and transphobic after we disrupted the 
opening plenary of the 2019 Creating Change conference in Detroit to 
call attention to the censorship of programming 
<https://electronicintifada.net/cancelpinkwashing.org> related to Palestine.

This is the true essence of pinkwashing: using an LGBTQ-friendly or 
intra-community LGBTQ image to paper over right-wing politics and create 
a progressive image. To those who have been paying attention to A Wider 
Bridge’s actions since their founding in 2012, the news of their 
right-wing political leanings will come as little surprise. However, for 
those to whom this is news, I’ve written an educational resource about A 
Wider Bridge’s funding sources and an analysis of the political 
priorities of their institutional funders.

“Pride With Prejudice: Exposing A Wider Bridge’s Right-Wing Funding 
<https://bit.ly/PrideWithPrejudice>” is a 36-page report that goes into 
detail on the nonprofit’s institutional funders; each of their 
respective histories of right-wing giving; provides an expanded 
definition of pinkwashing; and a method of analysis for a nonprofit’s 
political leanings. The report is intended as an exposé and a call to 
action; an organization with links to anti-gay, anti-Muslim and 
Republican groups has no place representing LGBTQ Jewry, and no place 
calling itself “progressive.”

Anti-pinkwashing organizers, or simply those who feel duped by A Wider 
Bridge’s marketing, now have the tools to fight back.

/Stephanie Skora <https://electronicintifada.net/stephanieskora.com> is 
an organizer, writer, Ashkenazi Jewish trans woman and dyke who 
organizes for Palestinian, Jewish, queer and trans justice and liberation./


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