Gays bow to anti-Israel pressure

By Jessica Elgot, August 4, 2011

British campaigners have criticised the cancellation of a major gay and lesbian conference in Israel, after pressure from Palestinian gay groups.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation [IGYLO ] was attacked by two Israel-based Palestinian gay groups, Al Qaws and Aswat, for choosing to host its general assembly in Tel Aviv. Lobbying intensified in the wake of Israel's controversial new boycott law, forcing Israel Gay Youth to withdraw its bid to host the conference.

Avner Dafni, executive director of IGYLO, said: "It's disappointing to be targeted by groups whose sole existence is based on living in Israel."

Rabbi David Mitchell, a gay rights advocate, said: "I hope that gay and lesbian youth in Israel are not left feeling isolated." The Zionist Federation's Gary Sakol said: "The lesbian and gay community should be celebrating the freedom of choice people have in Israel, rather than moving the conference away due to pressure from small groups."

Last updated: 1:26pm, August 4 2011