Q.U.I.T.'s protest against the "Out in Israel" film festival
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.