A short fragment of video, fifty seven seconds long, taken from behind a window in a building in the Gaza Strip which was aired last night on Al Jazeera television brought home (once again) the sheer horror of the Israeli Defence Forces’ (IDF) brutal, ongoing offensive against the people of Palestine with devastating clarity.
On April 3rd, 2002, Israeli peace organizations led by women activists tried to enter Palestine, but were violently rebuffed by Israeli soldiers – 21 required hospitalization when it was all over. The picture shows seven members (six women and one man) of the organization Kveesa Shchora – Lesbians and Gay Men Against the Occupation – as they set out that morning.
It was through Amalia Ziv ‘s work that I came to know about ‘Kvisa Shchora’ (Black Laundry), an Israeli anti-Occupation queer group, which positions itself against both Israeli Zionist queer politics and the Israeli Left, against whose universalist understanding Black Laundry poses its queer identity as a platform for critique. Ziv suggests that Black Laundry tied together ‘sexual deviance’ and ‘national deviance’ with slogans like ‘Free Condoms, Free Palestine’, ‘Bull Dykes, Not Missile Strikes’, ‘Transgender not Transfer’ (that is, forced deportation of Palestinians) – which break down the hierarchies of Nation and Sex, challenging queer politics in Israel with anti-occupation politics and Left anti-occupation politics with the queer gaze. Ziv argues that through the ‘twin strategies of national betrayal and sexual depravity’, Black Laundry deliberately situated itself outside both discursive communities – that of Israel/Palestine as well as of hetero/homosexual.
Read this wonderful interview by TSAFI SAAR with Amalia Ziv in which she talks about queer parenting, pornography, masochistic fantasies, her envy of people who have the capacity to be polyamorous, how tolerance in Israel for queer politics ‘runs out when queer politics melds with politics against the occupation,’ and about her crush as an adolescent for Woody Allen. ‘Eros is blind’, she says unrepentantly. Continue reading Interview with Amalia Ziv – queer, feminist and anti-occupation in Israel