(JTA) — Hundreds of protestors sought to disrupt a Shabbat service and reception for Jewish participants at a gay activism conference in Chicago. Chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, pinkwashing has got to go,” hundreds of protestors streamed through the Hilton Chicago on Friday night toward the service hosted by A Wider Bridge, a Jewish LGBTQ organization that seeks to build ties between gay communities in North America and Israel. Pinkwashing is the term used to described alleged efforts by Israel to cover up its treatment of Palestinians by touting its record on gay rights. The program, which featured members of Jerusalem Open House, a gay activist organization based in the Israeli capital, had earlier been cancelled by The National LGBTQ Task Force, which organizes the Creating Change conference. The organization later reversed its decision.
A statement released the next day from A Wider Bridge said, “Last night the values of free speech and respectful communication that we all value and that should be the hallmark of the Creating Change conference were replaced by a disgraceful authoritarian-like action that seeks to silence the voices of anyone the protestors feel don’t adhere to their rigid dogma.”