After Israel controversy, trans activist Janet Mock cancels Brown U. speech

Transgender activist and author Janet Mock

Transgender activist and author Janet Mock AP

Trans activist and bestselling Redefining Realness author Janet Mock has canceled a speech about transgender rights at Brown University after some students there protested that she was going to speak at the campus’ Jewish Hillel House, which the students claim supports Israel’s policies against Palestinians, Campus Reform and The Blaze report.

Those students sent around a petition urging Mock to speak elsewhere on campus. “Hillel as a corporation has consistently defended and even advocated for the Israeli state’s policies of occupation and racial apartheid,” the petition read. “Israel’s violent policies center on colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide of native Palestinians.”

The petition said that Hillel was engaging in “pinkwashing,” which Israel’s critics call the country’s attempts to tout its LGBT openness as a distraction from its policies toward Palestinians.

The specific student group that invited Mock, called Moral Voices, says that it has no official position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Amid the controversy, Mock canceled her appearance. Her reps said: “We feel the focus of Janet’s work was lost leading up to the proposed event, and her visit was received with controversy and resistance rather than open dialogue and discussion about the issues closest to Janet’s work in movements for trans liberation, racial justice and intersectional feminism.”

Moral Voices denounced the petition against Mock’s appearance at Hillel.  “This cancellation is the result of gross mischaracterizations of Brown RISD Hillel and the intentions of the student activists on the Moral Voices Committee who worked since last spring to bring Ms. Mock to Brown,” they said in a statement.

“Both the Moral Voices Committee and Brown RISD Hillel community are comprised of people whose intersectional identities make Ms. Mock’s message personal,” the statement continued. “We were eager to hear from and raise up the voice of Ms. Mock in partnership with other campus groups and centers. Today is a very sad day for the entire Brown community and for LGBTQ+ activism — there are no victors.”

 

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