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Pro-LGBTQ Arab firm wins Israeli support against boycott

Dozens of Israeli diplomats around the world purchased 600 hundred pounds of tahini to support the company Al-Arz against a boycott led by conservative anti-LGBTQ+ Muslims.

Al-Arz tahini

Julia Zaher, the Arab-Israeli philanthropist and company CEO, became a target of conservative Muslim clerics after she gave a significant donation to the Israeli LGBTQ group Aguda for an Arabic-language hotline for LGBTQ youth.

A boycott quickly went viral with shopkeepers posting videos in which they denounced LGBTQ rights and destroyed boxes of tahini.

Local gay activist Khader Abu Saif said the backlash to the protest shows that more people are coming to accept Arab LGBT people:

“It shows you that we are experiencing some change and starting to gain some power. People have begun to understand that in every extended Arab family in the country there is at least one person who is LGBT.”

Awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ+ Arabs is “an explosive issue in Arab society in general and Muslim society in particular,”  Equal Eyes noted.

(From Hebrew-language Walla via UNAIDS’ Equal Eyes news briefs)


Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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