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Protesters disrupt reception with Israeli activists at LGBT conference

A Wider Bridge sponsored Creating Change event

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Creating Change, gay news, Washington Blade

Creating Change, gay news, Washington Blade

Protesters on Jan. 23, 2016, gather outside reception at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s annual Creating Change Conference in Chicago that was to have featured two LGBT rights advocates from Israel. (Photo courtesy of Andy Thayer/Gay Liberation Network)

Protesters on Friday forced the cancellation of a reception at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s annual conference that was to have featured two advocates from Israel.

Reports indicate that more than 200 people took part in the protest against A Wider Bridge, an organization seeking to bolster “LGBTQ connections with Israel” that organized the reception at the Creating Change Conference in Chicago.

A video that Andy Thayer of the Gay Liberation Network posted to his Facebook page shows protesters chanting “no justice, no peace” as they walked up a set of stairs in the Chicago Hilton

Several of the protesters held signs that read, among other things, “no pride in apartheid” to draw attention to the Israeli government’s treatment of the Palestinians. They also spoke out against efforts to promote Israel’s LGBT rights record in an attempt to deflect attention away from its controversial policies in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Windy City Times reported that the protesters gathered outside the reception. A few of them were able to enter the room in which it was taking place.

Sarah Kala-Meir and Tom Canning of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, an Israeli LGBT advocacy group, were scheduled to speak.

Kala-Meir, who is the executive director of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, told the Washington Blade that the protesters began shouting at her and Canning. She said that they left the room through a back door.

“We did not feel safe in that environment,” Kala-Meir told the Blade. “Once we were shouted at by protesters, we felt it was quickly escalating and we went out a back door.”

Arthur Slepian, executive director of A Wider Bridge, in a statement said that more than 100 people attended the reception before the protesters disrupted it.

“Part way through the reception, a handful of anti-Israel protesters entered the room and later commandeered the stage, denying the leaders of JOH (Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance) the opportunity to tell their powerful story,” he said.

Slepian said the protesters blocked others from entering the room “ and turned the LGBT Task Force’s conference and the Hilton Hotel into a fire storm of hate that felt truly unsafe and threatening to many of our participants, and especially to our Israeli guests.”

National LGBTQ Task Force Deputy Executive Director Russell Roybal told the Blade that hotel personnel called the police in response to the situation. He said that his organization does not “believe anyone was arrested.”

“We carefully monitored the situation,” said Roybal.

Roybal did not specifically comment about the protest itself.

Decision to cancel reception reversed

Dean Spade, founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and others, including members of the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity, sharply criticized the National LGBTQ Task Force for allowing A Wider Bridge to hold a reception at its annual Creating Change Conference.

The National LGBTQ Task Force earlier this month announced it had cancelled a panel that was to have included officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after “listening to concerns from our community.”

“The Task Force pays a lot of lip service to being concerned about social justice, and to understanding the ways in which oppressions intersect with one another,” said the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity in a statement it issued earlier this week. “Their actions this year have demonstrated a clear hypocrisy and betrayal of what queer liberation truly means,”

The organization also called upon the National LGBTQ Task Force to “reject Zionism” by supporting a campaign that calls for a boycott, economic divestment and sanctions against Israel over its policy towards the Palestinians.

“By siding with the forces of oppression and occupation, the Task Force is clearly on the wrong side of history,” said the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity.

The National LGBTQ Task Force initially cancelled the reception.

LGBT rights advocates and their supporters, including the Anti-Defamation League, criticized the National LGBTQ Task Force over its decision to cancel the event. The organization on Jan. 19 announced it had reversed its decision.

“We want to make it quite clear that the Creating Change Conference will always be a safe space for inclusion and dialogue for people with often widely different views,” said National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey in a statement that announced the decision. “It was not at all our intention to censor representatives of the Jerusalem Open House or A Wider Bridge at Creating Change and I apologize that our actions left people feeling silenced.”

Thayer told the Blade that the protesters were “very, very angry that an ostensibly ‘progressive’ outfit like” the National LGBTQ Task Force “would host a pro-colonial organization.”

Teenager killed during 2015 Jerusalem Pride march

The reception was to have taken place less than five months after an Orthodox Jewish man stabbed a 16-year-old girl to death and injured five others during an attack on a Jerusalem Pride march that Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance organized. The July 30, 2015, incident took place a day before two Jewish settlers allegedly killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents when they set fire to their home on the West Bank.

“We are still quite post-traumatic from the attack at Jerusalem Pride,” Kala-Meir told the Blade, referring to the protesters. “It definitely hit on a nerve.”

“I would have like a chance to speak about our work and what we do in Jerusalem, but obviously we were not welcome there,” she added.

Slepian in his statement further defended Kala-Meir and Canning.

“These remarkable LGBT leaders from Israel, who do great work in the very diverse and challenging city of Jerusalem, had spent the last six months helping their community heal and recover from the trauma of a barbaric act of anti-gay violence at last summer’s Jerusalem Pride march,” he said. “They expected to be supported and embraced by the U.S. LGBT community at Creating Change. Instead, the protestors denied their humanity and silenced their voices, and the conference tragically did little to provide for their safety and security.”

Thayer rejected the comments that Kala-Meir made after the protest.

“The victimhood at this event being claimed by the Open House representatives is also disingenuous,” Thayer told the Blade. “The event they chose to attend was hosted by ‘A Wider Bridge.’”

“A Wider Bridge is notorious for frequently partnering with the Israeli government — including its most violent, right-wing, racist elements — to promote media favorable to Israel,” he added. “In the LGBTQ context, that’s ‘pink-washing’ — using LGBTQ community as political cover for the daily violence of the Israeli state, and the theft and violence of settlers and other far-right elements.”

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81 Comments

81 Comments

  1. Nancy K. Kaufman

    January 23, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    It is truly a sad day when progressive GLBTQ activists like Tom Canning and Sara Kala-Meir are forced out of a reception where they were scheduled to speak. As leader of a recent National Council of Jewish Women’s trip to Israel where we visited the Jerusalem Open House, I must say that we, in America, have a lot to learn from our Israeli colleagues about peace, tolerance and civility. Let’s not forget that Israel is the only place in the Middle East where gays and lesbians are open and the government punishes hate crimes against them. The delegitimization of Israel by “progressives” has gone too far!

    • Shari Eshet

      January 24, 2016 at 7:31 am

      One would imagine that an LGBTQ group would not use bullying as a means to any end. Of all the people in the world to boycott! Sara and Tom are both inclusive, brave, progressive people working to make the world a better place for Israelis, Palestinians and all LGBTQ people .

    • ShadrachSmith

      January 24, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      Islam wants to stone you, and you are protesting Jews?

      That is dum :-)

  2. DenisLeBlanc

    January 23, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    While I believe the right to protest is important, as a non-American, I did not think that Freedom of Speech meant disrupting conferences and not allowing others to speak. Preventing guests in your house from speaking is extremely rude.
    I saw other reports: You failed to report on the protesters chanting: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”. This mob was advocating the destruction of Israel. They also created a hazardous situation by blocking all passage in the hotel hallway where they installed themselves, allowing no one to get through.

    • Angry Boss

      January 24, 2016 at 6:25 am

      Your thoughts are exactly on point, sir. There is no right to disrupt on private property–especially when it will create an unsafe situation such as blocking fire exits, etc. As the U.S. Supreme Court has noted, “it is not freedom of speech to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater when there is no fire”.

    • elocutionlessons

      January 24, 2016 at 11:46 am

      This is nothing different than what is going on in leftist circles all over the country. Instead of actually trying to create dialogue and listen- yell loudly and try and silence your opponent. It is no mistake that protestors were shouting, “shut it down.” Its not enough for there to be an opposing view, it must be shut down. Make no mistake, these people are no different than the Trump supporters who spit at black people and immigrants.

      • lnm3921

        January 26, 2016 at 12:15 pm

        “Leftist”? How is that tactic leftist? Donald Trump supporters are not leftist.

        Try calling a Christian conservative radio station to give a contrasting opinion about homosexuality or abortion and you won’t even be allowed to speak.

  3. scottrose

    January 23, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    This is an example of blatant antisemitism (hatred of Jews) that happens in some cases to include internalized antisemitism.

    The protesters appear to believe that Israel has no right to protect itself from the jihadists whose openly stated goal is to wipe out Israel and replace it with an Islamic theocracy.

    They also have nothing to say about what would happen to LGBTers now in Israel if jihadists achieved their goals.

    There was a two-state plan on offer from the U.N. in 1947. Middle Eastern Jews accepted the two-state plan; Arabs overwhelmingly rejected the two state plan.

    Had that two state plan been accepted by the Arabs, there would have been no wars and no refugees.

    An Arab with money may purchase private property in Israel.

    But in the P.A.-controlled West Bank, and in Gaza, the penalty for the “crime” of selling property to any Jew is death.

    These protesters are fine with that.

    They are anti-Jewish bigots, so full of hate for Israeli Jews that if to get all Israeli Jews killed, they had to see Israeli LGBTers wiped out, with no LGBT rights in the territory that was Israel, they would cheer that outcome.

    They have ZERO practical suggestions of how Israel is to defend its population against the jihadist threat. They demonize Israel for protecting itself against the jihadist threat.

    And they certainly aren’t defending the rights of people of the Baha’i faith, who have their headquarters in Israel but are not allowed to exist in Gaza, the P.A.-controlled West Bank or in any Muslim-majority country.

    • Timothy Kincaid

      January 25, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      scottrose, you say “The protesters appear to believe that Israel has no right to protect itself from the jihadists whose openly stated goal is to wipe out Israel and replace it with an Islamic theocracy.”

      That may also be the goal of these protesters. They chanted “from the river to the sea”, a phrase which means that the state of Israel should be dissolved and replaced with a palestinian state.

  4. MRMSN

    January 23, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Andy Thayer ought to be ashamed and has a history of organizing anti Semitic events including hosting Russian who made flagrant anti Semitic statements a few years ago. His agenda is suspect.
    In effect the protestors called for the destruction of Israel . Is that in line with Thayers concept of social justice?

    http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2016/01/23/lgbt-protesters-at-creating-change-call-for-the-destruction-of-israel/

  5. AMartin123

    January 24, 2016 at 12:40 am

    One group’s freedom of speech does not give them the right to deny another group’s freedom of speech. Don’t like what someone has to say? Don’t attend. Organize your own talk. Write a letter. But you don’t have the right to decide who can speak or not speak. In the U.S., freedom of speech is fundamental. Period.

  6. Ed Reggi

    January 24, 2016 at 1:08 am

    I am afraid some of this is motivated and fueled by growing antisemitism that plagues the Middle East, Europe, Russia and America. We should be angry and protest the policies of the current Israel government; however, at the same time we must listen to its’ LGBTQ citizens at our queer tables. We already do this with fierce Catholic clergy, Baptist ministers, and other world leaders working inside very oppressive systems, religions, and governments. We do this because they advocate for LGBTQ lives, working and living inside those systems as individuals. The LGBTQ Creating Change protesters have just marginalized many Queer Jews from inside their homeland Israel. Ironically, the protesters in Chicago have become just as orthodox in their views about who does and who doesn’t get invited to the queer table; that they may look more like the Ultra-Orthodox murderer of Shira Banki at last years’ Jerusalem Pride, than Shira’s own LGBTQ family and mourners, including Jerusalem Open House.

    • Daniel Brooks

      January 25, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      Oh yea, what policies of the current Israeli government should we be angre about and protest?

      • Ed Reggi

        January 25, 2016 at 12:46 pm

        Daniel whatever people want to be angry or disagree with is fair game; however, it doesn’t give the right for anyone who is in disagreement with Israeli government policies to shut down the conversation and dialogue. That was my point I was attempting to make. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

        • Daniel Brooks

          January 25, 2016 at 1:53 pm

          I got your point and I agree with it.

          As an aside, I was curious what policies from the current Israeli government make you angry?

          I personally think that’s a vapid PC throwaway line.

  7. Cliff Webb

    January 24, 2016 at 3:53 am

    Awfully Jewey article…

    • Steve 907

      January 24, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      Thanks for your anti-Semitic input, Cliff Webb.

      • Cliff Webb

        January 29, 2016 at 10:43 am

        Anytime Jew.

  8. Angry Boss

    January 24, 2016 at 6:27 am

    If a conference is about LGBT equality, why would anyone think it an appropriate forum for debate over Israeli policies which have nothing to do with the LGBT people in their country or elsewhere? The gay community needs to remember that we are a politically diverse community of people with common cause: to seek equality before the Law.

    • Penguin

      January 24, 2016 at 10:33 am

      Because the left’s base are rabid antisemites.

  9. elocutionlessons

    January 24, 2016 at 11:43 am

    At the end of the day, this is what Creating Change, and the leadership of the Task Force has created. They have repeatedly refused to stop protestors when they have interrupted events. In fact, leadership has cheered protestors on as they have interrupted scheduled speakers and events.

    When you refuse to actually control your own events, don’t be surprised when things spiral out of control. If I was a major funder of NGLTFQ, I would be asking myself if this is the kind of an organization that I want my dollars to fund.

    As to the protestors themselves, it is greatly disturbing to see videos of protestors shouting, to the sea, Palestine will be free, people being called kikes as they try to enter, and blocking jewish people from getting to an event. The video is quite disturbing.

    And regardless of how the Task Force tries to play this: it happened under their watch, and it is because they have fostered an atmosphere where whoever shouts the most is the one who is heard. That’s not how you create change.

  10. MJ, Leave My Comments Be

    January 24, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Israel is supposed to be a holy land.
    Move to the Arab countries and do this

  11. Steve 907

    January 24, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    And the word “Kike” was used by some of those disrupting the Shabbat service and reception at Creating Change. Do queer Jews deserve this sort of verbal abuse in what bills itself as a “safe space”?

    http://www.back2stonewall.com/2016/01/agtivist-shut-jerusalem-open-house-creating-change-it.html

  12. sffoghorn

    January 25, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Once Israel joins the community of law abiding nations, it will face no such resistance. But so long as Israel illegally occupies Palestine, so long as Israel remains a theocracy where members of only one ethnicity/religion can be a first class citizen, so long as Israel engages in war crimes and crimes against humanity to support all of this, then under the Nuremberg principles, we are all compelled to intervene to stop this crime spree.

    As American Jews, the burden falls upon us especially to take a stand against our tax dollars being sent to Israel to perpetrate these crimes ostensibly in our name. Never again means never again. Any questions?

    • Daniel Brooks

      January 25, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      Golly, your screed is filled with lies and superficial slogans.

      Israel has offered an end to the occupation multiple times in exchange for peace and secure borders, as per UN SC Res 242, which is the overriding international law on the matter. All offers were rejected by Arab regimes and the PLO.

      Israel is not a theocracy. A Muslim who sits on Israel’s Supreme Court just sentenced a former Israeli Jewish Prime Minister to prison for corruption.

      Any questions?

      • sffoghorn

        January 25, 2016 at 1:50 pm

        Israel has slow walked the “peace process” to the extent that it is meaningless. Israel has practically ignored Res 242 not to mention nuclear non-proliferation. Israel has established an apartheid wall that is illegal in and of itself and carries echoes of Israel’s collaboration with the apartheid South African regime as well as Honecker’s East Germany.

        This is because Israelis see Israel is being divinely gifted to “the Jewish people” simiiarly to how ISIS sees itself as being divinely ordained to establish a Caliphate and how American fundamentalist Christians see American support for Israel as their duty to hasten the second coming of Christ.

        There is no such thing as “the Jewish people.” The nonexistent community created of by and for Israel’s existence thus needs no homeland. Israel’s record of state sponsored brutality and terrorism belies any democratic claims boosters might make.

        Israel must make a choice: democracy or apartheid. Israel is currently doubling down on apartheid, thus Israel’s legitimacy is deteriorating in the eyes of the world along with its imperial patron, the US.

        • Daniel Brooks

          January 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm

          Aside from your offensive rejection of Jewish peoplehood, as well as your trite ignorant screed littered with bullshit claims of Apartheid, let’s just deal with a verifiable truth:

          Israel is in compliance with 242, which called not for a total withdrawal of occupied territories, as well as “secure and recognized borders, free from threats or acts of force.”

          The other side has ignored 242, and how.

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 12:47 am

            Your imposition of peoplehood on us all with violence towards Palestinians and vicious attacks against any of us who don’t march in lockstep with you offends more and more American Jews every day. You delegitimate Israel with your vitriol.

          • Daniel Brooks

            January 26, 2016 at 1:01 am

            No imposition; Jews were a people before Palestine had Arabs.

            Nah, overwhelming majority of American Jews believe in Israel and Jewish peoplehood.

            It’s Palestinian peoplehood that’s caused nothing but conflict; has imprisoned its own people and condemned its children to death.

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 1:16 am

            The notion of “A Jewish People” is a 19th century European Zionist construct.

          • Daniel Brooks

            January 26, 2016 at 8:06 am

            Jews are widely acknowledged as an ethnic religious group.

            Tell me, how is a Palestinian people not a complete invention?

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 10:20 am

            I think that it was the Soviet Union and Germany during WWII that indicated Jewish ethnicity on passports. Maybe South Africa did too. Israel keeps this kind of company and that is why Israel is being delegitimated in the eyes of Americans and American Jews.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 12:11 pm

            How many Jews have been expelled from Muslim countries after living there for generations? Yet that’s okay to you, right?

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 1:03 pm

            When you change the subject, you stipulate to the bankruptcy of your position. You cannot defend Israel on its own merits because Israel is simply indefensible as currently constituted.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 3:02 pm

            The subject was glbt rights in the middle east. It’s you who hijacked the subject to make it about your hatred for Jews and Israel in particular! Your just a modern day nazi spewing BS about Zionist conspiracies!

            It’s your agenda that’s indefensible and offensive!

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 10:21 am

            There was no such thing as “The Jewish People” until European Zionists invented the concept in the late 19th Century.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 12:09 pm

            As if Palestinians are not perpetrating vicious attacks themselves! Who are you trying to kid? Suicide bombing have no justification! It’s your ilk that are imposing vicious attacks for showing anything that paints Israel in a positive light! Why shouldn’t Israel retaliate against such barbarity?

            Europeans do it against Muslims then it’s fighting terrorism but when Jews doing it against Palestinians for doing the same then they are condemned! It’s a very convenient double standard!

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 1:04 pm

            People living under illegal occupation are allowed under international law to resist. Israel needs to comport with the law if it is to not be rendered completely illegitimate.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 3:07 pm

            Israel is recognized as a nation by many countries such as the U.S. so it’s not illegal occupation!

            Show us the deed to the land Palestinians have to it? The kingdom of Israel existed long before those Palestinians moved in. When Jews were forced out of Israel the “illegal” occupation came when the Palestinians moved in!

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 9:13 pm

            The legally accepted territorial bounds of Israel are recognized by most nation states. Israel’s illegally occupation of the territories are not recognized by any nation state. This is all well settled international law.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 9:20 pm

            Palestinians and most Arab nations don’t even what to acknowledge Israel and you people only advocate its destruction.

            Who are you to determine those boundaries?

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 9:32 pm

            It is not me determining these boundaries it what is the relevant international institutions as well as the preponderance of what other governments recognize.

            Israel is the illegitimate outlier on this.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 9:40 pm

            Relevant? Define relevant? Nations often disagree about what a nation and it’s boundaries are.

            Russia supports your Palestinian boundaries but the also annexed the Crimean peninsula against the wishes of Ukraine which many other nations condemn as illegitimate.

            So you think Russia is right on Palestinian territories but wrong to take Crimea? Historically Crimea was Russian.

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 9:47 pm

            There is a legal basis for the transfer of the Crimea by the Soviet Union to Ukraine as a gesture of friendship was illegitimate just as there is a legal basis that Israel is illegitimate.

            There is no difference between Russia’s reannexation of Crimea and the inevitable replacement of a theocratic state of Israel with a secular multiethnic democracy that comports with international law rather than wield thermonuclear weapons and white phosphorous against civilians.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 11:52 pm

            Israel consistently kicks ass in the region it won’t be replaced by your Hamas terrorist.

        • lnm3921

          January 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm

          What about Muslim nation apartheid against GLBT people in genera let alone imprisonment, torture and execution? GLBT can live openly in Israel could then in the Palestinian Territories without assault or murder? If you’re gay why don’t you declare it openly to all in a Muslim nation? I’d like to see how long you will last!

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 12:48 am

            We’re talking about Israel now. We can talk about other countries elsewhere.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 1:01 am

            When you defend murderers as if they were martyrs or Iinnocentssaints while reviling others as devil incarnate it is a fair assessment to evaluate actual truth and facts of what you defend.a half picture is not a full story. Hiding these facts is injustice meant to push an agenda and bank on the support of the ignorant who accept what you claim at face value! We are not all your feeble minded sheep.

            These are all facts that need to be brought forth to avoid your Half-truths and facts by omission. Your’re no better than revisionist nazis by your tactics. If you fear getting burned don’t play with fire!

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 1:07 am

            This kind of frothy vitriol, erecting strawpersons conjured in your own mind to demolish, is what delegitimates Israel. The US supports Israel, Israel claims to act in our names when it perpetrates its crime spree, and this story is about an action standing up to that. I could see why you’d want to change the subject but I will not have any of that.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 8:04 am

            Your hate for Israel blinds you to the truth of glbt under Muslim countres. You can’t negate this reality!

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 10:21 am

            You are projecting your own narrative onto me just as you are asserting that your crime spree is being perpetrated on behalf of a group that you insert me into against my will based on your criteria. Please stop that.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 12:25 pm

            How many crimes have Muslim countries perpetrated against GLBT people around the world? Sharia law for example. ISIS murders. When Palestinians embrace GLBT on the same level as Israel then we can talk about human rights. Until then you are only blowing smoke out your rear!

            I will not put a blind eye to Muslim Extremist violence against GLBT to support your Greedy Palestinians who want it all and refuse to compromise rationally for peace! This is a GLBT website so those issues matter and are not off subject! Further, the conference you people disrupted was on GLBT issue not the conflict between Palestinians and Jews so you brought it off subject!

            Hamas is a terrorist group supported by Palestinians who perpetrate violence and promote murder through suicide bombing! Barbaric and not what Americans support!

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 1:02 pm

            We are not talking about Muslim countries, we are talking about Israel. It is clear why you want to change the subject. But that is not going to happen.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 2:53 pm

            What are the Palestinian territories recognized as? A Muslim country and it is you who bring the issue up about Israel’s policies towards them!

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 9:14 pm

            There are plenty of Christian Palestinians. Your hatred and prejudice consume you.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 9:33 pm

            Now who is changing the topic? Hamas is not Christian.

            But if you want to go there the Christian bible states that the Jews will return to Israel before the 2nd coming of Jesus so Jews must be there in order for Christian prophecy to become reality. That’s why many American christians especially the fundamentalist support Israel.

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 9:44 pm

            “There are plenty of Christian Palestinians. “

            The same percentage of Palestinians are Christian as people are queer. That’s plenty.

            Your hatred and prejudice consume you.

            Presuming that Palestinians don’t exist is like claiming that lesbians and gays don’t exist and is what prejudice looks like.

            I question the legitimacy of a nation-state of, by and for “The Jewish People” where worldwide the majority of Zionists in support of that project are millennial fundamentalist Christians. I grew up for a time in Texas. Trust me on this.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 11:29 pm

            Look who is talking about consuming hatred and prejudice using words like Zionist! Hypocritical and specious arguments!

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 11:49 pm

            I use “Zionist” to distinguish those who support the political project of Israel from people who are ethnic Jews and those who are religious practitioners.

          • scottrose

            January 26, 2016 at 7:02 pm

            sffoghorn — You need to drink a long tall steaming glass of STFU.

            Middle Eastern Jews need appropriate advocates in the United States — You are behaving and talking more like Rabbi Stephan Wise who persuaded U.S. Reform Jews to keep quiet about the Holocaust as it was ongoing.

            Your wild-eyed distortions, your lack of any balance in what you say about Israel disqualify you as a commenter with whom reasonable people could discuss these matters.

            You have the commenting habits of a TROLL.

            The bottom line in this matter is that gay Israeli groups are very welcome in the United States and that when they come here they are to be accorded the same courtesies that anybody else speaking at a particular conference is given.

            This country has freedom of speech and freedom of association, and Israel is one of its strongest allies and trading partners.

            The American people overwhelmingly support Israel against jihadists and people like you.

            There will always be someplace where lunatics and bigoted jerks won’t permit people to speak but we will find good secure venues for our gay Israeli friends to come and speak with us.

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 9:10 pm

            Why might you think that ISIS, not to mention other jihadi groups, have yet to try an attack on Israel?

            Israel stands in stark violation of international law. Israel is in violation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaties using technology developed with its partner in apartheid, the former nationalist quasi fascist South African government.

            Gay civil rights can never be built on a foundation of apartheid for others. That is the same thing as claiming that since some white women in the antebellum south were well off compared to women in the north, that slavery is no big deal.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 9:29 am

            What you can have is your Palestinian suicide bombers! Americans would never empathize with such tactics! Palestinians cheered the 9/11 attacks on us!

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 10:18 am

            This kind of prejudice has no place in civilized society and it indicates how far discourse in Israel has deviated which is why Israel faces increasing delegitimation amongst Americans and American Jews.

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 10:23 am

            Israel is the nation state that is illegally occupying territory and which displaced countless residents in the years of terrorism leading up to its “declaration.” That is the crime in the first instance.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 10:42 am

            The land was israel’s for centuries before the Palestinians lived on it!

            Until Arabs stop suicide bombings they cannot whine about terrorism! You are blind to that but many are not!

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 1:04 pm

            There was no such thing as Israel until 1949, no such thing as “The Jewish People” until conjured up by European Zionists late in the 19th century.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 2:57 pm

            Really? What did kings david and Solomon rule over thousands of years before? Don’t BS us!

            Palestinians have respect for nothing! They destroyed the grave of Joseph not long ago! Even graves can’t be treated with dignity and respect by them!

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 9:14 pm

            There were no nation-states as we know them now at that time in history.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 9:27 pm

            But there is precedence for an Israel in the place it is now which included those territories you say are Palestinian. Jews were there first and what you call Palestinian today we’re not!

            Palestinians came in when Jews were forced out through diaspora. Their descendants are claiming their legacy.

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 9:33 pm

            None of that has any bearing on international law and the posture of the global community and its multilateral institutions reflects that.

            Israel is the illegitimate outlier.

          • lnm3921

            January 26, 2016 at 9:48 pm

            indeed it does because many nations don’t recognize international law. Russia doesn’t and China doesn’t in relation to Taiwan. Israel will be here long after you are gone. Get over it!

          • sffoghorn

            January 26, 2016 at 10:19 pm

            Either Israel is continually facing an existential threat or it is here to stay. If Hezbollah could kick the IDF’s ass as it did last time Israel went in to rescue its kidnapped soldiers, then it is increasingly less able to project power. Not only is Israel increasingly illegitimate amongst an American electorate that prefers to take care of our own arrears than send money out of the country, that means that future subsidy might not be a slam dunk should the political class lose upcoming elections.

    • John Giannone

      January 26, 2016 at 12:27 am

      We all know you’d never be writing these things about the Chinese in Tibet, the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, the brutalizations of Kurds. I could care less that you say you’re Jewish. You’re just another hyperfocused hater of Jews

      • sffoghorn

        January 26, 2016 at 12:50 am

        How do you all know what I’d be writing?

        Are you clairvoyant?

        The Kurds are standing up in a multi-ethnic coalition, organizing using a progressive bottom-up feminism, facing down ISIS.

        Fascinating how ISIS has not taken action against Israel.

        • John Giannone

          April 16, 2016 at 4:31 pm

          Sorry, I don’t respond to tinfoil hat lunatics

          • sffoghorn

            April 16, 2016 at 5:13 pm

            Except when you do because Israel is positioning itself to lose its legitimacy and Israel’s supporters will tolerate no criticism of Israel’s criminal project.

          • John Giannone

            April 16, 2016 at 9:02 pm

            This is supposed to be a meaningful retort. No, I don’t think so. Better luck with someone else.

          • sffoghorn

            April 17, 2016 at 12:05 pm

            WIth you and you alone liking your comment, you reflect the dwindling support for Israel’s legitiamacy.

  13. K12

    January 25, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    f—g weirdos, anyone who is associated with the anti- Israel movement should be deported to live in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

  14. Aestu

    January 25, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    GLBT is not about rights for homosexuals, it is about the elevation of bureaucracy and the free market over the human sex drive, and the capacity of already privileged individuals to further their own privilege by claiming victimhood at the expense of the legitimately disadvantaged. GLBT does a disservice to actual homosexuals by propounding the pernicious claim that love and personal lifestyle preferences derive their legitimacy from legislation. What the government gives, it can take away.

    GLBT supporters support Fakistinian terrorists more often than Israel despite the latter being hospitable to them while the latter officially seeks to exterminate all homosexuals because they share common means and ends – leveraging doublespeak, doublethink and aggressive victimology to get money and power and to antagonize legitimate and responsible social authorities. What drives these victimological hypocrises into the same boat is ultimately their mutual inability to produce anything of value – to create a better life for Arabs or address real problems in Western society.

    Those who cannot create will be inclined to destroy. Or, as Hitler put it, “the great strength of the totalitarian state is that it compels those who fear it to emulate it.” GLBT activists are too cowardly to take on real social evils and would get killed if they pulled their shtick in Hamastan, so they prefer to side with other authoritarians against the forces of freedom.

    And that is why so many GLBT thugs also support Hamas.

  15. David

    January 26, 2016 at 2:52 am

    Anybody who is Israeli or Jewish needs to worry about brownshirts attacking any event that features them. The two Jews in this case were shocked despite ample warning. Jewish groups need to develop a strategy for how to deal with brownshirt activity.

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Equality Act, contorted as a danger by anti-LGBTQ forces, is all but dead

No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise

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Despite having President Biden in the White House and Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, efforts to update federal civil rights laws to strengthen the prohibition on discrimination against LGBTQ people by passing the Equality Act are all but dead as opponents of the measure have contorted it beyond recognition.

Political willpower is lacking to find a compromise that would be acceptable to enough Republican senators to end a filibuster on the bill — a tall order in any event — nor is there the willpower to force a vote on the Equality Act as opponents stoke fears about transgender kids in sports and not even unanimity in the Democratic caucus in favor of the bill is present, stakeholders who spoke to the Blade on condition of anonymity said.

In fact, there are no imminent plans to hold a vote on the legislation even though Pride month is days away, which would be an opportune time for Congress to demonstrate solidarity with the LGBTQ community by holding a vote on the legislation.

If the Equality Act were to come up for a Senate vote in the next month, it would not have the support to pass. Continued assurances that bipartisan talks are continuing on the legislation have yielded no evidence of additional support, let alone the 10 Republicans needed to end a filibuster.

“I haven’t really heard an update either way, which is usually not good,” one Democratic insider said. “My understanding is that our side was entrenched in a no-compromise mindset and with [Sen. Joe] Manchin saying he didn’t like the bill, it doomed it this Congress. And the bullying of hundreds of trans athletes derailed our message and our arguments of why it was broadly needed.”

The only thing keeping the final nail from being hammered into the Equality Act’s coffin is the unwillingness of its supporters to admit defeat. Other stakeholders who spoke to the Blade continued to assert bipartisan talks are ongoing, strongly pushing back on any conclusion the legislation is dead.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the Equality Act is “alive and well,” citing widespread public support he said includes “the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents and a growing number of communities across the country engaging and mobilizing every day in support of the legislation.”

“They understand the urgent need to pass this bill and stand up for LGBTQ people across our country,” David added. “As we engage with elected officials, we have confidence that Congress will listen to the voices of their constituents and continue fighting for the Equality Act through the lengthy legislative process.  We will also continue our unprecedented campaign to grow the already-high public support for a popular bill that will save lives and make our country fairer and more equal for all. We will not stop until the Equality Act is passed.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), chief sponsor of the Equality Act in the Senate, also signaled through a spokesperson work continues on the legislation, refusing to give up on expectations the legislation would soon become law.

“Sen. Merkley and his staff are in active discussions with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to try to get this done,” McLennan said. “We definitely see it as a key priority that we expect to become law.”

A spokesperson Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who had promised to force a vote on the Equality Act in the Senate on the day the U.S. House approved it earlier this year, pointed to a March 25 “Dear Colleague” letter in which he identified the Equality Act as one of several bills he’d bring up for a vote.

Despite any assurances, the hold up on the bill is apparent. Although the U.S. House approved the legislation earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee hasn’t even reported out the bill yet to the floor in the aftermath of the first-ever Senate hearing on the bill in March. A Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic aide, however, disputed that inaction as evidence the Equality Act is dead in its tracks: “Bipartisan efforts on a path forward are ongoing.”

Democrats are quick to blame Republicans for inaction on the Equality Act, but with Manchin withholding his support for the legislation they can’t even count on the entirety of their caucus to vote “yes” if it came to the floor. Progressives continue to advocate an end to the filibuster to advance legislation Biden has promised as part of his agenda, but even if they were to overcome headwinds and dismantle the institution needing 60 votes to advance legislation, the Equality Act would likely not have majority support to win approval in the Senate with a 50-50 party split.

The office of Manchin, who has previously said he couldn’t support the Equality Act over concerns about public schools having to implement the transgender protections applying to sports and bathrooms, hasn’t responded to multiple requests this year from the Blade on the legislation and didn’t respond to a request to comment for this article.

Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who declined to co-sponsor the Equality Act this year after having signed onto the legislation in the previous Congress, insisted through a spokesperson talks are still happening across the aisle despite the appearances the legislation is dead.

“There continues to be bipartisan support for passing a law that protects the civil rights of Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Annie Clark, a Collins spokesperson. “The Equality Act was a starting point for negotiations, and in its current form, it cannot pass. That’s why there are ongoing discussions among senators and stakeholders about a path forward.”

Let’s face it: Anti-LGBTQ forces have railroaded the debate by making the Equality Act about an end to women’s sports by allowing transgender athletes and danger to women in sex-segregated places like bathrooms and prisons. That doesn’t even get into resolving the issue on drawing the line between civil rights for LGBTQ people and religious freedom, which continues to be litigated in the courts as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected any day now to issue a ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia to determine if foster care agencies can reject same-sex couples over religious objections.

For transgender Americans, who continue to report discrimination and violence at high rates, the absence of the Equality Act may be most keenly felt.

Mara Keisling, outgoing executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, disputed any notion the Equality Act is dead and insisted the legislation is “very much alive.”

“We remain optimistic despite misinformation from the opposition,” Keisling said. “NCTE and our movement partners are still working fruitfully on the Equality Act with senators. In fact, we are gaining momentum with all the field organizing we’re doing, like phone banking constituents to call their senators. Legislating takes time. Nothing ever gets through Congress quickly. We expect to see a vote during this Congress, and we are hopeful we can win.”

But one Democratic source said calls to members of Congress against the Equality Act, apparently coordinated by groups like the Heritage Foundation, have has outnumbered calls in favor of it by a substantial margin, with a particular emphasis on Manchin.

No stories are present in the media about same-sex couples being kicked out of a restaurant for holding hands or transgender people for using the restroom consistent with their gender identity, which would be perfectly legal in 25 states thanks to the patchwork of civil rights laws throughout the United States and inadequate protections under federal law.

Tyler Deaton, senior adviser for the American Unity Fund, which has bolstered the Republican-led Fairness for All Act as an alternative to the Equality Act, said he continues to believe the votes are present for a compromise form of the bill.

“I know for a fact there is a supermajority level of support in the Senate for a version of the Equality Act that is fully protective of both LGBTQ civil rights and religious freedom,” Deaton said. “There is interest on both sides of the aisle in getting something done this Congress.”

Deaton, however, didn’t respond to a follow-up inquiry on what evidence exists of agreeing on this compromise.

Biden has already missed the goal he campaigned on in the 2020 election to sign the Equality Act into law within his first 100 days in office. Although Biden renewed his call to pass the legislation in his speech to Congress last month, as things stand now that appears to be a goal he won’t realize for the remainder of this Congress.

Nor has the Biden administration made the Equality Act an issue for top officials within the administration as it pushes for an infrastructure package as a top priority. One Democratic insider said Louisa Terrell, legislative affairs director for the White House, delegated work on the Equality Act to a deputy as opposed to handling it herself.

To be sure, Biden has demonstrated support for the LGBTQ community through executive action at an unprecedented rate, signing an executive order on day one ordering federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v. Clayton County to the fullest extent possible and dismantling former President Trump’s transgender military ban. Biden also made historic LGBTQ appointments with the confirmation of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health.

A White House spokesperson insisted Biden’s team across the board remains committed to the Equality Act, pointing to his remarks to Congress.

“President Biden has urged Congress to get the Equality Act to his desk so he can sign it into law and provide long overdue civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ Americans, and he remains committed to seeing this legislation passed as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said. “The White House and its entire legislative team remains in ongoing and close coordination with organizations, leaders, members of Congress, including the Equality Caucus, and staff to ensure we are working across the aisle to push the Equality Act forward.”

But at least in the near-term, that progress will fall short of fulfilling the promise of updating federal civil rights law with the Equality Act, which will mean LGBTQ people won’t be able to rely on those protections when faced with discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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D.C. bill to ban LGBTQ panic defense delayed by Capitol security

Delivery of bill to Congress was held up due to protocols related to Jan. 6 riots

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New fencing around the Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented some D.C. bills from being delivered to the Hill for a required congressional review. (Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A bill approved unanimously last December by the D.C. Council to ban the so-called LGBTQ panic defense has been delayed from taking effect as a city law because the fence installed around the U.S. Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented the law from being delivered to Congress.

According to Eric Salmi, communications director for D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who guided the bill through the Council’s legislative process, all bills approved by the Council and signed by the D.C. mayor must be hand-delivered to Congress for a required congressional review.

“What happened was when the Capitol fence went up after the January insurrection, it created an issue where we physically could not deliver laws to Congress per the congressional review period,” Salmi told the Washington Blade.

Among the bills that could not immediately be delivered to Congress was the Bella Evangelista and Tony Hunter Panic Defense Prohibition and Hate Crimes Response Amendment Act of 2020, which was approved by the Council on a second and final vote on Dec. 15.

Between the time the bill was signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and published in the D.C. Register under procedural requirements for all bills, it was not ready to be transmitted to Congress until Feb. 16, the Council’s legislative record for the bill shows.

Salmi said the impasse in delivering the bill to Congress due to the security fence prevented the bill from reaching Congress on that date and prevented the mandatory 60-day congressional review period for this bill from beginning at that time. He noted that most bills require a 30 legislative day review by Congress.

But the Evangelista-Hunter bill, named after a transgender woman and a gay man who died in violent attacks by perpetrators who attempted to use the trans and gay panic defense, includes a law enforcement related provision that under the city’s Home Rule Charter passed by Congress in the early 1970s requires a 60-day congressional review.

“There is a chance it goes into effect any day now, just given the timeline is close to being up,” Salmi said on Tuesday. “I don’t know the exact date it was delivered, but I do know the countdown is on,” said Salmi, who added, “I would expect any day now it should go into effect and there’s nothing stopping it other than an insurrection in January.”

If the delivery to Congress had not been delayed, the D.C. Council’s legislative office estimated the congressional review would have been completed by May 12.

A congressional source who spoke on condition of being identified only as a senior Democratic aide, said the holdup of D.C. bills because of the Capitol fence has been corrected.

“The House found an immediate workaround, when this issue first arose after the Jan. 6 insurrection,” the aide said.

“This is yet another reason why D.C. Council bills should not be subject to a congressional review period and why we need to grant D.C. statehood,” the aide said.

The aide added that while no disapproval resolution had been introduced in Congress to overturn the D.C. Evangelista-Hunter bill, House Democrats would have defeated such a resolution.

“House Democrats support D.C. home rule, statehood, and LGBTQ rights,” said the aide.

LGBTQ rights advocates have argued that a ban on using a gay or transgender panic defense in criminal trials is needed to prevent defense attorneys from inappropriately asking juries to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression is to blame for a defendant’s criminal act, including murder.

Some attorneys have argued that their clients “panicked” after discovering the person against whom they committed a violent crime was gay or transgender, prompting them to act in a way they believed to be a form of self-defense.

In addition to its provision banning the LGBTQ panic defense, the Evangelista-Hunter bill includes a separate provision that strengthens the city’s existing hate crimes law by clarifying that hatred need not be the sole motivating factor for an underlying crime such as assault, murder, or threats to be prosecuted as a hate crime.

LGBTQ supportive prosecutors have said the clarification was needed because it is often difficult to prove to a jury that hatred is the only motive behind a violent crime. The prosecutors noted that juries have found defendants not guilty of committing a hate crime on grounds that they believed other motives were involved in a particular crime after defense lawyers argued that the law required “hate” to be the only motive in order to find someone guilty of a hate crime.

Salmi noted that while the hate crime clarification and panic defense prohibition provisions of the Evangelista-Hunter bill will become law as soon as the congressional review is completed, yet another provision in the bill will not become law after the congressional review because there are insufficient funds in the D.C. budget to cover the costs of implementing the provision.

The provision gives the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the Office of the D.C. Attorney General authority to investigate hate related discrimination at places of public accommodation. Salmi said the provision expands protections against discrimination to include web-based retailers or online delivery services that are not physically located in D.C.

“That is subject to appropriations,” Salmi said. “And until it is funded in the upcoming budget it cannot be legally enforced.”

He said that at Council member Allen’s request, the Council added language to the bill that ensures that all other provisions of the legislation that do not require additional funding – including the ban on use of the LGBTQ panic defense and the provision clarifying that hatred doesn’t have to be the sole motive for a hate crime – will take effect as soon as the congressional approval process is completed.

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D.C. man charged with 2020 anti-gay death threat rearrested

Defendant implicated in three anti-LGBTQ incidents since 2011

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shooting, DC Eagle, assault, hate crime, anti-gay attack, police discrimination, sex police, Sisson, gay news, Washington Blade

A D.C. man arrested in August 2020 for allegedly threatening to kill a gay man outside the victim’s apartment in the city’s Adams Morgan neighborhood and who was released while awaiting trial was arrested again two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill another man in an unrelated incident.

D.C. Superior Court records show that Jalal Malki, who was 37 at the time of his 2020 arrest on a charge of bias-related attempts to do bodily harm against the gay man, was charged on May 4, 2021 with unlawful entry, simple assault, threats to kidnap and injure a person, and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon against the owner of a vacant house at 4412 Georgia Ave., N.W.

Court charging documents state that Malki was allegedly staying at the house without permission as a squatter. An arrest affidavit filed in court by D.C. police says Malki allegedly threatened to kill the man who owns the house shortly after the man arrived at the house while Malki was inside.

According to the affidavit, Malki walked up to the owner of the house while the owner was sitting in his car after having called police and told him, “If you come back here, I’m going to kill you.” While making that threat Malki displayed what appeared to be a gun in his waistband, but which was later found to be a toy gun, the affidavit says.

Malki then walked back inside the house minutes before police arrived and arrested him. Court records show that similar to the court proceedings following his 2020 arrest for threatening the gay man, a judge in the latest case ordered Malki released while awaiting trial. In both cases, the judge ordered him to stay away from the two men he allegedly threatened to kill.

An arrest affidavit filed by D.C. police in the 2020 case states that Malki allegedly made the threats inside an apartment building where the victim lived on the 2300 block of Champlain Street, N.W. It says Malki was living in a nearby building but often visited the building where the victim lived.

“Victim 1 continued to state during an interview that it was not the first time that Defendant 1 had made threats to him, but this time Defendant 1 stated that if he caught him outside, he would ‘fucking kill him.’” the affidavit says. It quotes the victim as saying during this time Malki repeatedly called the victim a “fucking faggot.”

The affidavit, prepared by the arresting officers, says that after the officers arrested Malki and were leading him to a police transport vehicle to be booked for the arrest, he expressed an “excited utterance” that he was “in disbelief that officers sided with the ‘fucking faggot.’”

Court records show that Malki is scheduled to appear in court on June 4 for a status hearing for both the 2020 arrest and the arrest two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill the owner of the house in which police say he was illegally squatting.

Superior Court records show that Malki had been arrested three times between 2011 and 2015 in cases unrelated to the 2021 and 2020 cases for allegedly also making threats of violence against people. Two of the cases appear to be LGBTQ related, but prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not list the cases as hate crimes.

In the first of the three cases, filed in July 2011, Malki allegedly shoved a man inside Dupont Circle and threatened to kill him after asking the man why he was wearing a purple shirt.

“Victim 1 believes the assault occurred because Suspect 1 believes Victim 1 is a homosexual,” the police arrest affidavit says.

Court records show prosecutors charged Malki with simple assault and threats to do bodily harm in the case. But the court records show that on Sept. 13, 2011, D.C. Superior Court Judge Stephen F. Eilperin found Malki not guilty on both charges following a non-jury trial.

The online court records do not state why the judge rendered a not guilty verdict. With the courthouse currently closed to the public and the press due to COVID-related restrictions, the Washington Blade couldn’t immediately obtain the records to determine the judge’s reason for the verdict.

In the second case, court records show Malki was arrested by D.C. police outside the Townhouse Tavern bar and restaurant at 1637 R St., N.W. on Nov. 7, 2012 for allegedly threatening one or more people with a knife after employees ordered Malki to leave the establishment for “disorderly behavior.”

At the time, the Townhouse Tavern was located next door to the gay nightclub Cobalt, which before going out of business two years ago, was located at the corner of 17th and R Streets, N.W.

The police arrest affidavit in the case says Malki allegedly pointed a knife in a threatening way at two of the tavern’s employees who blocked his path when he attempted to re-enter the tavern. The affidavit says he was initially charged by D.C. police with assault with a dangerous weapon – knife. Court records, however, show that prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office lowered the charges to two counts of simple assault. The records show that on Jan. 15, 2013, Malki pleaded guilty to the two charges as part of a plea bargain arrangement.

The records show that Judge Marissa Demeo on that same day issued a sentence of 30 days for each of the two charges but suspended all 30 days for both counts. She then sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for both charges and ordered that he undergo alcohol and drug testing and undergo treatment if appropriate.

In the third case prior to the 2020 and 2021 cases, court records show Malki was arrested outside the Cobalt gay nightclub on March 14, 2015 on multiple counts of simple assault, attempted assault with a dangerous weapon – knife, possession of a prohibited weapon – knife, and unlawful entry.

The arrest affidavit says an altercation started on the sidewalk outside the bar when for unknown reasons, Malki grabbed a female customer who was outside smoking and attempted to pull her toward him. When her female friend came to her aid, Malki allegedly got “aggressive” by threatening the woman and “removed what appeared to be a knife from an unknown location” and pointed it at the woman’s friend in a threatening way, the affidavit says.

It says a Cobalt employee minutes later ordered Malki to leave the area and he appeared to do so. But others noticed that he walked toward another entrance door to Cobalt and attempted to enter the establishment knowing he had been ordered not to return because of previous problems with his behavior, the affidavit says. When he attempted to push away another employee to force his way into Cobalt, Malki fell to the ground during a scuffle and other employees held him on the ground while someone else called D.C. police.

Court records show that similar to all of Malki’s arrests, a judge released him while awaiting trial and ordered him to stay away from Cobalt and all of those he was charged with threatening and assaulting.

The records show that on Sept. 18, 2015, Malki agreed to a plea bargain offer by prosecutors in which all except two of the charges – attempted possession of a prohibited weapon and simple assault – were dropped. Judge Alfred S. Irving Jr. on Oct. 2, 2015 sentenced Malki to 60 days of incarnation for each of the two charges but suspended all but five days, which he allowed Malki to serve on weekends, the court records show.

The judge ordered that the two five-day jail terms could be served concurrently, meaning just five days total would be served, according to court records. The records also show that Judge Irving sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for each of the two counts and ordered that he enter an alcohol treatment program and stay away from Cobalt.

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