N.Y. gay center rapped for renting space to anti-Israel group

NEW YORK (JTA) – A gay community center in New York is facing controversy again for renting meeting space to an anti-Israel group.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center announced Wednesday that it would allow Queers Against Israeli Apartheid to rent meeting space in its building. The center said it “provides space for a variety of LGBT voices in our community to engage in conversations on a range of topics.”

“The Center does not have a position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, nor does it endorse the viewpoints of this group or any others that use rooms here,” the center said in its statement. “This is a complex issue, and there is a tremendous diversity of viewpoints within the LGBT community.”

Michael Lucas, a gay pornography producer and pro-Israel activist, responded by calling for a boycott of the center.

"Everyone who believes in the state of Israel, please stop any support for the Center," Lucas said in a statement. "Please stop your financial support, please stop meeting there. Do not ally yourself with evil."

In February, the center came under fire from Lucas and some other gay supporters of Israel when a pro-Palestinian group called Siege Busters arranged to rent meeting space. The center revoked the group’s rental, explaining that Siege Busters was “not LGBT-focused” and that the event “began to distract from our core mission.”

The decision also was controversial within the gay community and drew pickets from pro-Palestinian activists.

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