Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman: “LGBT Rights are Human Rights”

Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash) this week telephoned  the owner of the Al Arz Tahini company and lauded her for the “brave decision to donate” to an LGBT rights organization.

In recent days, Al Arz Tahini has faced both calls for a boycott against it and expressions of support from Arab-Palestinians citizens of Israel after making a donation to The Aguda – The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel. “LGBT rights are human rights,” Touma-Sliman told her interlocutor, just as she has said on numerous occasions in the past.

The late Arab dancer Ayman Safiya

The late Arab dancer Ayman Safiya (Photos: Al Ittihad)

Al Arz Tahini, based in the northern city of Nazareth, is one of Israel’s largest producers of the popular sesame spread, making an estimated one-fifth of the country’s commercially sold tahini. “We in the Al Arz Tahini family love people without differentiation between religion, sex, gender or color. Food connects people. In addition, so do we. We will continue to be an open house and empower disadvantaged sectors whatever they may be,” the statement, stressed.

LGBT Arabs in Israel have slowly been taking a more prominent role. The funeral of former Young Communist League activist and Hadash supporter Ayman Safiya, a renowned Arab dancer who died in a drowning accident this past May, drew thousands of mourners to the May Day square in Kufr Yasif and the Muslim cemetery despite his queer identity.

Joint List chair, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) wrote Thursday in a Facebook post that the campaign against Al Arz Tahini was being led by its competitors, “both Jewish and Arab.” He said it was “hypocritical to boycott Al Arz while ignoring Israeli companies that are proud supporters of the settlements and the army.”