Gay Rights, Yes! Palestinian Oppression, No!
GLN permalink 11-14-2012
Recently the Israeli government paid to show films at the Center on Halsted, part of broader campaign called "Pinkwashing" - the government's cynical use of gay rights to distract from and normalize Israeli occupation, settler colonialism, and apartheid.
Trying to burnish its tarnished image worldwide, and working with U.S. marketing executives, in 2005 the Israeli regime launched a public relations project called "Brand Israel." The campaign sought to depict Israel as "relevant and modern."
In 2011 it was expanded to harness Israeli gays into the project. The $90 million promotion, supported by the Tel Aviv Tourism Board and consulates of the Israeli government overseas, depicted gay couples frolicking on beaches and having a good time at bars. It also financed Israeli films depicting LGBTs in a favorable light to be shown at gay film festivals in the U.S.
The growing global gay movement against the Israeli occupation has a label for these tactics: "pinkwashing," which is the deliberate strategy of concealing on-going violations of Palestinians' human rights behind an image of so-called "modernity" involving show-casing Israeli warm "acceptance" of gay life.
Meanwhile, beneath this phony, cosmetic surface, Israeli conservative and religious leaders remain fiercely homophobic, as evidenced by the blocking of a gay parade in Jerusalem several years ago by Orthodox rabbis joined by anti-gay Christian and Muslim leaders. The gains that have been realized by Israeli LGBTs are due to organizing on the ground by the gay community and its non-gay allies, not by an allegedly benevolent government that cynically attempts to marry "support" of Israeli gay life to its viciously anti-Palestinian policies.
As shown by the maps above, even before the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, terror was used to drive Palestinians from their land. An ever expanding entity, Israel has annexed Palestinian land thru war and settlement construction, including several large land grabs just this past week.
A physical wall has been constructed to separate Palestinians from Israel, and Israel has been increasingly condemned as an "apartheid state," similar to the white minority that despotically ruled an overwhelmingly black South Africa.
Much as the South African movement against apartheid did a generation ago, the movement for Palestinian equality has launched the "Boycott, Divest and Sanctions" campaign to counter Israeli attempts to "normalize" its discrimination. The Gay Liberation Network urges all LGBTs and our allies to support this campaign.
For more information about how to get involved in boycotting Israeli products and cultural events, please go to the following sites:
Chicago Divests -- http://www.chicagodivests.wordpress.com
Jewish Voice for Peace Chicago -- http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/content/chicago-chapter
Students for Justice in Palestine Chicago -- http://www.sjpchicago.org
Pinkwatching Israel -- http://www.pinkwatchingisrael.com