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LETTERS: pinkwashing

2012-04-18 Windy City Times - LINK

GLN permalink 4-18-2012

To the Editor:

Three articles published in the April 11 Windy City Times ( WCT ) by columnist Ross Forman are egregious examples of "pinkwashing." This term refers to appropriating the rights won by Israeli LGBT activists and their allies in struggle for the purpose of downplaying or ignoring the Israeli apartheid regime's human-rights violations committed against the Palestinian people.

For example, Forman and a gay Israeli tour promoter sketch a rosy picture of gays frolicking on Tel Aviv beaches and visiting bars while ignoring Israeli-enforced squalor in the nearby Gaza Strip, Israel's notorious open-air concentration camp, from which travel is restricted and into which very little food and other supplies are allowed to enter.

Nor does Forman mention the daily humiliations and brutality that the Israeli Defense Forces and Israeli settlers mete out to Palestinians. He does not mention that water rights, as well as the rights to movement, speech, education and jobs, are routinely denied to Palestinians. Nor does he mention that the right-wing Benjamin Netanyahu regime is expanding internationally condemned Israeli settlements that gobble up more and more of the best Palestinian land, a measure the Obama administration either openly backs or turns a blind eye to.

Although Forman's articles simply airbrush Palestinians out of the picture, many pinkwashers juxtapose "oppressed gay Palestinians" with "liberated gay Israelis." This distorts the political reality in Israel by tendentiously ignoring the power relations involved in racist occupation, the denial of civil liberties, and the erection of an apartheid wall. These pinkwashers hope to harness the global LGBT movement into supporting Israel at the expense of the Palestinians.

Certainly, we oppose Palestinian mistreatment of gays. But we also recognize that the smug celebration of "LGBT rights" by the Israeli government and its supporters is designed to divert attention from its atrocities against the Palestinian people as a whole, gays included. It shows that Israel is embarrassed and is increasingly concerned about the rising tide of international condemnation of its racist treatment of half its citizens.

WCT would do well to remember this the next time it feels inclined to provide a venue for pinkwashing.

Roger Fraser

Bob Schwartz

Gay Liberation Network


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