Mayor Murray’s Trip to Israel is Not ‘Pinkwashing’

Rather than condemning the mayor’s trip to Israel, we should encourage him and others to go learn firsthand.

ZariWeiss180x200Former secretary-general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, once said, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”

This is my response to local activists who oppose Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s upcoming trip to Israel and the emerging state of Palestine this June for an LGBTQ-related conference. The mayor will be leading a delegation there, as well as delivering the closing keynote address at the 40 Years of Pride Conference being held in Tel Aviv.

Activists claim that Murray is engaging in “pinkwashing” — in other words, painting over the real problems in Israel, specifically the treatment of Palestinians, by representing Israel as gay-friendly.

First of all, let’s celebrate the fact that Israel is indeed gay friendly. For 40 years, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer Jews have been able to march with pride in Tel Aviv, one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world — something that could not happen in many countries throughout the world, including some cities in the United States.

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