Pinkwashing: Sexual Assault on Israel

The relentless anti-Israeli warriors can never take yes for an answer. By every index the State of Israel can be proud of its record on sexual issues, especially on the question of gay rights. It is self-evident that these rights are enjoyed, as is political freedom generally, in Israel while rarely if ever in other Middle East countries. The reality in many Arab countries is that homosexual sex is punishable by death or long terms of imprisonment. It is no coincidence that in a recent survey of web site voters that Tel Aviv was voted the most hospitable town to gays, receiving 43 per cent, while New York was next with 14 per cent and Toronto with 7 per cent.

Any objective and rational observer is aware that gays serve in the Israeli military and some of them are high-ranking officers, that gay partners benefit in both the public and private sectors, that gay adoptions are recognized as are gay marriages, though these are performed abroad, that the Knesset has openly gay members, that gay clubs exist openly, that since 1998 Tel Aviv has hosted gay theme events, and that 100,000 people took part in the Gay Pride parade last year.

But the relentless critics in their unilateral assault on Israel are neither objective nor rational on this issue nor on some many other issues concerning Israel. Instead from these distraught individuals has emanated tortuous and absurd logic, usually in obscurantist post-modernist language. Now they have coined a new word,”pinkwashing.”

This accusation has been put to use. A delegation of American LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) academics was invited by gay groups to visit Palestine in January 2012. It included Katherine Franke, Professor of Law at Columbia University, Pauline Park, a prominent figure in gay organizations, and Jasbir Puar, a Professor at Rutgers.his indicates that Israel is using a deliberate strategy, a propaganda device to make known its support of gays in order to conceal its continuing violations of human rights of Palestinians behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life. Pinkwashing means that Israel proclaims or exaggerates gay rights in order to present itself as progressive.

The photos posted by a member of the delegation shows that the itinerary was carefully planned to present a negative picture of Israel and its “oppression” of Palestinians. The open statement and petition circulated by some of the delegation demanded that gays and their allies should oppose Israel’s practice of pinkwashing by all means including an international BDS movement. The delegation found that Israel’s pinkwashing was a “well-funded, cynical publicity campaign” to market a purportedly gay-friendly Israel so as to distract attention from its “devastating human rights abuses” against Palestinians.

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