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Anti-Pinkwashing Activist: Occupation of Palestine “One Of The Most Contentious Issues” In Queer Organizing

Last weekend, the Brecht Forum in New York hosted a panel called “Creating Solidarities: A Conversation with Members of the First U.S. LGBTQ Delegate to Palestine.” Speakers—including filmmaker Barbara Hammer, Queens Pride House co-founder Pauline Park, the Global Justice Institute’s Darnell Moore and Jasbir Puar, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers—discussed their recent experiences on a trip to the Palestinian territories.

Why’d they go?  In a word: Pinkwashing.

According to Puar (right), “the occupation of Palestine is one of the most contentious issues in queer organizing today.”  She and others spoke of Israel’s evil plan to broadcast its record on LGBT rights in order to “cover up its occupation of Palestine.”  Puar did clarify that Israel was hardly the only nation to pinkwash, but it seems to be the one LGBT activists focus on almost exclusively.

Later, when Moore broached the subject of gay rights in Palestine, it was noted that in a region already defined by binaries: Jew/Muslim, man/woman, adding another binary of sexual identity would be dangerous. In fact, the delegation was told to hide their sexual orientation from their Palestinian hosts.

But the audience was told homophobia is irrelevant in Palestine as “it doesn’t take away from the fact that there is an occupation.  We can’t judge a country by its attitudes towards homosexuals,” said Puar.

Um, really?

As one audience member pointed out protections for minorities, including gays, is a requirement to join the European Union. When an audience member further pressed Jasbir as to why Israel was being picked on as pinkwashing when other countries do the same, Puar (left) replied, “My critique of Israel stems out of my critique with the United States.  The United States is a settler state too.  Absolutely!”

So pinkwashing is really about the U.S. and not Israel? We’re confused.

Panelists also made much about their fears of being in Israel proper: Puar said her friends told her she’d never be allowed in—she even made a fake Facebook account to obscure her identity—but the professor sailed through Israeli security because “I looked so ineffectual and miserable.” She told the audience how it “was such a relief to get to Ramallah” where sadly she had no cell phone reception because the Israelis wouldn’t allow it.

Park’s biggest worry was passing through Israeli checkpoints and having her belongings confiscated, but she breezed right through security as well.

So the problem for these activists is that there was no problem?

The debate about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and both nation’s records on LGBT rights won’t be resolved any time soon. In fact, a Homonationalism and Pinkwashing conference is already scheduled for April 2013 at the City University of New York.

Photos: CUNY, Andrew Ratto

By:           Jayson Littman
On:           Apr 21, 2012
Tagged: , ,

  • 60 Comments
    • Uh, no
      Uh, no

      “the occupation of Palestine is one of the most contentious issues in queer organizing today”

      No it’s not.

      There are people who *wish* it were, or try and force this irrelevant-to-LGBT-rights topic into the center of discussions about LGBT issues, but that doesn’t make it relevant to “queer organizing.”

      Queer organizing is about queer issues. Not abortion, economics, government spending, welfare, foreign policy, Israel/Palestine, or any other laundry list of grievances that agenda-laden busybodies want to drag into the mix.

      If an issue is not directly and uniquely impacting LGBT people, it is NOT an LGBT issue. (And please don’t try to serve up that heaping, steaming bowl of bullshit that “everyone needs a home/food/national defense/health care, including LGBT people, so it’s an LGBT issue.”)

      If you want to take sides on the Israel/Palestine debate, there is an appropriate forum to do so — an Israel/Palestine forum. Stop crowding out OUR venues formed for OUR issues with your completely irrelevant issues.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 7:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Savannah
      Savannah

      I highly suspect that you are oversimplifying the panelists comments and taking them out of context to make them sound ambivalent about calling out homophobia. The fact is that Israel has a specific and very well-funded campaign to use it’s relative tolerance on gay rights/identity to distract from it’s ongoing occupation and settler-colonialism that gradually encroaches on Palestinian land, destroys Palestinian livelihoods, and enables a widespread campaign of human rights abuses… not to mention that it enables anti-queer right-wing Jewish religious extremists who are given carte blanche to put their racism and radicalism in practice in the West Bank and Jerusalem. I have visited these areas personally and seen the way religious extremists abuse the local Palestinian population in the name of religion… and trust me, these settler types are not friends of the queers either!

      Apr 21, 2012 at 7:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hamoboy
      hamoboy

      Ummm.. Do you think the muslim palestinians are friends of the queers? I don’t think so #extremeunderstatement

      Apr 21, 2012 at 8:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @Savannah:

      You sicken me. You are defending a Palestine, when they arrest, torture, and murder gays with govt. support.

      If you hate Isreal, or Jews, or are supportive of Palestine, fine, that is your thing. But Isreal is not “Pinkwashing”. Palestine is. You are trying to negate the horrific anti-gay record of Palestine in any way possible.

      Guess, what. Nobody would point out how great Isreal’s record on Gay Rights was if Palestinian gays weren’t fleeing to ISreal for fear of their lives, and being allowed to stay there legally because of Isreal’s laws.

      You care nothing about gays.

      Britain sent troops to Afghanistan, I bet next you’re going to claim that women in Britain have no rights, and it’s all a lie to make Afghanistan look bad.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 8:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ed
      ed

      I really fail to understand this pink washing business which as one of the other commentators here has said, seems to be more diluting LGBT issues into an add on. The logic here that Israel is hiding behind equal rights for gays is so spurious to be insulting. Women have equal rights in Israel far in advance of other middle eastern countries, does that mean they are also women washing? As women in Israel are also not obliged (or forced) to wear head coverings unlike most other Middle Eastern states are they also hair washing?

      Apr 21, 2012 at 9:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Savannah
      Savannah

      Israel has laws specifically prohibiting any Palestinian or Arab, queer or otherwise, being granted refuge inside that country. Are Palestinian queers treated great in Palestine? No, but the accusation that the Palestinian Authority specifically targets queers isn’t true either. Go ahead and try to defend Israel’s racist laws and colonialism if you wish, but please do so relying on truth rather than distorting the facts to fit your narrow propaganda purposes. Further, Palestinian queers themselves have spoken about the issues. Can we all at least agree that Palestinian queers have greater authority to speak about the lives of Palestinian queers rather than the Israeli foreign ministry?

      Apr 21, 2012 at 9:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ME
      ME

      As someone living in the place you are talking about, please let me share my thoughts. Many of the commenters above have made ill-informed, generalizing, or just simply inaccurate claims about Israel, Palestine, and what life is like for gay people here.

      Cam: if you really think gays are fleeing to Israel for safety, please let me know through which part of the wall they are supposed to enter. There is no gay checkpoint for gay Palestinians, and even those gays who are refugees from the land that is now Israel are denied the right to return there. Give your head a shake and come see what you are talking about before opining. It would also be helpful to back up your claim about the Palestinian “government” arresting and torturing gay people.

      Ed: Like many societies where Islam is the religion of the majority, many women cover their hair in Palestine. But they are not obliged according to the law, and many women don’t. Many ultra-Orthodox Jewish Israeli women also wear head coverings, but this also has nothing to do with the law or the government. Social attitudes towards women and gay people are an issue in Israel and Palestine, but changing people’s minds is a separate issue from stopping governments from controlling our lives.

      It’s frustrating to hear people who have obviously never been to Palestine lecture gays from or living in Palestine about what’s best for them. Maybe Queerty should allow a gay Palestinian activist to write a response to this story instead of continuing this false debate with people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 10:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      Pinkwashing happens when a group with no agenda of support for LGBTs, and no history of support for LGBTs, or an agenda/history of opposing LGBTs, suddenly claim and appear to support LGBTs for purposes of exploitation. Groups such as Occupy Wall Street and other organized labor movements, for instance, are guilty of pinkwashing.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 10:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MD
      MD

      This article, even in its tone is so biased. Queerty, get some journalistic integrity if you’re going to discuss human rights issues.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 10:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Clockwork
      Clockwork

      @Uh, no:
      Rational, clear headed thinking here, you crushed it like a pinata amigo.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 10:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dmitriy
      Dmitriy

      @ME:

      1.Well of course the PA doesn’t arrest that many gays, what with being potentially honor killed or tortured, I’m sure you’re all deep deep deep in the closet.
      2. why exactly do you people expect a right of return? almost all of your 4.5 million refugees were born in the Arab countries where they reside as stateless slum dwellers thanks to the cooperative efforts of the UN and Arab nations that feed false hopes to your people, like when the UN allows Palestinians to pass their refugee status to their offspring, regardless of whether their offspring was an actual displaced person. But I know, why not a call for two states, where your people can return to the west bank, and actually work to build a modern state, instead you go against the very ethos of your opposition to Israel(that two wrongs supposedly don’t make a right, afterall you probably believe that the Palestinian Arabs were paying for the holocaust and that now the Israeli people-the majority of whom were born in Israel should “go back to Europe”, while of course forgetting that the Jews of former ARab communities basically had to pay for the Arab armies loss in 1948, by losing their citizenship and having to flee)

      Apr 21, 2012 at 11:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dmitriy
      Dmitriy

      @Kev C:
      Yeah but you see a lot of people are missing the point that Israel has had numerous LGBT rights gains decades before the US, way before these far left commie queers and hets along with their radical right wing muslim alies started screaming “pinkwashing”

      Apr 21, 2012 at 11:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dmitriy
      Dmitriy

      Lol I love the guest speakers at the conference:
      we have the usual “person of color” convinced that Israel is a “white supremacist state” while ignoring that Jews for all intensive purposes were people of color in Europe since A. Jews were originally from Judea and were never considered “Polish, German, Russian, Spanish or French”-
      B. Over 50% of Israel jewish communities hailed from the Arab world, central asia and the caucausus

      the self hating Jew who has been quoted as saying that “Hezbollah and Hamas can be considered ‘left wing”

      and
      two arabs, (surprise suprise)who will forget to mention that palestinians in Arab countries except for Jordan are almost all stateless despite the fact that almost all Palestinian residents there were born there and in any other countries would already hold citizenship(like they do in Chile, where there is a large palestinian community)

      Apr 21, 2012 at 11:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shmu
      Shmu

      @Savannah: @Savannah:
      interesting… welll… because…

      Religious settler comes to aid of gay Palestinian: Young Palestinian man who lives with his partner in Israel visits his parents in West Bank, not allowed back into Israel. Residents of his villages threaten to kill him. Rescue comes from unexpected source: Religious Jewish settler who agreed to hide him in settlement

      and he isnt the only one. the state of Israel takes in significant amounts of Arab and African refugees who cannot return back home because of death threats from their own people for being themselves

      also, you exaggerate the problems in Judea. there are clashes, yes, but because of a stalemate of Arabs not wanting to give up terrorism and negotiate peace instead of wetdreaming of getting their totalitarian fantasy by war. Arabs are killing thousands by the week in Syria and neighboring countries you people dont lift a damn finger. all of Israels wars even add up; a few hundred deaths in the Operation Cast Iron, a couple thousand during the intifada itself, even the war of 1967 and war of Independence never caused more than a few thousand deaths in total. all of Israelis “warlike history” doesnt add up to a good month of political protest in an Arab country,

      Apr 21, 2012 at 11:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Myles MacLean
      Myles MacLean

      Poor Ed.

      You should get out more.

      Read Haaretz.

      Every day women in Israel are belittled and abused by religious fools.One little 10 year old girl was chased home by several,that’s right,several grown men because they didn’t like what she was wearing.

      What about bus seating and separate buses?They pink-wash everything that they can get away with.

      Poor Ed.

      Myles.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shmu
      Shmu

      @Myles MacLean: @Myles MacLean: um, do you fail to realize that these issues fighting regarding bus seating in Israel is on PRIVATELY OWNED BUS-LINES. the issues of people getting chased home for their “immodest attire” is in separate religious communities, the same separate religious communities they operate these bus-lines in. your making it sound like its a societal thing, instead of the society of Israel taking hits for it for vocally opposing such attitudes publicly, opposing such ways that are typical in arab and third world counties. people just repeat it because in the end they really dont like Jews and need to find a reason to justify it, and they really have a lot displaced guilt for being white to cover-up with their insincerity for the Palestinians welfare to make the seem smart to the other shallow people. that is not true humanitarism

      Apr 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eli
      Eli

      Ultimately, the most annoying thing about this whole discussions is that THESE ISSUES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH ONE ANOTHER. Nothing! It’s a manufactured controversy. Saying that Israel is using real progress on LGBT rights to “distract” from the occupation is deeply insulting to LGBT people, because the implication is that gay rights aren’t an end in themselves but rather a scheme to mollify American liberals/leftists, and any other liberal issue – women’s rights, the environment, a social safety net – would have done just as well. But gay rights are RIGHTS, not a luxury add-on to your country to make it look hip and European; the people who talk about “pinkwashing” are dismissing them as window dressing, and as a gay man I find that insulting.
      Israel and Palestine are complex countries. I don’t know enough about LGBT rights in Palestine, but it seems like the situation there is at worst about the same as the situation for Israeli gays raised Orthodox Jewish, and at best not really as good as the situation in liberal Tel Aviv. The occupation of Palestine is terrible and unjust for so many reasons, but the idea of “pinkwashing” is that because of the occupation, we can’t talk about anything that Israel is doing well because Israel is uniformly terrible or something. Which it’s not. I really hope we can accept the good as good and the bad as bad without our brains blowing up, but maybe I’m being too optimistic about people’s thoughtfulness on this issue.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Austin
      Austin

      The debate over Pinkwashing, and indeed its more normative organisation Pinkwatching, is not the denial of the importance of gay rights issues within the palestinian territories, it is the outrage of prefencing treatment of homosexuals over ethnic distinctions. The queer movements of the west did not suffer the batons and abuses of its own national governments to have its rights paraded as propaganda in an effort to deflect criticism. This should not be about our constructed labels of gay, straight, Israeli or Palestinian, this is about bad justification. Israel did not establish itself for the benefit of homosexuals, it was about the security of the Jewish people, dont let Zionists use gay rights as an axiom of self-definition, stand up and say – NOT IN OUR NAME!

      Apr 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shmu
      Shmu

      @Austin:
      interesting… because people who cry “pinkwashing” and protest when ever Israelis are invited or participate in any global queer and jewish events cannot seem to make the disconnect. instead they label Israeli gay youth and their advocates as Zionists-agents anytime they come for acculturation and training. furthermore how can people who do not build judaism and dont walk in “ahavat yisrael” (love for fellow jews) talk about “our name.” you cant say in OUR NAME when “v’nich’rata ha-nefesh hahi miYisrael / his soul is cut-off from among Israel.” people are more than happy to trashing zionism because in their immaturity they need to fit in with the supposed intellectuals that theorize everything from the inspiration of their own self-loathing.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 1:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Austin
      Austin

      @Shmu – Your religious precepts are your own, I dont intend to enter into debate about what does and does not constitute Jewish-’ness’, this essentialism is unconstructive. Moreover my pinkwatching is employed in various ways, not all of which I have recourse to agree with, the boycotting of Israeli involvement in international discussions is one such case. The issue I take with zionism here, beyond my general disagreement with religious state formation, is the use of the Queer. By our I can essentially only mean me – I say no, you cannot use gay rights in your justification of palestinian opression, you cannot claim my sexual activity and the protection I am ‘afford’ by my benevolent government as a benchmark of modernity and civilisation. I can only urge those who comprehend and see similar threads in my argumentation to say no with me.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JayKay
      JayKay

      “…Jasbir Puar, a professor of women’s and gender studies”
      “My critique of Israel stems out of my critique with the United States. The United States is a settler state too. Absolutely!”

      That’s really all anyone needs to read in order to know this useless, delusional cunt has nothing of value to say about anything. I say if she holds Palestine in such high regard that we ship her back over there. Only this time let’s box her up with a rainbow flag and some photos of her making out with a woman. Let her experience firsthand just how deeply Palestine cares about it’s gays.

      Any gay person who supports any Muslim nation over Israel is an idiot. That’s really all you can say about them.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dmitriy
      Dmitriy

      @Austin:

      1.Maybe you’re not grasping that Jewish identity goes beyond religion. It’s not purely a religious state.
      2. It’s a tad disengenous when white gentile intellectuals full know well that pre 1948 nobody in Europe every considered Jews to be anything but foreigners, but now since Jews have a state you’ve decided to label us “white people”
      3. If Palestinians merely want freedom from oppression, why did they after Israel freed 1.5 million of them from a mere 10,000 settlers did they respond with rocket fire.???

      Can you answer me that: if land for peace truly works, why doesn’t it in practice??

      Apr 21, 2012 at 2:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dmitriy
      Dmitriy

      @Austin:

      Just wondering since your opposed to nationalism based on religion: why not protest pakistan and the fact that millions of refugees poured out pakistan because they weren’t muslim, same goes for india where the refugees were muslims.
      but just think if Pakistan never declared independence, millions of people could have remained in their homes.

      oh but I almost forgot: Pakistan isn’t Jewish…

      Apr 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Austin
      Austin

      Im was not aware that I was discussing Palestinian intentions of peace, and I will not enter into futile debate about it. The complex nature of Palestinian politics deserves more attention than I am able to give, and certianly less generalization than that which you are more than ready to provide. I am fully aware of the extra-religious definitions of what constitues Jewishness, my response was to the religious nature of Shmu’s commentary on the ‘building of Judaism’. I have a deep respect for the Jewish scripts and traditions, and also for the cultural distinctiveness of the jewish ethnie. What I dont hold in high regard is the terminology of Gentile and indeed white, you should be carefull not to stoop to the same ethno-centric notions of superiority with which you attempt to accuse me of. We should not use terminology of the other, other than that by which it refers to itself. In response to your second point, I cannot possibly relate any of my sentiments to those held by a series of generations previous to my existence. The mindsets of those who bear relation to me are not my responsibility. I thoroughly hope this discourse is of use to us both.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 2:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Austin
      Austin

      @Dmitriy: This article is not about Pakistan, and my knowledge does not permit me to fraw comparisons between two very different situations. If you do find an article, please tell me and I will be more than happy to discuss Pakistan in the appropriate forum.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ron
      Ron

      This whole thing has been blown out of proportion.

      Just like some people took one study on the link between autism and vaccinations and turned it into a whole anti-vaccination industry, Palestinian activists have taken a single campaign involving 3-4 infomercials by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and turned it into a world spanning anti-pinkwashing campaign.

      The sad part is that back when the campaign was made, no one in Israel had even heard of pinkwashing.

      The whole purpose of the campaign had been to draw gay tourists the help our failing tourism industry, since Christian tourism has been waning ever since Jesus failed to make a comeback back in 2000.

      In other news, MD said something about journalistic integrity, and other have made similar comments on Queerty in the past.

      Well, I have news for you: Queerty is a Blog and according to a federal judge back in December 2011, Bloggers aren’t journalists. Now, he was ruling that bloggers do not have the same protections as journalists, but it follows from the ruling that if they aren’t journalists than you can’t hold them to the same rules and standards.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shmu
      Shmu

      @Austin: i love the messed up logic. Israel wasnt founded as a bauble for a homosexuals, so it cant be praised or have its homosexuals treated with dignity. so lest just disregard the fact that Israel does the job of being welcoming to gays and protecting foreign homosexuals because of full relations and understanding of the insurmountable inhumanity that still surrounds them, because its not their “mission in life.” secondly, your conception of “gentile,” a goy, a person who is a whole, distinct and sovereign is nothing shameful; you just read it through eyes of exclusion and not distinction so you think the rest of us do. furthermore, you cant love living jews nor respect the ones who came before us; so you cant speak with any veracity and credibility about the goings on in a jewish society you are not found to be a part of. in the end this whole pinkwashing witchhunt just shows people like you to be nothing more than selfish, and culturally irrelevant homo-superioritists who that only hang on to an extreme liberal bias in order to show their supposed progressiveness. your comb-over isnt working.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 3:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Austin
      Austin

      My ‘Comb-over’ as you put it, which supposedly does not hide a ‘selfish…homo-superiorism’ is merely my opinion, it holds no authority over anyone but me. I dont expect, or take kindly to being so easily placed into a ‘liberal’ agenda, and I will not fit comfortably. Your supposed ‘distinctive’ terminology of the Goy is an inept imagining. I do not beleive that this term represents anything other than a lack, an absence. It was not created outside of the chain of defering and differing substitutions that constiutes language, and thus does not stand alone. It is the topology of jewish castration – and you cannot deny its universalism to the non-jew, just as queer is the lack against which normality defines itself. My reference to Pinkwashing is neither a witchhunt, the use of this terminology is unconstructive and furthermore draws comparisons where none should be present. In reference to your point about Israel’s benevolent protection, tollerance is not acceptance, my sexual activity is not to be given a price. I will not thank any government or individual who looks at me in expectation of gratitude for the ‘tollerance’ they display to me. This is the real ‘comb-over’ which haunts your language like that of any other ‘tollerant’ individual. I dont wish to speak about Jewish Society because you are right – I am not Jewish, nor Israeli- I have no experience here – Pinkwashing however is an international issue, it is a matter for us all.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 6:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MaddM@
      MaddM@

      Getting back to the subject of pinkwashing, I also agree to disagree with the use of the term- I’ve already heard it used in conjunction with the Susan B Komen foundation and the fact that many everyday businesses had/have had a pink product where some very small amount of a purchase is donated. There have been things like tool sets, guns, anything you could possibly put anywhere on or in your body etc. I think Israel in putting a focus on it’s queer rights history is an attempt to appeal to simplemindedness that thinks every political issue is a red v blue dichotomy, so if Israel has a good record with queer rights they must be liberal ergo not treat palestinians that badly. Not going to comment on the actual treatment at all other than israel treats queer israelis > palestinians (obvs).

      Apr 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dmitriy
      Dmitriy

      @MaddM@:
      20% of israeli citizens are palestinian

      Apr 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shmu
      Shmu

      @Austin: then your assertion about what goy means is wrong, and your sentiments ill founded. calling someone or something a goy is to acknowledge their independence and sovereignty, and do not have no linguistic nor cultural reference from which to draw your opinion to the contrary. merely your own outside conjecture. if it was so derogatory they it wouldn’t be used in the bible and in jewish culture in reference to Jews as well “v’atah tehiu-li mam’lechet kohanim, v’GOY kodesh / and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priest and a holy NATION’” (Exodus 19:6)

      Apr 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 5 · ed wrote, “I really fail to understand this pink washing business which as one of the other commentators here has said, seems to be more diluting LGBT issues into an add on. The logic here that Israel is hiding behind equal rights for gays is so spurious to be insulting.”

      What is doing on is that countries and their supporters (including Israel, but hardly exclusively) like to talk about what the country is doing right and like to ignore its mistakes.

      Now, there is a cogent argument that Israel cannot maintain the current status quo in the “occupied territories” indefinitely if it wants to claim to follow democratic ideals – it more or less either has to eventually give the Palestinians their own country or give them the full rights of Israeli citizens if it wants to claim to be democratic. If you mention this (and it is really just a description of what most people mean by terms such as democratic forms of government) to an self-described Israeli supporter, you’ll hear about how Israel gives its Arab citizens the same rights as its Jewish citizens, which is true but irrelevant to how its seemingly indefinitely occupied non-citizens are being treated and whether that treatment is consistent with democratic principles.

      People who self-identify as “supporters of Country X” for any specific X will often spout whatever comes into their heads in support of X. They’ll happily contradict themselves over time. Basically, whatever they say tends to be a nearly instinctive response and has little to do with anything else. Sometimes that instinctive response is one that some individuals now classify as “pinkwashing,” but what one may classify it as hardly matters – it is the same sort of behavior regardless.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David
      David

      Towleroad has a wonderful link today about the Queer Palestinian Party that takes place once a month in Tel Aviv. I encourage everyone to check it out. If you for a second think that things are great for gay people living in Gaza or the West Bank or even an Arab community inside inside Israel this article may finally open your eyes.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Freddie
      Freddie

      From a gay Jew: My attitude to “pinkwashing” is this. I applaud Israel for its fantastic record on gay rights and am embarrassed by its persistent occupation of the West Bank and treatment of Palestinians.

      Apr 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Martin
      Martin

      @Austin: Are you stupid? Or do someone pay you to fill forums with crap by the kilo??
      “The queer movements of the west did not suffer the batons and abuses of its own national governments to have its rights paraded as propaganda in an effort to deflect criticism. This should not be about our constructed labels of gay, straight, Israeli or Palestinian, this is about bad justification. Israel did not establish itself for the benefit of homosexuals, it was about the security of the Jewish people,

      Do not fucking dare to talk about gay rights. You are the kind of person who will happily use real peoples lives as fuel for your political agenda what it happens to be. Gay rights are exactly the opposite. People who want individual freedom to be themselves. You are happy to deny the efforts of Israeli gays who has to fight for it daily. You would have us freeze out the people.
      You stink. Your inhumane outlook on the world stinks…
      Now fuck off

      Apr 22, 2012 at 1:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Martin
      Martin

      @B:” People who self-identify as “supporters of Country X”
      ROFL what kindergarden let you out?? You dare project your own stupidity on everyone else, and then dare talk on about instinctual responses in other people??
      If we must psychologize this, id say your thinking is barely conscious, and it will never reach a level the surrounding world would ever consider labelling as logic, so please, please spare us…!!

      Apr 22, 2012 at 2:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Martin
      Martin

      The whole pinkwashing idea is false and dangerous.
      Gay rights are rights for INDIVIDUAL gay people, not “the movement” (which is so easily hijacked for completely different purposes as this example clearly shows). History is full of examples of individual peoples lives being used as mere fuel for “the cause”. We should take no part in it, and insist on rights for individuals who are gay and see this as a separate issue.
      We should not listen to scheming people who would channel the support of the organised gay world into all kinds of issues. Its so handy to hijack the agenda of a group of people who are already organised and have marches at least once a year. It really saves valuable time when you only need to change the words on the placards in the demo, right?
      If we dont focus, we invariably alienate some people who would have otherwise supported the original issue of freedom to be yourself and protection from discrimination

      Apr 22, 2012 at 2:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hamoboy
      hamoboy

      I don’t know much about the situation regarding Israel and Palestine, but I think this whole pinkwashing drama is really stupid. Anyone capable of the simplest logic would immediately think “Well, if they’re saying that Israel is using it’s good gay rights history to cover up, is it possible that Palestine is using it’s victim status to cover up a horrible gay rights record?”. After some cursory googling and looking through blogs, I think that’s exactly the case too.

      Apr 22, 2012 at 3:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hamoboy
      hamoboy

      correction: it should be “using it’s good gay rights history to cover up victimizing palestinians”

      Apr 22, 2012 at 3:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Code Pink
      Code Pink

      @Martin: Great response. I see I’m not the only one who gets tired of this wanna be
      (encyclopedias) rambling bulls@#t…

      Apr 22, 2012 at 6:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @Savannah: said…

      “Israel has laws specifically prohibiting any Palestinian or Arab, queer or otherwise, being granted refuge inside that country.”
      ________________________________

      You are a liar. The Supreme Court in Israel ordered the gay asylum seekers be allowed to stay in the country because of the danger their lives would be in if they were returned to Palestine. You have an agenda and will lie to try to get people to support your view.

      You do not care about gays, you just think gays are stupid enough to believe your lies to support your cause.

      Apr 22, 2012 at 10:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @ME: said…

      “Cam: if you really think gays are fleeing to Israel for safety, please let me know through which part of the wall they are supposed to enter. There is no gay checkpoint for gay Palestinians, and even those gays who are refugees from the land that is now Israel are denied the right to return there. Give your head a shake and come see what you are talking about before opining. It would also be helpful to back up your claim about the Palestinian “government” arresting and torturing gay people.”
      _______________________________________

      Nice try liar. Palestinians cross the boarders to work in Israel every day. But then again, you already know that and once again just have to lie to fool gays into supporting a country like Palestine that would seek to imprison and murder us.

      Oh, here is a nice little snapshot of the laws in Gaza Page 24 shows a 10 year prison term for “Unatural” acts.

      http://old.ilga.org/Statehomophobia/ILGA_State_Sponsored_Homophobia_2010.pdf

      Once again, by defending such a homophobic, anti gay government, you yourself are just as bad. You are anti-gay and THAT is why you see nothing wrong with what is going on in Palestine.

      Apr 22, 2012 at 10:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • J Stratford
      J Stratford

      If Palestine really wanted to have gays not “used” by Israel’s more liberal gay laws, it can always protect its gay citizens. If Palestinians really wanted citizens of other countries to see how it really is in Palestine, it could allow tourists to come in without putting them in grave danger if someone found out that they were gay.

      Otherwise, quit complaining. If you are unwilling to protect gays’ basic human rights, you don’t deserve our support. That doesn’t mean we will support Israel, it just means we wont support you, since you care so little about us. Period. End of story. If this is Pinkwashing, hurray! Le us, LGBT folks, be not bullied to support any group that denies our right to life and liberty.

      Apr 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Simon
      Simon

      Wait. Seriously? MD (#9) is right.

      “it doesn’t take away from the fact that there is an occupation. We can’t judge a country by its attitudes towards homosexuals,”
      Um, really?
      As one audience member pointed out protections for minorities, including gays, is a requirement to join the European Union. When an audience member further pressed Jasbir as to why Israel was being picked on as pinkwashing when other countries do the same, Puar (left) replied, “My critique of Israel stems out of my critique with the United States. The United States is a settler state too. Absolutely!”
      So pinkwashing is really about the U.S. and not Israel? We’re confused.

      This isn’t journalism. It doesn’t engage with any issue on a fact-basis. It’s just reactionary. It’s exactly how the conservative media take a soundbite or a comment from any LGBT community member that expresses anger and can brand us terrorists.

      In general, this conversation is insanely grey-area because it deals with issues of nationality on a religious and ethnic level; it deals with a complicated history of attack, defense, and religious fundamentalism on both sides. The main thing I learned when I went to Israel and listened to 6 Israeli soldiers fight about the fate of Israel (giving up territory, taking down the wall used to enlose the Palestinian territory around Jerusalem, or expanding), was that I really can’t have an opinion on the situation unless I learn a lot of things (the history of Israel, the history of Palestine, how anti-semitic and anti-islam discourses work on a historical and world level, and maybe even a couple of languages. Both Israel and the Palestinian territory do terrible things to one another. The only time there were extensive peace talks was in 95 with Arafat and Rabin. And then Rabin (the Israeli prime minister at the time) was assassinated. By an Israeli zionist.

      The issue is complicated.

      HOWEVER: I am suspicious of anyone saying that a country giving its LGBT citizens rights and protections is a means to cover up it’s relatively well-publicized occupation of a terriroty. That news would have been appropriated and reported by any gay activist or interested media group in the “Western World” because those rights barely even exist in the Americas and a lot of Europe. If Puar were to say “Israel’s good LGBT rights record coincidentally takes attention away from it’s imperialism in the Palestinian territory,” then that’s a claim that could be true; saying that Israel intentionally “Pinkwashes” is playing into a stereotype of a conniving Jew.

      Apr 22, 2012 at 5:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daniele
      Daniele

      Well, she is right about one thing. She is certainly ineffectual and miserable. But I wouldn’t limit that description to her alone. What kind of “queer” activist tells everyone to stay closeted and denounces the idea of publicly identifying as gay on the grounds that it “introduces a binary”? Pathetic and wrong.

      These people are also incoherent. It is a bad thing when a country does a good thing because the good thing will distract attention from the bad things? OK. In that case, Israel should suppress gays and lesbians so that we can all focus on the so-called occupation. And about that occupation: there isn’t one. Israel departed the West Bank and it is now run by the Palestinian Authority. Gaza is run by Hamas. What these morons are complaining about is that Israel controls its borders with those 2 areas. Why doesn’t it have open borders? Because when it did have open borders not too long ago, human bombers flooded in and blew up a lot of Israelis. There is nothing to pinkwash. Israel is doing the right thing.

      Apr 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 35 · Martin made a fool of himself by saying, “@B:” People who self-identify as “supporters of Country X” ROFL what kindergarden let you out??”

      Martin, the word “idiot” does not do you justice. If you need an example of such people,
      look at http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_20217703/peninsula-readers-letters-march-21 and read the last “letter to the editor” (by a “self identified” supporter of Israel who “thinks” that the U.N. is its enemy, and who rants on the subject in general ad infinitum – I suspect most Israeli citizens would think this guy is a bit daffy as well). There’s about 5 of these nuts who have been issuing a continual stream of “letters to the editor” on their favorite topic, Israel, for years, while just about everyone else wishes that they would rant about something else for a change.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 12:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan
      Ryan

      The number and tone of the comments here does seem to give some credence to Puar’s idea that “the occupation of Palestine is one of the most contentious issues in queer organizing today.”

      Let’s try to keep in mind, the critique of Israel and pinkwashing grew out of the identification of a deliberate public relations strategy devised by the state of Israel to make Israel seem more appealing to Westerners (particularly Americans) who largely (according to market research) regard Israel as suspicious and hostile. By trumpeting Israel’s fairly progressive policies on LGBT rights to Western countries, the state of Israel hopes to sway peoples’ opinions and generate more tourism and international support. I’ll repeat this part: This is a deliberate and documented strategy devised by the Israeli government.

      The fact that other Arab countries might be terrible places for queer people to live does nothing to change the fact that Israel is trying to use LGBT rights as a way to polish its public image so there will be less international pressure against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

      Nobody’s saying that it isn’t a good thing that Israel has progressive–if limited–LGBT rights. But the government is trying to harness that kind of social progress to distract westerners from its retrogressive treatment of Palestinians. And, sadly, it appears to be working.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 10:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dmitriy
      Dmitriy

      @Ryan:
      No the problem is that israel can do no right. Everytime the world Israel appears in the media, it’s gotta be related to he Palestinian issue.
      The idea of course is that everything that Israel does is for the sake of PR when you can’t ignore the fact that Israel has had progress on gay rights way before this government campaign.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • so yeah.
      so yeah.

      @Uh, no:

      homie economics, abortion, Palestine are all queer issues. it’s very dangerous to say that queer issues are only “queer” things. racism, sexism, ageism, and a lot of other shit intersect with queer identities.

      so please check yourself.

      Apr 24, 2012 at 11:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Berdie
      Berdie

      @Savannah: Nonsense. Well over a million Palestinian Arabs are citizens of Israel. They serve in government. A woman who was the freaking flotilla that broke an Israeli navy blockade was a Palestinian member of the Knesset.
      Contrast that with the fact that almost every Muslim country is Judenrein and get back to me. What complete nonsense.

      Apr 24, 2012 at 11:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Maverick
      Maverick

      Some of you people are insane. Blinded by far left anti-semitism. Listen folks – muslims murder gays. That’s all you need to know.

      Apr 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Myackie
      Myackie

      excellent comment!

      Apr 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Myackie
      Myackie

      @Dmitriy:

      and that sums it up…the ONLY reason why these whiners pretend to care about palestonians is because Israelis are Jewish…they must feel so good knowing how morally superior they are…quick! gay arabs are being killed in Syria…where are you now???

      Apr 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GayGOP
      GayGOP

      An occupation of Palestine? Umm, not really. The land was given to the Jewish people by the Government of that land when Israel was created. As the ruling government in London had the power to give the land of its colony to whomever it wished, there can be no occupation.

      If we are to call Israel an occupying force, I suppose those who want to return Israeli territory to its previous occupants want to do the same to the US. If they want to be consistent and oppose “occupations” everywhere, they ought to go back to Europe, Africa, Asia, or Oceana where their ancestors came from, and push for laws for the rest of us in the US to do so.

      Apr 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RHunter
      RHunter

      @Maverick

      They also murder Christians and Jews. Don’t forget that.

      Apr 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dave
      Dave

      Guys, walk down the street in Ramallah holding hands and kissing your boyfriend and see what happens. If you survive try it on Gaza city. If you won’t do that then don’t try to tell me that everything is fine in Palestine.

      Apr 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 53 · GayGOP wrote, “An occupation of Palestine? Umm, not really. The land was given to the Jewish people by the Government of that land when Israel was created.”

      The term “occupied territories”, A U.N. designation, refers to those areas seized by Israel after the 1967 war, and previously belong to Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. U.N. resolution 242 included an Israeli withdrawal from those areas as part of a peace settlement. Israel has withdrawn from Gaza (but controls Gaza’s airspace and coastline), but not from the West Bank.

      Attempts a quibbling and obfuscation will not change the facts.

      Apr 24, 2012 at 8:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh

      @B: Actually, your facts are wrong. Neither Jordan or Syria had legal sovereignty over the areas you reference, but took them over during the 1948 war with the new Israel. According to the UN plan you mention, the West Bank and Gaza were to be part of an independent Arab state that was to be established alongside the Jewish state – a plan REJECTED by Arab nations and Pal leadership.

      Bec Israel did not “occupy” this land from another sovereign nation, it can not be considered “occupied territories” under international law. If anything, they are “disputed territories” and their competing claims should be negotiated.

      Apr 26, 2012 at 2:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • marie
      marie

      Part of the contention over pink-washing is that is actively discredits the excellent work of PALESTINIAN LGBTQ activists who work out of the Occupied West Bank. Did anyone think of that??

      http://mondoweiss.net/2011/03/palestinian-lgbt-group-israeli-fantasies-about-being-democratic-are-absurd-the-belief-they-are-rescuing-us-is-pathetic.html

      May 15, 2012 at 4:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JR
      JR

      I highly recommend Professor Puar’s book ‘Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationialism in Queer Times’. Queerty is not a news source, please don’t treat it as such. It exemplifies the kind of homonormative/homonational biased rhetoric that Puar, Lisa Duggan, and many other scholars working in queer studies are fighting against.

      May 16, 2012 at 7:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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