Is Israel Using LGBT Rights As An Anti-Palestinian Marketing Tool?

Is it possible that the Israeli government is bolstering their country’s pro-gay image purely to attract LGBT tourists and paint their Palestinian neighbors as evil? Sarah Schulman, humanities professor at the City University of New York’s College of Staten Island thinks so… and her point may change the way you look at LGBT politics and advertising.

In her New York Times opinion piece “Israel and ‘Pinkwashing’,” Schulman writes:

In 2005, with help from American marketing executives, the Israeli government began a marketing campaign, “Brand Israel,” aimed at men ages 18 to 34… to depict Israel as “relevant and modern.” The government later expanded the marketing plan by harnessing the gay community to reposition its global image.

… the Tel Aviv tourism board had begun a campaign of around $90 million to brand the city as “an international gay vacation destination.” The promotion, which received support from the Tourism Ministry and Israel’s overseas consulates, includes depictions of young same-sex couples and financing for pro-Israeli movie screenings at lesbian and gay film festivals in the United States…

The growing global gay movement against the Israeli occupation has named these tactics “pinkwashing”: a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life. Aeyal Gross, a professor of law at Tel Aviv University, argues that “gay rights have essentially become a public-relations tool,” even though “conservative and especially religious politicians remain fiercely homophobic.”

Pinkwashing not only manipulates the hard-won gains of Israel’s gay community, but it also ignores the existence of Palestinian gay-rights organizations.

That would certainly explain why Islamophobe Michael Lucas was allowed to film his pro-Semitic porn epic Men of Israel within Isreal’s borders and why an employee of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office circulated a patently false video accusing anti-gay Palestinian protestors of working as covert terrorist operatives.

But it also makes you think twice about how some politicians make “It Gets Better” videos just to rake their opponents over the coals for not making one and about businesses that tout pro-LGBT policies and marketing partnerships while working donating to anti-gay politicians.

Although we need all the allies we can get, it pays to at least question what people stand to gain when they decide to publicly espouse pro-LGBT rhetoric.

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  • Ryan

    Really? I hate to break the news to Queerty but every country in the world does the same. Is the United States using Gay Rights to cover up it’s Human Roghts abuses in Iraq. Yes they do. In Canada one Canadian Province Nova Scotia advertises it self as gay friendly when it is known in Canada as Mississippi of the North under Jim Crow. Also what what makes this opinion Sarah Schulman uses Awsat who is a Palestinian Gay Rights Organization as one example but the organization is forced to operate in Israel becuase they can not do this in either the West Bank or Gaza and they even say this on their website (http://www.aswatgroup.org/content/members)

    “Most of Aswat members are “closeted” to some extent. Consequently, only one or two members can go public and identify themselves as Aswat members in our activities involving a certain amount of exposure i.e., advocacy & outreach, education etc. The ‘closet’ is an outcome of a homophobic and patriarchal society which has an undeniable impact on Aswat activities. Yet, group members develop different strategies in order to participate in various activities. For example, some members use nicknames when presenting themselves or reaching out to other community members, while others choose to promote activities which allow a reasonable degree of anonymity such as translations, Committee meetings, virtual support to others, information gathering, fundraising tasks etc. Thus, due to personal safety considerations, Aswat members have requested their names not to be disclosed.”

    Also Sarah Schulman is a member of the QuAIA an Anti Israel Organization in the Toronto area who most people hate because they wanted to turn Pride into a event all about them and managed to get all funded cut because of that .

    Also I’m wonder why other Middle Eastern Nations still for just being Gay people are hanged for it but oh Yes Israel is the bad guy. I still wondering why in Israel everyone has equality and full equal rights. Maybe Sarah Schulman should consider moving to Gaza under Hamas and be openly gay. I wonder what Hamas would do to her?

  • Kev C

    Someone’s been listening to WBAI too long. Liberal jews are sounding more orthodox everyday.

  • Ari

    I think Lee Walzer the author of Between Sodom and Eden: A Gay Journey Through Today’s Changing Israel.

    He says in the Letter to the New York Times:(quoting from the website)http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/24/opinion/examining-israels-gay-rights-record.html?_r=1&ref=

    “Israel and ‘Pinkwashing,’ ” by Sarah Schulman (Op-Ed, Nov. 23), is the perfect example of critics of Israel refusing to accept any good news related to that country.

    The Israeli government is undoubtedly highlighting Israel’s largely progressive stance on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and thriving gay culture.

    That’s what’s called public diplomacy, and it’s what all countries, including the United States, do.

    To label this as somehow sinister must mean that the United States is engaged in “jazzwashing” or “techwashing” when it uses music or touts its high-tech innovators to audiences and opinion makers overseas.

    Israel, like any other democracy, has its flaws. Its settlement policy is destructive, the occupation of the West Bank is untenable and its government is furthering the country’s isolation and distancing it from its original vision of being a “light unto the nations.” It is also quite advanced on lesbian and gay rights; we can only hope to make such progress here one day.

    Rather than bashing Israel for promoting its lesbian and gay community (whose progress, considering the clout of religious political parties ever since the state’s founding, is all the more remarkable), Ms. Schulman ought to take off her blinders and laud such change.

    There’s no pinkwashing here. Many of us can see Israel as it is, warts and all, and be happy that, with respect to lesbian and gay rights, Israel is still trying to live up to its original vision.

    I wonder will she say USA is Pinkwashing? Canada? United Kingdom? I hope she moves to Iran or Gaza if she thinks these societies are better.

  • Johann

    It’s quite simple for me: Palestine kills the gays, and would kill the gays regardless of whether Israel exists or not, hence I don’t give a flying fuck about Palestine.
    The Palestinian society embraces homophobia to the point where they feel completely justified in murdering gay people, so I hope Israel eradicates them (Take note that the pockets of entrenched conservative Islam in Palestinian society removes the very notion of the Palestinian people evolving to abandon such murderous barbarity pretty much impossible).

    Homophobic murderers are less than human, and I pity the gay fool who would have mercy on those that would have them humiliated and destroyed. To be gay and support Palestine is like being a jew who supports the third Reich, or like being a member of GOProud.

  • Chris

    So now Israel is getting attacked for being one of the only places in the Middle East that is pro-gay?

  • avr

    I’ll echo the “Fuck the society that actually wants to murder me” thing. Israel’s not perfect, but given the choice between living there or any Islamic country, I know what I’d pick.

  • JayKay

    Israel is the only country in the region that isn’t a complete hellhole for gays.

    Of course she’s a humanities professor from New York, so she probably thinks that’s just Jew propaganda, and I’m merely a puppet of the oppressive Zionist regime for pointing it out.

  • TedSmitts

    Israel is perfectly happy to continue war-crimes against Palestinians, gay, straight, or other. I guess that’s true equality!

  • CBRad

    @JayKay: If somebody is a Humanities professor in NYC, or any college, actually, it’s going to mean he or she has no sane connection with the very real world and harsh facts. They live in a world of floaty ideas, which is fine for school, where students are supposed to play with different points of view, but make no practical sense once they leave college.

  • Chris

    This is rather old news, but I always found the “GAY Israel!” adverts to be really odd. I mean, I guess every group gets targeted for commercial advertising, but casting Israel as a gay resort just seemed like such an odd mix. I could sort of understand the Op-Eds attacks from the view of someone who thought Palestinians’ civil rights are being violated (just assuming their viewpoint here), and that it is odd that there is no cognitive dissonance in supporting another group’s civil rights…

    But I find the “it is good for the Middle East” debate to be odd. I don’t think regional attributes add or negate anything about a country’s record on rights, especially since Israel is sort of a EU/USA immigrant country itself.

  • Rashid

    @TedSmitts: You Said it, TedSmitts.

  • Eyal

    I hate Israel bashers, they want Israel to live up to double standards and excuse murderous Palestinians and their muslim brethern. Israel is a blessing for the whole world and people who don’t see that are willing to allow another holocaust.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @Johann: I’m not so sure the situation is as you describe it. I went to Israel and the PA last year. Here’s my take

    1) Tel Aviv is more pro-Gay than anywhere else in the Middle East. But many, if not most people in Tel Aviv despise the Netanyahu government and their extremely conservative allies on the West Bank.
    2) The area in dispute between Israel and the PA (e.g., the West Bank) really is anti-Gay on both sides. Even Jeruasalem has no Gay bar and stabbings and extreme violence against Gays takes place on a regular basis from the supporters of Netanyahu’s government. Netanyahu’s government has some extremely anti-Gay ministers that virtually ignore Israeli law.
    3) Hamas is awful on Gay rights. But they only rule in Gaza. The PA has its problems but the PA and Jordan are the only Arab countries where being Gay is legal. I’m not sure that if you compare Ariel (a Netanyahu supporting Orthodox City on the West Bank) with Ramallah (a PA city in the West Bank), that you’ll find much difference between the two places.

    On the whole, Israel is better than the PA. But that is largely due to the influence of Tel Aviv’s liberals, who don’t support the Netanyahu government. Which to me is the big issue. You have an anti-Gay government (extremist anti-Gay parties like Shas and Avignor Liberman’s parties are part of Netanyahu’s government) using policies they’d like to get rid of (and frequently ignore until the courts step in) as a rationale to convince people they demean and despise (read about what Shas has to say about Gay people) to support their policies. Many, if not a majority of the liberals in Tel Aviv don’t support the Israeli settlers movement and vote against Netanyahu.

  • JayKay


    Self defense is not a war crime.

  • Kev C

    @Sarah Schulman: I see.

    You should also be aware that Disneyland targets children! Children from around the world, including israel and palestine, can come to Disneyland and have fun.

    We simply can’t allow this to happen.

  • Derek

    As a Canadian I can say I’ve never heard Nova Scotia referred to as “Mississippi” of the north. What on earth does that mean?

    Regardless it sounds like some people are just bitter that there are reasons to like a country they have been told they have to hate. I seriously doubt they have freedom and democracy in Israel simply as a marketing tool, that is absurd. Especially considering in Europe and North America liking Israel and not liking gay rights often go hand in hand, who are they marketing themselves towards? It seems much more likely that they are simply more educated and have a freer culture than their neighbors currently do.

  • TedSmitts


    It is when you use white phosphorous against a civilian population.

  • Joetx

    The annual attacks during Gay Pride in Jerusalem has shown that Israel is NOT pro-gay.

    Homophobia is born out of ignorance, fear, & hatred, which are usually instilled by religions, especially the monotheistic ones. Judaism, Christianity, & Islam are ALL guilty of this. To say that one side is worse in order to mask Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians (making them live in squalor, withholding water & electricity, etc.) & the breaking of international law (i.e., building settlements in the Occupied Territories) is pathetic.

    We LGBT people are the most persecuted people in the world. We should be standing with other victims of persecution, not with the persecutors.

  • Kev C

    If Palestinian LGBTs think “it’s a trap”, they shouldn’t patronize Israel’s pro-gay infrastructure. If they do decide to patronize it, they can’t complain about being used to pinkwash tourism because it’s their own decision.

    But it appears to me that Palestinian LGBTs are benefiting from it.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @Joetx: But while we should find similar cause with those that are oppressed, we must insist on support for our support. I think that the PA has some work to do before they EARN our support. The Netanyahu government (at least the Shas/Lieberman ministries) isn’t really our friend, but lets insist on accountability on all sides.

    Lets not get played by EITHER side.

  • CBRad

    @Joetx: Well….maybe the suffering of the Palestinians is a type of godly justice (doled out by Zeus or Jupiter) for being the persecutors and killing homosexuals.

  • Kev C

    Bad people aren’t allowed to do anything good because it messes up the whole enemy classification system.

  • shannon

    They would not need “self defense” if they did not steal land…and identities that did not belong to them!

  • TedSmitts

    @Kev C:

    They… don’t just give you a pass over into Israel from Palestine to go clubbing for a night. They don’t let ambulances through, much less a gay conga-daisy-chain.

  • Kev C

    @TedSmitts: One of the arguments being made is that they DO go clubbing and interact and organize with others, and are being exploited for propaganda by pro-israel groups because they do. But the fact is, they are benefiting as a result of the interaction.

  • D Campbell

    @Shannon — yeah you know Jews have no historical claim to that part of the world…

  • Johann


    “We LGBT people are the most persecuted people in the world. We should be standing with other victims of persecution, NOT WITH THE PERSECUTORS.”

    What? Palestine persecutes us – or did you forget that? To cry for the slow destruction of those who would have us humiliated and destroyed is blatant stupidity and extremely disrespectful to gays. Unless Palestine has some kind of miraculous streak of liberalism bringing tolerance for sexual minorities, I don’t give a damn about Palestinians being killed and/or having their land “stolen” by Israel. In fact I like the idea of having a Islamic homophobic society being continuously humiliated and slowly destroyed (especially by people of a religion who they deem to be worse than dogs).

  • asaf

    let me see if I get this right;
    1) Hammas is executing the “catch of the week” gay people every Friday in the main sq. of Gaza.
    2) Israel is the only country in the middle east where the openly LGBT are totally integrated into the society (politics, economy, army etc.), enjoy freedoms and security, as well as providing asylum to Muslim LGBT.
    and still, North American and European “Human Rights” groups target Israel because of just that?
    Is it really Human Rights that these groups care about? Why are the silent when Gays are executed in the Arab world? or When Hammas is practicing laws that allow the husband to murder his wife just because? Or when Palestinians are been murdered by Palestinians for political reasons (by far more than those who are killed in the conflict with Israel)?
    Are those casualties not entitled under the category of “Human” for those “Human Rights” groups just because Israel is not part of the violence?

    If this in not Neo Antisemitism then what is?

  • Cam

    Is this a joke????

    In Palestine gays are arrested, tortoured, and murdered. And yet this story takes the ONE country in the area where not only are gays allowed to live, but they can legally serve in the military and foreign gay marriages are recognized and tries to minimize it??

    I could just as easily accuse articles like this of trying to white wash the Palestinians anti gay laws.

    This article is just like trying to say that the U.S. only allows women rights to look good to other countries. Beyond ridiculous. Once again Queerty is attacking anything that smacks of pro-gay.

  • skzip888

    If any country tried to guilt me into supporting their foreign policy just because if my sexual orientation, I would not stand for it. I don’t care what your resume looks like, or how bad the regime next door is. That being said, I’m not seeing much hard evidence that these campaigns are trying to make Gays more IDF-friendly; for all I know, they could be trying to make Israelis more Gay-Friendly.

    I don’t look at Michael Lucas’s stuff any more because he seems to be fanatically worshiping at the alter of his own inflated ego. It’s a pity, some of those guys looked hot.

  • Jayson

    @Ryan: Ryan said it best, and Im so happy he was first to pipe in. This idea of pinkwashing is entirely ludicrous. It shocks me that people can actually think that a country supports gay rights to cover up other political issues. Every country has a right to brand its strengths. No one accuses the US of affording us freedom of speech, speechwashing, by covering up our wrongs to our own people. Its a double-standard when it comes to Israel bec…well, its an easy target. This movement that has created Pinkwashing gets to have the badge as a “progressive activist” without any consequences of retaliation. They cant fight human/gay rights issues in Iran or other Middle Eastern countries, because their lives can be at risk. Oh, and Israel is the “world capital of in vitro fertilization” as per the NY Times, offering free IVF treatment to all (gay/straight, arab/israeli)- lets create a term called babywashing, because they are obviously offering this to get ppl to stop thinking of the “occupation”

  • slanty

    I immediately thought of LucasArts when I saw Lucas Entertainment.

  • Keith

    The most disturbing part of Ms. Schulman’s editorial is the following.

    “What makes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies so susceptible to pinkwashing — and its corollary, the tendency among some white gay people to privilege their racial and religious identity, a phenomenon the theorist Jasbir K. Puar has called “homonationalism” — is the emotional legacy of homophobia. Most gay people have experienced oppression in profound ways — in the family; in distorted representations in popular culture; in systematic legal inequality that has only just begun to relent. Increasing gay rights have caused some people of good will to mistakenly judge how advanced a country is by how it responds to homosexuality.”

    So, my experience of oppression or freedom in any society is not a reflection of that society’s level of tolerance or civil rights, but merely a measure of my own “homonational” brainwashing. I should leave it to more enlightened people, such as Ms. Schulman, to tell me whether I’m better off in a society where my marriage will be recognised or one where I’m likely to be stoned in the town square.

  • chink change

    I have news for the Jews! According to their theology, when ha Masiach returns, there won’t be any gay marriage in Israel. It will be punishable by death, just like the Law of Moses says it should be. Stick that in your menorah and light it.

  • JohnAGJ

    @TedSmitts: Well I guess you’re right about “true equality” then since Palestinians are “perfectly happy to continue war-crimes against [Israelis], gay, straight, or other”. Then of course there are the war crimes against against rival factions, Arab Christians, and let’s not forget all Jews in general no matter where they are from. I have no problems with taking the Israeli government to task for it’s policies but this black-and-white view where we bash Israel for anything and everything is not only myopic but dangerous. I’d rather be a gay man in Israel, even with the ultra-Orthodox element there, than one in Palestine or any other predominantly Muslim country. My lifespan and quality of life would certainly be better. You may choose to ignore the obvious but I will not.

  • JohnAGJ

    @Sarah Schulman: So when are you going to exhibit the courage of your convictions by opening a branch office of Aswat or any of the other groups you mention in Ramallah, Nazareth or Hebron? C’mon now, the Israelis are obviously so eeeevil and just using gays while the enlightened Palestinians are just peachy-keen about gays.

  • chip1218

    @Derek: I myself noticed some weird shit when I was in Halifax from December 2009-June 2010 visiting my partner while he was at Dalhousie U. There was a cross burning on the lawn of an interracial couple outside of Halifax, there was consistent complaints in the news about the taxi/cab drivers verbally assaulting lgbt passengers, physically assaulting lesbians (trying to turn them straight), and refusing to drive lgbt passengers in their cars. However, outside of Halifax might be redneck, but Halifax has a huge Arab population. That makes things very difficult for many lgbts (and all females) as they are leaving Reflections and the other clubs downtown after last call. The Arab men that hang out there (I assume they are all Arab because they are blasting Arab music from their car stereos) grope and try to grab the women as they walk by (similar to what seemed to be going on in Tahir Square in Cairo). It got to the point that the women in my partner’s department couldn’t go out unless they felt they had enough men with them to keep them safe! I was shocked to see all this going on, but then again, people from throughout the world see the tv/movies about the US and think everything is like NY and LA, then they go to a university somewhere in the middle of nowhere and realizes how backwards parts of the USA can be!

  • chip1218

    As for this whole argument that Israel is using the LGBT community as a publicity stunt, that might be possible if not for what Israel has done in the past…

    Same sex sex has been decriminalized since 1988 (on par with liberal Europe)
    Non-discrimination for employment due to sexual orientation since 1992
    LGBTs can serve openly in the military since 1993
    Same sex marriage has been recognized since 2006

    Oh, and Israel sent a transgendered contestant to the Eurovision contest representing Israel in 1998 – Dana International.

    So, if you are going to talk about Israel focusing on LGBT rights NOW just to screw with the Arabs, you are a few decades off on when that started happening. Israel has been providing more rights to its LGBT citizens and residents than most European countries provide, and has been progressing in that direction for over 20 years.

  • chip1218

    As for this whole argument that Israel is using the LGBT community as a publicity stunt, that might be possible if not for what Israel has done in the past…

    Same sex sex has been decriminalized since 1988 (on par with liberal Europe)
    Non-discrimination for employment due to sexual orientation since 1992
    LGBTs can serve openly in the military since 1993
    Same sex marriage has been recognized since 2006

    Oh, and Israel sent a transgendered contestant to the Eurovision contest representing Israel in 1998 – Dana International.

    So, if you are going to talk about Israel focusing on LGBT rights NOW just to screw with the Arabs, you are a few decades off on when that started happening. Israel has been providing more rights to its LGBT citizens and residents than most European countries provide, and for over 20 years.

  • Basic test of LGBT equality

    Does Israel recognize marriage equality? No.

    Israel typically bans gay adoptions.

    Israel does not typically recognize non-Israeli, non-Jewish spouses or partners for immigration purposes.

    That puts it in a similar class as Florida, Alabama or Arizona. Hardly “progressive,” unless compared to Iran or Saudi Arabia.

  • Henry

    @chip1218, that has nothing to do with Schulman’s intelligent and fair-minded critique. A public relations campaign and $90 million spent to promote gay tourism can’t be explained away, not that you tried to show she was wrong about either of those things. These political moves are about as genuine as an anti-gay college professor insisting, after his rape of a gay boy, that he “has a lot to offer” gay men everywhere (gay men who presumably are just waiting to jump on his dick).

  • Basic test of LGBT equality

    “Same sex marriage has been recognized since 2006”

    No it has not. Israeli law does not permit same-sex marriage. In certain, limited situations (such as medical decisions), the Israeli government may — emphasize MAY — choose to recognize a same-sex marriage abroad. The law gives the government the ability to ignore a same-sex marriage if it gets “in the way of administration.”

    No Israeli may get a recognized legal same-sex marriage inside Israel itself.

    So Israelis are “permitted” to go abroad to get married in a foreign country and come back and *possibly* have their marriage recognized, in an arbitrary way.

    Hardly progressive.

  • chip1218

    @Basic test of LGBT equality: Israel recognizes marriage equality since 2006. It also will recognize the non-Jewish, non-Israeli spouse in an application for immigration. When my partner was afraid he’d lose his visa to the US, we spoke with the Israeli consulate and they had no problem recognizing him as my spouse if the marriage was done legally in a state in the USA that recognized gay marriage. As for adoptions, I haven’t done the paperwork myself, but I believe the Israeli Supreme Court has sided with same sex couples in the adoption process since 2005/2006. Sorry, you seem to be 5 years off on your facts there.

  • Basic test of LGBT equality

    “Israel recognizes marriage equality since 2006”

    No it doesn’t.

    Same-sex marriage is illegal in Israel. No Israeli may get a legally-recognized same-sex marriage within Israel.

  • Basic test of LGBT equality

    “Israel recognizes marriage equality since 2006”

    No it doesn’t.

    Same-sex marriage is illegal in Israel. No Israeli may get a legally-recognized same-sex marriage within Israel.

    I call attention to the first sentence in the Wikipedia link being cited by Israeli propagandists:

    “Same-sex marriage cannot legally be performed in Israel, because only government-recognized religious authorities — all of whom disallow same-sex marriage — may officiate marriages.”

    That’s not “marriage equality.”

  • Eastwood

    The professor of law’s opinion (which Schulman quoted) should be given the proper weight. He knows that Israel, like every other country, uses gay rights as a propaganda tool, and this puts the country’s support of gay rights into serious doubt. This isn’t to say that the country is anti-gay, only that it isn’t actually pro-gay…

  • Cam

    @chink change: said…

    “I have news for the Jews! According to their theology, when ha Masiach returns, there won’t be any gay marriage in Israel. It will be punishable by death, just like the Law of Moses says it should be. Stick that in your menorah and light it.”

    You sound like a bigot.
    The Jews are the only major world religion where a majority of their branches OFFICIALLY support gay rights. The Reform church, the largest branch, supports gay marriage. The Conservative branch, also CURRENTLY performs same sex commitment ceremonies. Compare that to the Vatican, the Islamic Clerics, the Mormons, the Protestants, etc…

  • chip1218

    @Basic test of LGBT equality: And same sex marriages weren’t performed in New York State until July 2011, yet the state recognized marriages performed elsewhere for many years before that. There are other countries that don’t perform same sex marriages in their own country, but will recognize a citizen’s marriage performed elsewhere, which is better than what many European countries offer.

    I already went through the process looking to protect my relationship with my partner who’s from another country, and Israel was one of the few countries that offered a clear path towards immigration for both of us.

  • Cam

    @Sarah Schulman:

    Another self hating desperate pseudo intellectual trying to do ANYTHING to justify their feelings of dissatisfaction and willing to sell their souls for the possibility of a PHD.

    Sorry Sarah, but until you open up a branch of ANY pro-gay group in Palestine, your comments are nothing more than to try to negate the truth about a country that DOES give gays rights.

    Your hatred of ISreal is MUCH more real to you than any concern you pretend to have about GLBT’s and our rights.

  • Henry

    @Cam: Cam, that’s a pretty pointless thing to say. You cited just two sects, out of how many? Seven, if we’re being generous, since there are only seven large Jewish sects. If Judaism had six or seven dozen of large sects, like the Christians do (I’m being exTREMEly generous here), that would be different.

  • Ari

    @Henry: and what does Judaism the religion have to do with Israel the nation?

  • Henry

    @Ari: you’ll have to ask Cam about that, since he’s the one who brought up Judaism.

  • Miriam

    This is kind of like comparing San Fransisco to Texas politics/politicians and saying, “See, America might LOOK gay friend, but…!”

  • comus

    I’m perplexed by this article as well as by many of the comments. Tom in Lazybrook’s brief analysis points to the wheels-within-wheels aspect of the topic. Liberal Israelis are vexed by conservative politicians at least as much as tourists and armchair diplomats are, but their progressive stance towards LGBTs is apparent to me. The opportunistic exploitation of progressive culture by conservative politicians is cynical and perhaps indicative of hypocrisy, but that ploy doesn’t change the underlying reality.

  • chuck

    So all of the straight politicians in the US that are pro-LGBT are just doing that to get re-elected?! That means that NY professors who state that they are pro-LGBT are saying that because they want to get tenure? A lot of anti-Semitism seems to leaking out of this article.

  • Cam

    @Henry: said…

    “@Cam: Cam, that’s a pretty pointless thing to say. You cited just two sects, out of how many? Seven, if we’re being generous, since there are only seven large Jewish sects. If Judaism had six or seven dozen of large sects, like the Christians do (I’m being exTREMEly generous here), that would be different.”

    Nice try. It’s pointless is it? Really? Between Reform and Conservative jews…the two movements out of 4, contain nearly 90% of all American Jews.

    They ordain women and gays and perform marriages. Funny how you can call that pointless, sounds like there is something else going on here.

  • Henry

    Fuck Queerty for moderating comments. Bigots always get the better deal when comments are moderated.

  • Tommy

    Why does it matter why a country gives gay people equal rights? As long as they do, that’s a good thing. I agree Israel is much better on gay issues than Arab countries and they should be praised for that. But at the same time, the way Israel treats the Palestinians is wrong. We can praise Israel for it’s stand on gay issues, but that doesn’t mean we have to overlook its violation of human rights in other areas.

  • Cam

    @Henry: said…

    “Fuck Queerty for moderating comments. Bigots always get the better deal when comments are moderated.”

    Bigots, you mean like the people in Palestine who arrest and kill gays?

  • SteveC

    The Palestinians deserve their own contiguous, independent, demilitarised state. There’s no arguement against that.

    The idea that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank or the economic blockade of Gaza is somehow justified by Israel’s gay rights record, is absurd.

  • the crustybastard


    The Palestinians WERE given just that state by the disintegration of the British Mandate.

    It was 77% of the territory, an Arab state called Transjordan (now Jordan). But the Palestinians’ relentless attacks on the government of Jordan (and Israel) got the Palestinians kicked out of their own country in 1970.

    That’s not Israel’s fault, but they get the blame, because when you’re an Arab, it’s The Jew’s fault your milk went sour.

    The Palestinians are a burr under everyone’s saddle, and the architects of their own misery. Like every other bunch of religious extremists, their leadership refuses to learn how to get along with others, and they refuse to learn how to negotiate. All they know how to do is victimize others while claiming to be the victims of circumstance.

    It’s absolutely sickening how the Palestinians select leadership from the ranks of terrorists who have no skills beyond provoke, provoke, and provoke to instigate reprisals that injure regular people who are just trying to make a living. If they want real change, THEY need to change their tactics, dramatically.

    Granted, at least they’re not hijacking commercial airliners or attacking Olympic dormitories anymore.

    So I guess that’s…progress.

  • Kev C

    @SteveC: The “pinkwashing” is a bit exaggerated. A pro-israel group puts out a flier and it’s soooo outrageous:

    Exploiting pro-gay for tourism like every gay marriage state in the US, and some of those gay tourist dollars are reaching Palestinian lgbts!

  • Scott Rose

    @chink change: People interested in understanding whose “fault” it is that the bellicosities continue between Israel and the Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank should look at the UN Partition Plan of 1947. It defined a two state solution, and additionally would have made Jerusalem an internationally administered protectorate with no bias exercised towards or against any one religion. The Arabs, not Israel, rejected that two state solution. Their announced aim was to wipe Israel out immediately after its founding. How can you tell that the Israelis were sincere when, in their Delcaration of Independence, they told the Arab inhabitants of the land they should not be hostile and should instead join as equals in governing the new democracy? For one, there is an Arab judge on Israel’s Supreme Court. For another, a wealthy Arab of any nationality may buy private property in Isreal, but in both Gaza and the PA-controlled West Bank, the penalty for selling property to a Jew (not to an Israeli, to a Jew) is death. What might Sarah Schulman have to say about that? She intimates in her editorial that gay Palestinians in Gaza and the PA-controlled West Bank are free to express themselves as they please — but they absolutely are not. Why is Sarah Schulman not demanding that Hamas issue a permit for a pride parade in Gaza City and for the organizers of that pride parade then to advertise it as a destination for interested persons from all over the world? Where should one look for Sarah Schulman’s direct calls to the Palestinian leadership to respect the human and civil rights of the gay people living in the areas under their control? This is how you know that something stinks in Schulman’s brand of advocacy – she is more interested in attacking Israel than in taking a stand for human rights, still less for gay rights (which are human rights). She even mentioned the supposed evil of Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, as though the checkpoints hadn’t been put in place because suicide bombers were coming out of that area into Israel and killing people. Remember – an Arab may buy private property in Israel, but in Gaza and the PA-controlled West Bank, the penalty for selling land to a Jew is death. How is that for human rights? You will be killed if you sell your property to a Jew.

  • Scott Rose

    PS — the headline of this post looks at the matter the wrong way (as does Schulman’s Times editorial). An anti-Palestinian marketing tool? Firstly, countries normally do whatever they can to promote their tourism industry. There is open LGBT culture in Israel, and LGBT tourists have an interest in LGBT friendly places, so it makes sense for Israel to advertise this aspect of the country. If the “sides” in the Israeli/Palestinian dispute wanted to propagandize internationally on the basis of their laws on LGBTers, then the Palestinians should in theory have an easy time convincing US fundamentalists to support Hamas, no? The US Congress is dominated by vicious anti-gay bigots at the moment, so again, in theory, Israel advertising itself as pro-gay while Hamas is solidly in “the only good gay is a silent dead gay” should result in Republican support for Hamas rather than for Israel. Yet it doesn’t. Why is that? We do after all have our Sally Kerns that say gays are worse than terrorists. The notions that 1) Israel is “anti-Palestinian” and has a permanent hostile intent against all Palestinians and 2) Israel is trumpeting its civil acceptance of LGBTers in order to bolster its permanent hostile intent against all Palestinians, are idiotic.

  • CBRad

    @Basic test of LGBT equality: Israel does allow openly gay men in the military, including Special Forces, and has declared it has no detrimental effect on troops or operations whatsoever. (I’m not getting into the whole Israel/Palestinian debate here, but…just another reminder of a pro-gay Israel factor).

  • JohnAGJ

    @Basic test of LGBT equality: Actually, in a perverse way, it IS equality. I believe that in Israel marriage is only conducted by authorized religious authorities. Those wishing for civil marriages or religious ones not deemed authorized usually go to places like Cyprus and fly back where their marriages are recognized regardless of seuxal orientation. Israel made a Faustian bargain of sorts decades ago on such things as marriage with Jewish, Christian and Muslim authorities which its largely secular population has increasingly chafed under. It’s not solely limited to LGBT people but everyone.

  • MSW 1031

    Queerty funny that you chose the day when the U.N. voted yes for creation of the State of Israel , resolution 181,as if you did not know. Just come out and say that you think israel should not exist. Shock of the century a white secular middle class blog such as this has hatred for something that not vapid and shallow.You would like it if Iran tried to destroy israeli citys so you can blame if when it fights back. You and people like make it so hard for me as gay jew to defend our orientation to Jews who lost family and friends,myself included, defending my rights from people like you . Good for you Queerty .

  • Lillian Faderman

    Sarah Schulman suggests that Israel, in its diabolically cunning way (now where have we heard that before about the Jews?), started a cynical campaign in 2005 to improve its image, and that campaign included an appeal to progressives who support LGBT rights. Yet the fact is that LGBT rights in Israel go back LONG BEFORE 2005. Since the 1980s and 1990s, Israeli LGBT people have enjoyed rights that predated or exceeded those rights given to LGBT people in America–and almost anywhere else in the Western world. And the struggle for them in Israel has been nowhere near as prolonged or difficult as it has been in America and most of Europe.
    I’ll limit myself to just a few examples of those rights enjoyed by ALL LGBT citizens of Israel, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim:
    –In 1988, all sodomy laws were abolished in Israel.
    –In 1992, Israel passed a law protecting any LGBT citizen (Jewish, Christian or Muslim) from employment discrimination.
    –In 1994, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled on favor of spousal benefits for same-sex couples— regardless of whether they were Jewish, Christian, or Muslim .
    –In 2004, Israeli lesbian or gay couples (Jewish, Christian or Muslim) were given the right to qualify for common-law marriage status.
    –In 2005, the same year that Schulman says Israel began its suspicious attempts to show that LGBT people were welcomed there, Israeli legislation recognized all same-sex marriages performed abroad.
    The only place in the Middle East that Arab LGBT people can organize OPENLY is Israel. Al Qaws holds its “Palestinian Queer Parties” in a gay bar in Tel Aviv. Aswat, the Palestinian lesbian organization, held its conference at Tel Hai College in Northern Israel. Jerulaselem Open House hosts meetings of Arab Israeli LGBT people and organizations.
    Since 2002, the Refugee Rights Clinic at Tel Aviv University has been fighting for asylum for LGBT Palestinians who fear for their lives in the territories. A 2008 academic report NOWHERE TO RUN, on gay Palestinians who seek asylum in Israel, records experiences of, for example, a gay man living in the West Bank who was set on fire as punishment for his sins; another who was immersed for days in filthy water up to his neck; another who was sodomized with a coke bottle by West Bank police who taunted him, asking whether it was as good as a cock up his ass.
    Regardless of how much Sarah Schulman and her ilk disapprove of Israel, what else but insane, irrational, obsessive hatred would cause them to see diabolic cunning in social decency? What else but insane, irrational, obsessive hatred would keep them from acknowledging that Israel is an oasis for LGBT people in a region of absolute horror?

  • chip1218

    @Henry: Plenty of countries and states within the United States spend millions of dollars promoting themselves as a destination for gay tourism, even though their government has policies against LGBT civil rights, let alone no protection for marriage. So until we create the definitive list of all places not to spend our gay dollars at, this enormous attack from the far-left wing of this country and others against Israel is as bad as the Fox News types that are claiming to be “fair and balanced” in their reporting.

    This article’s theme is nothing but propaganda itself. I disagree with the current government of Israel, and I think Netanyahu is a prick, but when push comes to shove, the government and the institutions of Israel will allow me to emigrate and recognize my relationship with my partner. The U.S. government would not afford the same rights if we were living in Israel and trying to move to the USA.

    The author should consider herself very lucky that she works for the City of New York. There are hundreds of higher education institutions in the United States that would not hire her or would fire her if they found out she was a lesbian and/or not Christian. You can’t say the same about Israel…

  • SteveC


    But a free, economically viable, independent Palestinian state remains essential.

    As it always has.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @comus: I stand by my comments. I challenge your assertion that Israel’s government is progressive.

    Please provide me the progressive stances on Gay rights by Shas or Avignor Lieberman. Or any Gay rights advance in Israel championed by Netanyahu in front of an Orthodox audience.

    I find it ridiculous that we should automatically support the settlers movement in Israel and the Netanyahu/Shas/Avignor government because the current government of Israel uses laws they’d like to get rid of (and frequently ignore) as a rationale to demand our support in an area (the West Bank/Jerusalem) where NEITHER side is pro-Gay. Netanyahu’s settlers movement demeans and despises us at every turn. They’ve earned no support from me. I support Tel Aviv because Tel Aviv supports me. But the settlers movement? Hell, no. When there is a Gay Pride march in Ariel (or in any Netanyahu/Shas/Avignor neighborhood that doesn’t need massive police protection from hordes of violent Orthodox crazies), call me. My guess is that they’ll probably be a Gay bar or Pride parade in Ramallah first. Its hypocrisy of the first order.

    Supporting Netanyahu’s government’s continuing settlements in the West Bank does exactly zero to advance Gay rights. Zero. I strongly support the liberal, secular Isrealis living in Newe Tzederot and Tel Aviv. I fail to see the correlation between continuing Israeli settlements in the West Bank on Palestinian land and Tel Aviv’s security. I argue that the continuing settlements make Tel Aviv LESS not more safe.

    And that goes double for the anti-Gay conservatives in the USA who demand my support for policies that aren’t in secular Israel’s interest (e.g., support for the settlers) much less the USA’s or Gay peoples’ interest. People like arch-conservative/Republican Micheal Lucas, a smut merchant.

    I’ll support the left in Israel, as they’ve given our community ALL of the rights they hold today. And they’re not held hostage to the crazy settlers whose land grabs on the West Bank make peace much harder for everyone.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    Comus, after reading you’re post again, I’m not sure we’re disagreeing. I got your comments praising Isreals liberals and government confused. But to those who blindly support Netanyahu and settlements in the West Bank without question, you may respond with your defense of Shas/Lieberman/Netanyahu as Gay rights champions.

  • Ian

    Amazing responses here. It’s interesting how so many people reflexively say that Schulman is “self hating” or an out-of-touch academic, etc. I suppose Israel can do no wrong in some people’s eyes.

  • CBRad

    @Lillian Faderman: I’m generally supportive of Israel, but I don’t think everybody who criticizes that country is anti-semitic. In SOME cases, yes, but there really are those people who are “pro-Jewish” and “anti-Zionist”. Including a number of Jews.

  • comus

    @Tom in Lazybrook: Yes, you were confused. I’m sorry I wasn’t more clear.

  • kuy

    Maybe the point that some people seem to be missing is that, if we recognize the fact that Israel is one of the better places in the Middle East for gays, we shouldn’t get tunnel vision and forget that this same state also fiercely oppresses Palestinians. Certainly, there is no reason to believe that just because a state is nice to one minority, it is by nature nice to every other minority. But the issue is that, as the LGTB community, we need to thanks Israel for being as pro-gay as it can be, while at the same time offhandedly mentioning our disappointment over the fact that Palestinians are oppressed inside and outside Israel.

  • The Truth!

    Israel is the GAY HOMELAND.

    No country in the history of the world, anywhere, is more tolerant of gay people and more progressive on gay rights than Israel. It is a shining example of gay rights that all the rest of the world can only aspire to follow, years later, as it boldly forges ahead!*

    * Paid for by AIPAC, copyright 2011 Republican National Committee

  • CBRad

    @The Truth!: Well that’s the reason most gay men are automatically opposed to Israel (it’s practically one of the required gay “rules”). It’s decided that because Conservatives/Republicans/Christians are so supportive of Israel that …it HAS to be wrong.

  • Henry

    @Cam: No, I mean anti-Semites like you who support the Israeli state for political reasons but hate the Jewish people, including the Jewish people in the state of Israel.

  • JohnAGJ

    @Ian: No, not at all. I have no problems criticizing my own government for its failings, heck for Americans of all political stripes it’s practically a passionate hobby, Israel gets no special treatment in my eyes above my own country in that regard. What many folks here objected to, myself included, was this asinine attitude that Israel can do no good. Israel is subjected to a level criticism that I have yet to see folks like Ms. Schulman apply to Palestinians or Arab countries in general.

  • James from Canada


    Wow! many Liberals and even Muslims support Israel. Oh Yes! Conservatives are evil and yet in many European Nations Conservatives do support Gay Rights. So do many Progressive Conservatives on the Provincial Level in Canada do support Gay Rights. Also The Conservative Party of Canada( not Progressive Conservatives) for example uses the same ploys that Israel uses in showing how Gay Friendly Canada is even when most Federal conservatives are not usually Gay Friendly. I wonder could Tourism Canada be Pinkwashing too? Those Evil Canadians Again!

    Also since when do you speak for all gay people? Self Appointed are you? Yes! Yes! my comment must be paid for by AIPAC since Marxists in the 21st century have a hard time connecting to the people. The Truth I think you do not even know the truth is just Propaganda. So typical of Marxists who historically view Gay people as the unwanted people in their perfect utopia.

    I guess they are the real Pinkwashing just ask many Gay people that come from Marxist Societies they are usually in Jails for who the sleep with. Gay Left is the real Pinkwashing they follow a ideology that hates them even more then they think. Soviet Union hated Gays and in Russia is a very homophobic nation just as in the good old days when they were called the Soviet Union. I guess Useful Idiots are getting in bed with all kind of things these days.

  • CBRad

    @James from Canada: Don’t you DARE say any Conservatives support gay rights. Or at least don’t visit Manhattan and say it. The Andrew Belonskys and Towles will scream at you, “Hey!! You’re not being a good Gay-Gay!!”

  • James from Canada


    In different Countries Conservatives are different then those then in the United States. most Canadian Conservatives and Progressive Conservatives are not even close to the Republican Party. In Canada Progressive Conservative are Gay Friendly. The Conservative Party of Canada is some what it just depends on the region of Canada they are from. The same goes with European Conservatives many leaders of Conservative parties there are usually Gay

  • CBRad

    @James from Canada: Okay, then you’ll have to explain that to them. And be sure to be anti-Israel.

  • James from Canada

    @CBRad: are gay friendly and in Europe some Conservative party leaders are Gay themselves

  • James from Canada


    I do not think Americans really get it or can they even tell the difference between Conservative in Europe or Republican Party. In Russia a Conservative are usually the Communist Party ( left wing by American standards) So are many Conservatives in Europe are the usually liberal by American Standards. Conservatives are different in every society this is what I can not seem to understand why Americans do not get it nor does the far left in the United States.

    I have lived in Israel for 5 years and no I’m not a fan of the current government but Israel is Gay Friendly. Usually I can not really believe their stories. Yes Racism adn Homophobia does exist in Israel it even exist in Europe, Canada, and even in the United States and in most western nations. But usually in most cases the far left in the West have always hated Israel but they hate the USA even more. Since Both are rich Capitalism system and liberal Democratic system which they hate.

    They hate everything that does not go by their utopia. Also Marxist even hates Gays for who they are that why I say they are the real Pinkwahing.

  • James from Canada


    I do not think Americans really get it or can they even tell the difference between Conservative in Europe or Republican Party. In Russia a Conservative are usually the Communist Party ( left wing by American standards) So are many Conservatives in Europe are the usually liberal by American Standards. Conservatives are different in every society this is what I can not seem to understand why Americans do not get it nor does the far left in the United States.

    I”m not even Jewish and I’ve have lived in Israel from 2003-2008 and no I’m not a fan of the current government but Israel is Gay Friendly. Usually I can not really believe their stories. Yes Racism and Homophobia does exist in Israel it even exist in Europe, Canada, and even in the United States and in most western nations. But usually in most cases the far left in the West have always hated Israel but they hate the USA even more. Since Both are rich Capitalism system and liberal Democratic system which they hate.

    They hate everything that does not go by their utopia. Also Marxist have been historically anti gay which most on the Gay Left in the West. That why I say they are the real Pinkwahing.

  • CBRad

    @James from Canada: No no no! Marxists are great for ALL people. And pro-gay! You must be a classist racist man-creature, and you hate womyn too!

  • missanthorpe

    “Really? I hate to break the news to Queerty but every country in the world does the same.”

    Not every country carries out brutal occupations of other peoples.

  • Martin

    This is the stupidest article I have read in a week!

    Disguised as critical thinking it forwards the prejudices and antisemitic views of a self-labelled “intellectual” without a hint of critical evaluation. For Fucks sake there are any number of “experts” with an opinion they pass off as science to the gullible and journalist with dried up imagination.

    Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands UK all want LGBTQYXZ visitors because it means business, money, turn-over, profits morons!!

    And then theres the core issue… A LBGT youth confenrence in Tel Aviv was cancelled after pressure was brought to bear by palestinian gay rights organisations… Palestinian gay rights organisations? Yeah right! And i guess pigs fly quite often…

    Israel is a friendly place for gays to visit – and then its surrounded by hostile maniacs who want to kill its population. In WWII british and american planes firebombed german cities with the intent to kill as many civilians as possible. This is what “civilised” “humane” countries fighting for “peace” and “freedom” do when threatened on their existence. Give the Israelis a break!! They have the right to defend themselves!!

    Sorry excuse for journalism…

  • slanty

    @Martin you should be named Martini, and you shouldn’t be imbibing so early in the day.

  • Westwork

    I’m glad that Schulman brought up Netanyahu’s statement about women. It’s become almost common for conservative politicians and their lackeys to use women’s rights as an excuse to be anti-Arab, which demonstrates their total lack of respect for women and any interest in making the world better for women. Now they’re using gay rights to be anti-Arab. I think I see a trend. It’s almost as if the idea is to portray the feminine groups in society as helpless victims of strong, brown men. The protectors, of course, are straight white men. Their virility must be in question, because it’s uncertain what sort of contrast they make to the brown men. If they’re also strong, wouldn’t they be just as threatening as the brown men are? If they’re not strong, how can they protect the women?

  • Scott Rose

    @Westwork: Nobody is using gay rights “to be anti-Arab.” Everybody who speaks approvingly of Israel’s relative liberalism towards LGBTers (including towards Arab-Israeli LGBTers) thinks that all Arab LGBTers in all countries too should have those same, and even more rights. Don’t be an idiot.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @Martin: I encourage you to visit Jerusalem and the settlements in the West Bank to see how ‘progressive’ the Netanyahu government is. Don’t bring your Gay flag. If you do, you may be assaulted. And not by Arabs.

    Newe Tzederot/Tel Aviv is NOT representative of the Netanyahu government.

    What is Netanyahu partner Shas’ position on LGBT people? How about Avignor Lieberman? Can you find any evidence of any pro-LGBT statement in front of an Orthodox audience in Israel in Hebrew?

    Israel is better than its’ neighbors. But that doesn’t mean that it has earned our support in issues that only benefit those that despise and demean us (the far right in Israel).

    Please let me know exactly how supporting (often) virulently anti-Gay settlers on the west bank does anything to help the security of people in Tel Aviv/Newe Tzederot.

    If you wish to support virulently anti-Gay religious settlers on the West Bank, thats your business. But don’t try to portray those settler groups as any better than the PA on Gay rights. Unless you can show a difference between the two (PA versus Shas/Netanyahu/Lieberman). All of the gains that we have in Israel today are a result of the liberals living on the coast. Neither side on the West Bank has earned my support.

  • Scott Rose

    @Tom in Lazybrook:

    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

  • Westwork

    Scott Rose, your very uncertain, effeminate reply to me is a good example of the propaganda put out by anti-Arabs. I understand very well that race superiority is at stake in European attempts to portray Arabs negatively. Israel is following Europe’s lead on this, which is quite typical and highly problematic.

  • Martin

    @slanty: @slanty: @slanty: @slanty: Your “comment” is so funny im laughing out my lungs. Im surprised you are even able to form words into sentences

  • Martin

    @Tom in Lazybrook: Yeah maybe there are homophobes in Israel but was that the question? Muddying the argument by refferring to obscure nastiness in Israel kust goes to prove that you are a fanatical Israel hater. The issue was “pink-washing” which is dreamed up by paranoid antisemites whom gay people owe nothing

  • chip1218

    To all of you using the Shas party and Lieberman’s party as reasons to boycott Israel or dispute the rationale behind all of Israel’s policy decisions, here are a few facts –

    Israel is a parliamentary system, you need 50%+1 in the parliament to govern. If no party has enough seats, they must explore adding other parties to form a government.

    The last election had the Kadima party winning one more seat than Netanyahu’s Likud. However, Kadima’s leader Livni couldn’t get a coalition and so it was up to Likud to form a government. That government originally included the Labor Party and former Prime Minister Barak to form a unity government.

    If you look at all the European parliaments that are run as center-right, you will see that the leading party entered into government with the support of parties that are just as conservative/reactionary/xenophobic/religious/etc. as Shah and Lieberman’s party. So, if the basis of support of a country with your dollars is who they allow to be in control of government, there are a lot of European and developed nations you should add to the list of supporting racists and fanatics.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @chip1218: Shas is the government. And they have no equivalent in Western Europe that rivals them in any way on their level of hatred and abuse of Gay people (including the Republican Party in the USA).

    Shas isn’t some fringe part of the Netanyahu government. It, along with fellow homophobe Avignor Lieberman, run ministries. These ministries violate Israeli law in order to discriminate against Gay Israelis and force them to go to the courts to get justice denied to them by the Netanyahu government. And justice delayed is justice denied.

    Hatred of Gays outside of the coast is not rare. It is ubiquitous. Here’s a deal. Why not have a Gay Pride parade in the West Bank in an Israeli settlement. Or in a Shas neighborhood. See if you can do it without violence or a MASSIVE police presence. When that can happen, you can talk to me about the ‘progressiveness’ of Netanyahu’s government. Maybe Israel’s settler/Orthodox movement is anti-gay you ask? Are you on crack? Have you ever been outside of Newe Tzederot in Israel? I grew up in Mississippi and those crazies make Mississippi look tolerant. I’m not kidding. I felt safer in Ramallah. I’m also not kidding. And yes, I understand that Tel Aviv is very pro-Gay. And that the Arab world is generally bad on Gay rights. But I utterly fail to see much difference between the supporters of Netanyahu’s coalition and those in the PA (did you know that being Gay is NOT illegal in the PA – just FYI).

    No one has given any evidence whatsoever of ANY tolerance of Gays by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. There is no reason why Gays should support that which the liberals in Tel Aviv/Newe Tzederot don’t (Netanyahu’s land grabs on the West Bank).

    There is absolutely no parallel between the level of power that Shas and Liberman have in Israel and any Western European government. Yes, Shas might have an equivalent in Russia or Moldova…but neither of those governments deserve our support on issues that don’t impact us (settlements on the West Bank).

    Israel should be viewed on its merits and demerits. But look at the whole nation, not just one neighborhood in Tel Aviv. And overall, Israel is good (compared to its neighbors). But I can support Newe Tzederot while condemning abuses in the West Bank.

    Netanyahu cannot change the liberal laws on the coast (although his MAJOR coalition partners want to), so he uses them for what they are worth in the West. But that doesn’t mean that he supports us or that settlements on the West Bank are in the interest of the LGBT community in Israel or elsewhere.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @Scott Rose: Congratulations. You have one case. I note that the article notes that it is an “unexpected source”. When it becomes “expected” then you have a right to ask me to support Netanyahu’s settler allies.

    I’d invite you discuss this over a beer at Jerusalem’s Gay bar. Oops. There isn’t one (they have a drag show on Israel’s equivalent of a Tuesday night though). That speaks volumes as to the level of acceptance and tolerance of Gays outside of Tel Aviv.

    Again, I thank the religous settler for his humanity. But it is, unfortuantely, unexpected.

    Any Israeli’s on here who wish to vouch for the tolerance and support of LGBT Israelis in the West Bank? I didn’t think so. All I hear from them is “Go back to Tel Aviv”. Unfortunately, most LGBT persons in Israel cannot afford to live there.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    And finally, don’t think that I’m some crazy ‘sandalista’. I understand why Israel has to attack Gaza when it throws bombs over the border. I understand why the wall is there (although I’d like it to be in a different place). I’m not going on some boat to Gaza. I simply expect the reality to match the rhetoric. And Netanyahu’s coalition isn’t close to being there. Full stop.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @Martin: Have you even been to Isreal? Obscure nastiness? By several ministries. Last year was the first time Gays were able to assemble publically in their national capital without being assaulted and stabbed by Orthodox crazies. I haven’t even mentioned the crazy that shot up the Tel Aviv LGBT youth center until now.

    This whole issue is about Netanyahu’s hypocrisy. And the West Bank. Are many behind the pinkwashing movement misguided fools who want to support those that despise us? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a point. And I don’t think my point is the same as theirs. My point is that no one with a brief in the West Bank (e.g., the religious settlers or the PA) has earned my support. And I take strong exception (especially Netanyahu) to those who claim it without justification.

    Instead of worrying about WHO is right and WHO is wrong, you’d do better to concentrate on WHAT is wrong and WHAT is right. And Shas and Lieberman’s policies and supporters are wrong, IMHO. And so is the folly of making a bad situation worse by increasing Israeli settlements on the West Bank. Its not pollyannish, its reality.

    I’d love peace. But Netanyahu and his supporters want LAND. And what Netanyahu and his supporters want make Tel Aviv less not more safe for LGBT persons. Stop being played. And yes, I condemn the Arabs just as strongly when they misbehave.

  • chip1218

    @Tom in Lazybrook: Shas is not THE government, they don’t control the coalition. Just like any parliamentary democracy, Likud will come to agreements with its coalition partners so their won’t be a vote of no confidence. Shas exerts the same influence it always has even when they are in the opposition. That’s because they represent the religious right of Israel, those who don’t serve in the military and leech off the social-welfare system. I know full well that an overwhelming majority of those in Shas and the settlers in the West Bank are Ultra-Orthodox Jews that view LGBT Jews with disgust and contempt. But these people view anything that is secular and westernized with contempt – they would attack Lady Gaga, Madonna, the Hilton sisters, the Kardashians, etc. if they saw them walking on the streets like they do on TV. It’s not that they only have this animosity towards LGBT people. As for Lieberman’s party, that’s thanks to the huge influx of 1.5 million Russian “Jews.” I use quote marks because many of them never identified as Jewish nor knew of their Jewish heritage, but took advantage of the ability to leave the USSR and gain economic assistance by being able to prove as little as a Jewish great-grandparent.

    However, the review of the opinion piece in the NY Times and the comments that made up the first 50-60 on here were mainly pushing this belief that is totally incorrect, that the Israeli government in the past few years decided to market themselves and spend millions to promote Israel as gay friendly as a public relations ploy to discredit the Palestinian cause and its people. That is just a blatant lie. There have been advertisements for Israel in gay publications for over 10 years. This has been a marketing campaign since way before the current government was elected. When all eyes were on Israel for hosting the Eurovision awards in 1999, that’s when they probably began looking at spending millions on LGBT promotion, because Eurovision is one of the biggest gay parties in the world! It had nothing to due with politics. Now, as for why the Netanyahu government hasn’t canceled all the advertising campaigns, I have no clue. But I highly doubt Netanyahu is a homophobic bigot, his campaign manager from his first PM campaign in the 1990’s is openly gay and married to his partner.

    I got involved in these comments because people on here were outright lying about Israel’s protections and policies towards the LGBT community. I am an American citizen with no other citizenship, last year I inquired about the need to immigrate to Israel with my partner if he lost his US visa, the local consular office called me back, and asked me a few questions. Upon researching my situation, I am entitled to apply for citizenship, and my partner would be recognized as my spouse for the application as long as our marriage was performed in a country or US state that provides a legal wedding certificate. I didn’t have to jump through hoops, I didn’t have to ask an advocate for help, no immigration lawyer needed and the Israeli consular office did not treat me differently because I was gay. They told me that as of 2006 that this is the policy, and that is how their offices proceed on this issue. There are liberal European nations that wouldn’t be able to make that process as simple for us as Israel could. So when an poster here claims Israel doesn’t recognize same sex couples and doesn’t have protections for their LGBT citizens, they are only saying that because they have a problem with Israel, which calls into question the truthfulness of everything else they are saying.

    I have no desire to hang out with those settlers in the West Bank, just like I wouldn’t want to hang out with the rednecks in the Heart of Dixie.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @chip1218: Actually, you have to go to certain nations that have marriage equality. I don’t know why, but you can’t do it in Europe. You have to go to Canada for some strange reason.

  • chip1218

    @Tom in Lazybrook: Nope, the consulars office told me a marriage license from any US State is allowed, since I am an American citizen.

  • gary

    what a repulsive, laughable article. How dare israel remind the world that it’s a liberal democracy when we all know it’s full of EVIL JEWS!

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