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Jewish Statehood Now A Liability In Promoting Israeli Tourism To Gays

At Berlin Gay Pride in June, the city of Tel Aviv will have a booth at the festival, encouraging attendees of Europe’s largest pride event to spend a few shekels touring the gay mecca of the Middle East. But they’ll be working extra hard to hide the fact that Tel Aviv is, uh, a city in Israel — because apparently the Jewishness of it all is a turn off to potential tourists.

In Berlin, where the celebration is known as Christopher Street Day, the Tel Aviv booth will eschew any Israeli branding or symbols, which of course includes the white-and-blue Star Of David flag. It’s all part of an effort to make everyone forget where on the map the city lies. Ynet explains:

Berlin Municipality invited Tel Aviv to take part in the main festival, which will be taking place ahead of the gay pride events. But the Israeli delegation decided to leave out any state symbols at the stand, as well as in any performances by Israeli artists taking part in the festival. Thus, there will be no Israeli flags and the emphasis will be on Tel Aviv as a global city – pluralistic and liberal, which accepts members of the gay community no matter where they’re from. Moreover, visitors to the festival will receive information about Tel Aviv which will include a map that highlights LGBT entertainment centers.

A source within the tourism industry told Ynet that “in the past it has been proven that the correct and smart way to ‘export’ Israel, especially these days, is through emphasizing brands it excels in, without using anything that symbolizes the state of Israel. Unfortunately, the Israeli flag or Star of David can cause antagonism among many.”

In other marketing campaigns, with the blessing of Israeli’s Tourism Ministry, the country itself is described as “the holy land with Jerusalem at its center,” while the city of Eilat is branded as the “resort city on the Red Sea.” So the de-Israel-izing of Tel Aviv, a gay hot spot, at Berlin Gay Pride isn’t a singular event. But it is notable that the city is being Israel-washed in the very city where a campaign to wipe out Jews helped lead to the creation of the Jewish state where Tel Aviv resides.

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  • Cam

    I’d think billing itself as the only country in the region that doesn’t arrest, torture or kill gays would be a plus.

  • Nathan

    @Cam: A relatively gay friendly apartheid state is still garbage and no self-respecting human being would put their dollars into any cause which put money into Israeli coffers. If you want to get money to the Palestinians, the link on my comment will take you to a store selling some pretty good olive oil.

  • Cam


    No, I’m sorry, but a region that doesn’t give women equal rights and arrests people or kills them outright for being gay is lower than garbage.

    You go ahead and support people who would kill you if you want, but I cannot imagine the amount of self loathing that must take, It is like a woman coming out and talking about how great the Taliban is.

  • Nathan

    @Cam: You don’t have to approve of the purported treatment of gays and women to oppose apartheid and oppression. It’s not an either/or proposition, but then I suppose a zionist shill such as yourself has an interested in distorting the argument.

  • Cam


    Actually what you’ve proven is that you are the one with the agenda here. You are specifically advocating for the people that would arrest tortoure and kill us. You even were hawking olive oil to get them money. I have never once stated support for Isreal’s political positions with regard to the Palestinians, I merely pointed out that they are the one country there that doesn’t arrest or kill us.

    You then attack me, name call me and call me a zionist shill. Is that your word for somebody who doesn’t think gays should be murdered?

    I think the fact that you are so over the top in your advocacy for people that would do you hard that there is obviously something going on there with you.

    I also think that MA. is a great state for giving us the legal right to marry and I think that Mississippi is a bad state for the way they treat gays. Am I a “MA. SHILL” for supporting their better treatment of us?

  • Michael Oosting

    Lol. Gay Mecca of the middle east. As opposed to the real Mecca in the middle east.

  • Ken S

    @Cam: “You are specifically advocating for the people that would arrest tortoure and kill us. You even were hawking olive oil to get them money.”

    I don’t know that that’s a fair assumption to make about him. “If you want to get money to the Palestinians” could mean money for guns and RPGs. It could mean money to the state apparatus that permits or advocates or practices violence towards gay people. But it could also mean money for charitable NGOs to get food and bandages and home building materials to people living in third-world conditions. It could mean money for school books so that the children of the olive farmers can do something other than eke out a living farming in a desert.

    Point is, one shouldn’t assume that a desire to help people in Palestine means a desire to help any particular ideology that some (or even most, if it’s most) of those people hold. You don’t have to endorse a person’s beliefs in order for you to believe that they shouldn’t starve to death.

    BTW- anyone want to take bets on how long it’ll be before Michael Lucas’ flying monkeys report this article to him and he chimes in with his all-important opinion?

  • Cam

    @Ken S:

    Ken, I’m saying that he was calling me a shill, meanwhile collecting FOR the people that would harm us. What he was collecting for was irrelevent to me, merely that if anybody was shilling, I believe it would be the person collecting money.

    I’m just done putting up with the attitude some gays seem to have that says, well yes, we aren’t that important, so I know that they hate us, but I’m going to support these people for whatever reason.

    If they don’t like gays, then F-Them, if they like gays, then good for them. Same with women, minorities etc… I really don’t care that the KKK collects money for kids charities, F-Them.

  • A Queer for BDS

    Israel is a democracy… Yeah, so was the United States in the 1950s under Jim Crow. In a democracy, people don’t get rights based on what race or religion they are. PERIOD. Israel is a racist apartheid state that welcomes SOME LGBT people (but not all). It’s time to fight propaganda with truth.

  • Cam

    @A Queer for BDS: said..

    “Israel is a democracy… Yeah, so was the United States in the 1950s under Jim Crow. In a democracy, people don’t get rights based on what race or religion they are. PERIOD. Israel is a racist apartheid state that welcomes SOME LGBT people (but not all). It’s time to fight propaganda with truth.”

    Wow, the propoganda here is incredible. How self hating must you be? The Isreali courts specifically said that gay Palestinians can come to Isreal and claim the right to stay specifically because they are gay. Do you not read any gay publications or are you so swept up in your self hate that you will say anything you possibly can to defend people that imprison and kill us?

    Queerty has even posted articles on gay palestinians getting asylum there so since you’re reading today you can’t pretend that you don’t know about THIS blog.

    As for your comments about people getting rights based on religion, that is idiotic. Look at their legislatures, Isreal has about 10% of their elected govt. are Arabs. Find me any Jews or Christians in the surrounding country’s govts in that number?

    Again, you hate the country that protects gays and support the ones that kill us. This is more an issue with your own self hate than anything else it would seem.

  • shannon

    Yeah Cam….they just go after the NATIVE people of country they STOLE it from!!! The NATIVE Black and Brown people!!!!

  • Vito Oliver

    Israel does not maintain a separate law system for its citizens. In fact, there exist muslim and arabic members of the Knesset and Supreme Court. Arab and Muslim citizens enjoy full voting rights and access to civil society. To call Israel an apartheid state merely demonstrates that this person lacks any knowledge of the situation.

  • Electron

    Cam don’t waste your time on these morons. Most of them are probably self-hating Jews who smoked too much pot in the 70s. I come across them all the time.

  • Chaim

    I don’t like that they intend to disassociate Tel Aviv with Israel. As a Jew, I find it a source of pride that the worlds single Jewish country is so open and permissive of gay people, especially considering how the surrounding countries deal with its homosexuals.

    As an aside, Israel is not an apartheid state. Muslims live peacefully and with full legal and civil rights in Israel’s borders. Those are the FACTS, whatever else you say is false. The poor treatment of the Palestinians is unrelated to their nationality but due to the safety of Israelis. It’s sad of course, but when the people themselves elect Hamas to run their govt. it speaks for a majority of the people. Its either status quo, or Jews die and Israel ends. That is not an option, obviously.

  • John

    @A Queer for BDS: Ok. Let’s “fight propaganda with truth” then. Please name for me one predominantly Muslim country where LGBTs have full civil rights as exist in Israel. While you’re at it, which one of Israel’s predominantly Muslim neighbors respects the right of religious freedom for minority faiths such a Baha’ism, Buddhism, Christianity, Druze, Judaism, Shia Islam in majority Sunni countries and vice versa?

    Israel has it’s problems and their system has its flaws but I would much rather live or visit there than ANY predominantly Muslim country in the entire world.

  • Raza

    Unfortunately, there seems to be quite a bit of anti-Semitic commentors around here. I think we need to stand up to those anti-Semitic and racist elements within our own community and let them know they should know better vomit from a disadvantaged minority.

    I agree that some of Israel’s domestic problems and its methods of dealing with them are not always correct; however, they treat EVERY Israeli the same: Arab, Jew, Muslim, Copt, straight, gay, black or white. If every single one of the anti- Semitic commentors above went after every Arab country with the same vengeance in which they’ve attacked Israel, then I could believe they’re coming from a humanitarian standpoint. If not, then it proves they have an anti- Israeli, anti- Semitic agenda.

  • Reality Check

    @Raza: “I agree that some of Israel’s domestic problems and its methods of dealing with them are not always correct; however, they treat EVERY Israeli the same: Arab, Jew, Muslim, Copt, straight, gay, black or white.”

    Blatant falsehood. There is lots and lots and lots of evidence of everyday and systemic discrimination against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Google it.

    Unless, of course, you supper from ZEC – Zionist epistemic closure. In some cases it’s a condition that’s terminal.

  • Reality Check

    @Reality Check: “suffer”*, rather.

  • Charles


    I guess even vanguard collages in the USA is not even buying it

  • Reality Check

    @<a href="@Charles: Those aren’t colleges, it’s a letter signed by members of some ‘honor society’ and carries no inherent credibility in this matter.

  • ???

    Of course Gay leftists live in North America on other peoples land. I really doubt no one labels Canada and the USA Apartheid? Both countries are built on racism, colonialism, stolen land( I guess the Genocide of Amerindians does not count) and Capitalism. To be fair Canada’s Indian Act was used as a model for the black homeland systems in South Africa under Apartheid. Canada’s Indian Act is still in place today. I’m guessing the far left of today has more in common with the KKK. Even they say to be ‘Anti Zionist’.

  • John

    @Reality Check: Which is absolutely nothing like being Baha’i, Christian, Jewish, etc. – let alone LGBT – in ALL of the predominantly Muslim countries. No one said that everything was perfect in Israel but I sure as hell find more respect for civil rights and freedoms in that country than any of it neighbors.

  • Chaim

    @Reality Check: how about you google it for us, because i lived in israel for a year and what i can tell you is as follows: i lived in a heavily Jewish neighborhood with arabs walking through all the time, women in full burqas and men and children walked in peace. However, when I was lost in a taxi in East Jerusalem, I wasnt just lost i was scared i would be ripped out the window of the car and stabbed to death.

    Crazy you say? this exact thing happened to a friend of mine. (although, thankfully he didnt die.) Arabs walk freely in Jewish areas, Jews get thrown of cliffs in arab neighborhoods.

    Now tell me please, who doesnt tolerate who?

  • IAbuseGays

    Questioning Israeli policy does not make one anti-Jewish. The conflation is why most people find the whole discussion to be based on using the very real issue of those who hate Jews to cover up Israeli policies. It would be like saying anyone who hated Jim Crow hated Christians. Or, if you want an updated version which is in use- its like Christians claiming anyone who disagrees with their views on homosexuality in America are anti-Christian and against the Christian faith. Only the most manipulative fucked up person could make such a statement. I guess at the end of the day that’s why the Israeli lobby hooked up with the Christian right in the US as far as the U.S. military policy. Both like to claim victimhood under inappropriate circumstances.

  • Nat


    The Indian Act is in place in Canada today because First Nations communities fought against it being repealed because they felt that their own cultural identity would be subsumed by mainstream Canadian identity. I won’t comment on whether that was the right choice, but it was their choice – emerging out of a grassroots struggle. Were it up to the Canadian government at the time, it would have been repealed.

    Israel isn’t a problem because of Jews, it’s a problem because of a confluence of history and unwillingness to compromise. It’s a problem because it’s the only remotely legitimate democracy in the area, yet it engages in inexcusable military actions knowing full well that an already antagonistic civilian population will become only more so.

    Yet what complicates it even further is that Israel is in fact unfairly singled out for its actions, while other countries that have engaged in far more repressive actions against their own populace are tacitly accepted. It’s hard to accept at face value the arguments that the majority of anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism when the same people who protest Zionism are not out protesting the horrendous treatment that Middle Eastern rulers exercise against their own populations. By the time the current cycle of violence between the rulers and their populations ends (if it does), far more will have been killed than have ever been killed by Israeli forces.

    So what do we have in the Middle East? A (generally) progressive population of a nation that engages in disproportionate military actions that disproportionately affect civilians, and has not done enough to end this violent stasis. And then we have a genuinely anti-Semitic yet disenfranchised population made all the more radical, racist, and violent by Israel’s actions. And surrounding that, a collection of some of the worst rulers in the world, most who get a free pass from the left for some reason.

    What I don’t see is a lot of innocence. I see peoples committed to perpetuating cycles of violence to their own detriment. Unfortunately, I see no clear way forward until the one remotely enlightened nation in the region reverses some of its worst offences, and then – and I genuinely sympathize here – takes the bigger steps necessary to secure peace and its own survival. Because the demographics are never going to be in your favour. Either work out a two-state solution now, or risk being swallowed up and having your cultural identity subsumed once again by another’s.

  • John

    @IAbuseGays: No, this wasn’t just “questioning Israeli policy” but a flat-out slander of Israelis as a whole with a white-washing of their neighbors. What the hell is the difference between this and the crap Donohue is spewing about gays being responsible for the child-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church? Look, if you want to criticize Israel for it’s policies in Gaza or the West Bank be my guest. No government or nation is without it’s faults. One fact remains indisputable in this though: as a non-Muslim, gay American man I can openly be live my life freely in Israel without being persecuted yet I cannot say the same for any predominantly Muslim nation.

  • Reality Check

    @Raza: I would add that it takes a fair amount of chutzpah to [email protected]John: It’s a red herring to immediately point out the human rights shortcomings of Israel’s neighbors when the object of discussion is Israel. It’s neither an either/or proposition nor do two wrongs make a right.

    @Chaim: Quite happily.
    Here’s a recent example: a new law was passed making it legal for small towns to screen prospective residents for ‘suitability’ (read: Jewish people). Another was passed making it illegal for Palestinians to commemorate the events of 1948.

    Ehud Olmert as PM admitted to discrimination against ‘Arabs’ (the Israeli euphemism for Palestinians with Israeli citizenship) in public employment: ‘It is terrible that there is not even one Arab employee at the Bank of Israel (out of 900 employees) and that in the Israel Electric Company Arabs constitute fewer than 1% of all workers.’

    Israel refuses to recognize 36 villages in the Negev, and they do not have access to basic services, including water and electricity. Because these ‘Arab’ villages are denied municipal recognition, construction there is ‘illegal’ and homes and other buildings are subject to arbitrary demolition. Since 1948, more than 1000 Jewish settlements have been built, but no new ‘Arab’ settlements, even though the number of ‘Arabs’ in Israel has multiplied by seven since that time. ‘Arabs make up 20 percent of Israel’s population but their municipal communities only occupy 2.5 of the state’s land.

    There are many other examples but you can find them on your own. Your anecdotal experiences are insufficient basis for justifying policy-implementation.

  • IAbuseGays

    Even if you consider it to be slander (which is ignorant of you to say since Israel is a country not a person, but whatever) the notion that one must hate all Jews because one dislike Israel is just a tactic to shut down debate about things that you and the other manipulators do not want to discuss.

    I gave you the proper analogy for your behavior. You are conflating Israel with being Jewish. Its a nice trick. Ironically, it works best on people who are too ignorant to know the difference.

    Look, you are wasting your time with me. Dishonest emotional tactics like this work on the general masses. And let’s be clear- there’s some above who basically did exactly what I describe. Your comments about how I can criticize Israeli policy, and you know, you would still be up here trying to guilt me into equating that view with hating Jews. Its offensive. It makes you basically what you claim to be against. But, when you are trying to get away with evil acts that you can not justify anyway. its what you are left with.

    The one time I actually had a strong view of Israel recently was the flotilla incident. I said that according to international law that Israel’s act (just like if it had been the US or Iran or any country) broke those conventions.

    For that, I was attacked exactly like people above are being attacked. So, no I do no buy that its particular to a certain instance that you would attack people as you d. Its just a tactic meant to shut down anyone who says something about Israel. Its a good tactic, but a dishonest one.

    It is ironic you are whining about people slandering since you are also engage in dishonest acts.

  • TommyOC

    @IAbuseGays: “You are conflating Israel with being Jewish. Its a nice trick.”

    I agree with you 100%. The problem is further compounded that Israeli policy doesn’t differentiate the two either. In fact, citizenship requires acknolwedgement of Israel as a Jewish state.

    There are plenty of us gays that are more than ready to admit that Israel is the most Western-like nation in the Middle East as far as its liberalism and freedoms go. If I *had* to live in one Middle Eastern country, it would be Israel, hands down. Because it’s the LEAST INHOSPITABLE (watch the backhanded compliment) place in the region.

    On the note of an “Apartheid State”:

    1) The Israeli national anthem is all about possessing a “Jewish heart” and returning to “our [Jewish] land.”

    2) Israeli-Arab organizations have challenged as discriminatory the 1996 “Master Plan for the Northern Areas of Israel,” which listed as priority goals increasing the Galilee’s Jewish population and blocking the territorial contiguity of Arab towns.” (2004 US State Dept Country Reports on Human Rights Practices)

    3) “Israeli-Arab advocacy organizations have challenged the Government’s policy of demolishing illegal buildings in the Arab sector, and claimed that the Government was more restrictive in issuing building permits in Arab communities than in Jewish communities, thereby not accommodating natural growth.” (Same)

    4) “In 2006 just 5% of civil servants were Arabs, many of them hired to deal with other Arabs, despite the fact that Arab citizens of Israel comprise 20% of the population.” (The Guardian, 2006)

    5) A bill in the Knesset would imprison anyone who publishes something that would “bring contempt upon or discomfort to the country.”

    6) Another bill would mandate that all street names be “Hebrew” names.

    I could go on… but I won’t.

    Suffice it to say, claims of an apartheid state, of an effort to contain, limit growth of, and disinfranchise a minority… yeah… can’t possibly apply here. Right?

    And you can call me an anti-Semite.

    But an anti-Semite is someone who *hates* and would persecute Jews.

    I don’t hate Jews.

    Just the policies of the “Jewish state.”

    And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  • Gay Republican

    @Nathan: Fuck you, asshole!

    @IAbuseGays: Fuck you, asshole!

  • Right Wingers Are Socioptahs (John From England)


    Yeah your heart is really bleeding. Do you know WHY they elected the Hamas? What should they elect a rabid right wing government that aids and supports Mossad like yours?

    Yeah you were kicked out centuries ago but it was still their land that you came with guns a blazing in the 50’s and swiped it away from them.

    Be like us or you will be refugees. Gee thanks!!!

    Just like the Americans and the Native Americans. Oh wait, no wonder the two countries are best buds and the USA gives more to Israel then any other country!

  • Right Wingers Are Socioptahs (John From England)


    A lot of Arab states used to be really welcoming. Palestine was and so was Iran before the Shah was over thrown by the CIA.

    When American and the UK started to take an interest in the oil during the 50’s, that is when everything changed in these Arab states. My dad used to travel there all the time.

    Even Iraq.

    Being gay is so common in Arabic societies. What is happening now is disgusting.

    Just like what is happening with Islam-which isn’t Islam from the past. At all.

  • Right Wingers Are Socioptahs (John From England)


    Chime have you heard of Iraqi Jews? They lived very peacefully for hundreds of years and many moved to the UK when the fighting started in the middle east.

    We have quite a w famous Iraq jews here like the Saatchi brothers.

    They were not thrown off cliffs, were they?

    I know many Jewish people who live in Muslim areas or with Muslims and nothing happens to them.

    You have a particular situation in your country where it is the oppressed-Arabs and the oppressor-Jews having to live together.

    The oppressor has the power, why should they care if they see a Muslim in their area? The oppressed doesn’t have the power, so is it a shock they are antagonistic?

    A good simple comparison is areas that have a deprived section that is filled with black people. If you went their as a white person who dresses differently, people will be antagonistic. If you’re a black person and you go to a white wealthy area, people won’t antagonize you but they will stare and twitch their curtains. Many will call the police.

    Is this fair? Nope but as is the laws of mankind.

  • Chaim

    @Right Wingers Are Socioptahs (John From England): I’m not talking about arabs living in Gaza or the West Bank, I’m talking about Muslim Israeli citizens. People who vote, have police and military protection, and can make use of all Israeli infrastructure.

    Anyway, i agree the situation is sad, no one can deny the poor way arabs in Gaza live, but I really dont see any alternative. Israel opens its borders and you know what will happen. Israel pulls back to 67 borders and yet another Aran state is founded and you know what will simply continue to happen.

    A country, any country must consider its own people and their safety before any other. Especially when you consider the history of Israel and how it was founded to be a safe haven for Jews.

  • Chaim

    @Right Wingers Are Socioptahs (John From England): I’m not talking about arabs living in Gaza or the West Bank, I’m talking about Muslim Israeli citizens. People who vote, have police and military protection, and can make use of all Israeli infrastructure.

    Anyway, i agree the situation is sad, no one can deny the poor way arabs in Gaza live, but I really dont see any alternative. Israel opens its borders and you know what will happen. Israel pulls back to 67 borders and yet another Arab state is founded and you know what will simply continue to happen.

    A country, any country must consider its own people and their safety before any other. Especially when you consider the history of Israel and how it was founded to be a safe haven for Jews.

  • jaymax

    @shannon: Put down the crack pipe, Shannon. Frankly, I fail to see how a people who have lived in that area for at least 2500 years have stolen anything. They have just as much claim to that area as anyone.

  • IAbuseGays


    I do not have a strong feeling as I have said for the situation. I mostly try to avoid it because (a) the nutjobs like GayRepublican who from what I can tell buy into the American Israeli lobby deliberate conflation of Israel with Judaism and (b) I find both sides are not willing to change. The fact the US is involved also makes it impossible to get anywhere since our interests are geopolitical rather than solving the local crisis. Like Egypt, we could careless about Israel or Palestine other than how it helps us, and Israel has a great deal of strategic value as a buffer. I do agree that the conflation is deliberate. It is essentially designed to shut down anyone who disagrees with the policies. It does not really work on me as far as voicing my opinion, but I long ago realize voicing my opinion does not really matter as far as the situation being solvable there. I wish it were, but I do not think either side is ready for that. I think there are forces on the Palestenian side that also are advantaged by continued conflict just like the Israeli right wing government and the US government are.

  • IAbuseGays

    By he way, Jay is another example of the nutty behavior. Clearly, for geopolitical reasons in the late 40s, there was a creation of the Israeli state. People are according to the US government right now being displaced for the purpose of Israeli settlements to push out others. THis is not a question of debate. You can question the reaction of the Palestenians to this. but to wholly deny it is just nuts. Its not a sane debate. You aren’t capable of one.

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