Protesting Israel’s pro-homosexual policies as a cover-up of Israel’s right-wing evil

I am not recommending that you read the below op-ed from the November 23 New York Times. But if you’re in a strong mood, and feel like testing your strength by plunging into the depths of liberal sickness and perversity, you might want to take a look at it.

Israel and ‘Pinkwashing’

“IN dreams begin responsibilities,” wrote Yeats in 1914. These words resonate with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who have witnessed dramatic shifts in our relationship to power. After generations of sacrifice and organization, gay people in parts of the world have won protection from discrimination and relationship recognition. But these changes have given rise to a nefarious phenomenon: the co-opting of white gay people by anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim political forces in Western Europe and Israel.

In the Netherlands, some Dutch gay people have been drawn to the messages of Geert Wilders, who inherited many followers of the assassinated anti-immigration gay leader Pim Fortuyn, and whose Party for Freedom is now the country’s third largest political party. In Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, the extremist who massacred 77 people in July, cited Bruce Bawer, a gay American writer critical of Muslim immigration, as an influence. The Guardian reported last year that the racist English Defense League had 115 members in its gay wing. The German Lesbian and Gay Federation has issued statements citing Muslim immigrants as enemies of gay people.

These depictions of immigrants—usually Muslims of Arab, South Asian, Turkish or African origin—as “homophobic fanatics” opportunistically ignore the existence of Muslim gays and their allies within their communities. They also render invisible the role that fundamentalist Christians, the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Jews play in perpetuating fear and even hatred of gays. And that cynical message has now spread from its roots in European xenophobia to become a potent tool in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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

Last year, the Israeli news site Ynet reported that 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 government isn’t alone; an Israeli pornography producer even shot a film, “Men of Israel,” on the site of a former Palestinian village.)

This message is being articulated at the highest levels. In May, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Congress that the Middle East was “a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted.”

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. Homosexuality has been decriminalized in the West Bank since the 1950s, when anti-sodomy laws imposed under British colonial influence were removed from the Jordanian penal code, which Palestinians follow. More important is the emerging Palestinian gay movement with three major organizations: Aswat, Al Qaws and Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. These groups are clear that the oppression of Palestinians crosses the boundary of sexuality; as Haneen Maikay, the director of Al Qaws, has said, “When you go through a checkpoint it does not matter what the sexuality of the soldier is.”

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.

In Israel, gay soldiers and the relative openness of Tel Aviv are incomplete indicators of human rights—just as in America, the expansion of gay rights in some states does not offset human rights violations like mass incarceration. The long-sought realization of some rights for some gays should not blind us to the struggles against racism in Europe and the United States, or to the Palestinians’ insistence on a land to call home.

Sarah Schulman is a professor of humanities at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York.

December 2

Ken Hechtman writes:

It’s not “pinkwashing.” It’s a very effective wedge. Liberals are programmed to hold Palestinians as mascots. They’re also programmed to hold gays as mascots. If they think they have to choose between the two, their circuits overload and smoke comes out of their ears.

Mark Jaws writes:

This article is a textbook case of the Liberal Modus Operandi to pick specific outliers in disparate groups in order to normalize and eliminate the obviously intuitive differences in group characteristics.

Here we have a leftist Jewish lesbian who is dead set on demonstrating Islamic tolerance of homosexuality and Israeli and Western intolerance. Like all leftists, she offers no facts, no opinion polls, no reputable study data, but rather describes the hard won struggle by homosexuals in Israel while simply stating that gays have those rights in the West Bank. She doesn’t describe what it took on the part of gays in the West Bank to win those rights, and she offers no data about the general Islamic populace and its tolerance of gays. The left is infamous for this tactic.

For example, no matter how many times and how often I have cited to leftists or “moderates” the numerous and statistically significant instances of young Muslims plotting to kill Americans, their retort is always, “But what about Timothy McVeigh?” To them it does not matter that young Islamic men may plot at rates 500 times greater than young conservative white men to kill civilians. They cite the lone wolf in trying to make everyone equal.

I have learned to preemptively counter their MO with this tactic. I will remind them that we all know women are shorter than men. We know it intuitively, we see it every day, and there are studies to prove that men are on average taller than women. No one can or will deny that fact. And yet, I tell them, if I wanted to, I could stand on 42nd Street in New York City and within 30 minutes I could see several women over six feet tall, and many men under five feet six inches, and based on that selective and non-scientific observation, erroneously conclude that women are taller than men. So, I tell the leftist, “In your response to what I am going to say, please do not cite the six-foot woman and five-foot man, but rather concentrate on the average group behavior or characteristic.” That has worked well in shutting them up. In fact, I think I will email this to Ms. Schulman.

Mark L. writes:

In reference to Ms. Schulman—I mean the full measure of the woman, including (but not limited to) the way she has chosen to conceive the world around—there is really only one word (a Yiddish one, as it happens) that comes to mind:

“Feh! “

Mark L. writes:

You mentioned “plunging into the depths of liberal sickness and perversity”—something made all the more easy through the Internet. I’ve taken a few such plungings (though I try to avoid it), and what I’ve come across has made me change my view regarding the left. I used to see these people as simply (though completely) brain addled. Increasingly, though, I’m find that demon possession better characterizes their true state.

An old friend from two decades ago recently posted this on his Facebook wall. (It’s a link to the website of one Justin Rosario.

Here are a couple of tidbits about a fictitious character this atheist calls Republican Jesus:

“Republican Jesus™ is very different than the Jesus you and I are familiar with. First off, he is White. Not just white, but White. Republican Jesus™ has a special place in his heart for America. Specifically, White America. Do you doubt this? Ask yourself why anyone who believes in a colorblind Jesus would even conceive of praying for the death of Obama? No, only those who follow Republican Jesus™ would even think that such a prayer could, or should, be answered. If you are currently thinking that racism has nothing to do with the unprecedented hatred of Obama, go away, I’m talking to the grownups.”

(Hmm … admittedly I live in Canada, but I do listen to a fair bit of Christian radio emanating from the U.S.—only the most influential evangelicals in the country—and I have yet to hear anyone praying for Obama’s death. I wonder how widespread this phenomenon is.)

“Republican Jesus™, by the way, is a big supporter of the Confederacy. Why he let them lose the War of Northern Aggression is a mystery. But all ‘real’ Americans know that the South will rise again and Republican Jesus™ will lead the way back to glory. Or something like that. How the Northern and Mid-Western Red states fit into this Southern revival is also a mystery.”

(Again, I hadn’t heard a whole lot about evangelicals for the Confederacy, but maybe I’m just not paying attention. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard many people in this day and age referring to people as “real Americans”—have you heard many Christians talking like this?)

I could go on, but will spare you (read the article if you like). It’s on the one hand easy to refute these notions with facts, but a waste of time, considering these people are not capable of weighing facts. They’re consumed with vituperative energy, and one just gets pulled down in the mud with them. They are, to quote Paul, “given over.” They need deliverance.

We in the West now have a generation of college-educated adults who are capable of putting together readable prose on websites read approvingly by many people, which consists of nothing but hatred for a group whose main “sin” is … hatred!

Oh, these anti-hate haters, these anti-hypocrisy hypocrites. We really must strive to look on them with the same compassion shown by the real Jesus towards the demoniacs of His day.

Ken Hechtman writes:

I don’t care for this passage in the Times article:

Homosexuality has been decriminalized in the West Bank since the 1950s, when anti-sodomy laws imposed under British colonial influence were removed from the Jordanian penal code, which Palestinians follow. More important is the emerging Palestinian gay movement with three major organizations: Aswat, Al Qaws and Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

The suggestion here is that West Bank has been San Francisco on the Jordan for 60 years, ever since the day that the British packed up their oppressive Victorian morality and went home. And that’s not accurate. The Palestinian gay movement with above-ground political and community organizations basically didn’t exist until 2005. If teenage kids aren’t sleeping in Israeli alleys to escape Palestinian persecution anymore, that’s good to know. But it wasn’t all that long ago, like at the beginning of Intifada II, that it was going on.

LA replies:

Mr. Hechtman truly is an amazing source of knowledge. He seems to be au courant on the present state of play of every leftist movement and sub-movement in every country on earth.

James R. writes:

You hurled down the gauntlet of challenge, to test our fortitude against progressive cant. I’m not sure how strong I am in the ways of the force, and it may be simply because I’ve become inured to it after having to read many, many academic papers that go on in exactly the same vein, but I managed to get through the article and frankly saw nothing new in it.

Which isn’t to say it’s not insidiously nefarious. It’s to say that such insidiousness is now pervasive.

Frankly, though, I welcome every time progressives are frank about they really believe. I wish their political candidates would speak so frankly more frequently. I wish these “truth-tellers” who “speak truth to power” would be truthful all the time, especially when it matters. I wish people would read what they say and the people they see as mentors and “national consciences” say and think. It might be our last, best hope.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 01, 2011 09:56 AM | Send

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