Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Accusing Israel Of Pinkwashing Is A Whitewash

In response to the absurd claim that Israel is apartheid, that it is not a democracy, one of the latest responses has been to point to Israel's acceptance of Gays.

Apparently, such a simple truth--and the possibility that Israel may find allies in the Gay community--has created a backlash: the accusation that Israel is "Pinkwashing":

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.”
So writes Sarah Schulman.

In response, HonestReporting notes the mindlessness of the "pinkwashing" claim against Israel:
If the international LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender]community is going to mindlessly delegitimize Israel by allying itself with people who stone women, hang gays and persecute Christians, one has to wonder about their leaders’ priorities. You see, in addition to being a prominent lesbian writer, Schulman is also one of the ”towering moral leaders” of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

That the New York Times sees fit to publish this opinion piece perhaps indicates that the Gray Lady, like the BDS movement, is also in favor of discriminating against one country alone. The newspaper of note that attaches so much on promoting liberal values is evidently prepared to jettison those values if it means allowing the bashing, in its pages, of Israel’s own liberal values.
Keep in mind that the term "pinkwashing" is not new--and is not originally associated with Gays at all.

Ariella Brown writes that the term "pinkwashing" was originally used in the context of cancer:
The organization Breast Cancer Action launched Think Before You Pink in 2002 to serve as a watchdog over the pink movement. It calls for action to combat "pinkwashing": the practice of allying with the cause through pink promotions on the very products that contain ingredients linked to cancer. Barbara Brenner, executive director of Breast Cancer Action, states, "Shoppers need to know how much of their money is really going to breast cancer and what's in these products." By drawing the public's attention to the hypocrisy of these companies, Think Before You Pink has succeeded in pressuring Avon to change the formulation of some cosmetics and in getting Yoplait yogurt to go rBGH-free. [emphasis added]
Along similar lines, Brian of London points out that there is a documentary film coming out shortly exposing the whole scandal of Pink Ribbons and how much money actually makes its way to legitimate cancer research firms:

See also Think Before You Pink

In this original exploitative sense of the term, maybe it is Sarah Schulman herself who is guilty of pinkwashing--abusing the term for her own agenda and whitewashing the persecution of gays in the Muslim world.

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