Israel accused of “Pinkwashing”

Israel and feminists, gays, Christians

Queers for BDS are like turkeys voting for Christmas

An outrageous yet ridiculous article in the New York Times caught my eye, written by Sarah Schulman, a Professor of Humanities (G-d help her students!) at College of Staten Island, City University of New York. The article deals with Israel’s “pinkwashing“, i.e. that Israel tries to cover up its human rights “crimes” by showing how well it treats its homosexuals, and how in reality Muslims treat their gays really well too.  I will quote from her article in chunks (in black) with my own commentary and links in between in blue to differentiate.

… 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.

I wonder why.  I don’t suppose it could it be because the “immigrants” – code word for Muslims – violently oppose homosexuals? 

“In recent years the cultural enrichment of major Dutch cities has caused an upsurge of violence against gays by Muslim immigrants. This trend has become to large to ignore completely. It highlights one of the major contradictions of politically correct Multiculturalism.

According to Multiculturalism the culture of “ brown people” is above criticism. Any negative observation about their behaviour is evidence of “ xenophobia” and also “ Islamophobia” if they are Muslims. According to Political Correctness any hostility towards gays is evidence of “ homophobia” So what happens when Muslims attack gays, Which doctrine hold the trump card.

Well we all know the answer to that one by now. Tolerance of Islam trumps everything else.”

Back to Schulman:

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.

This is typical leftist “progressive” writing – trying to discredit a movement through guilt by association. Is there any evidence that gay organizations actively encouraged Breivik to hate Muslim immigrants and provoked him to kill leftists? This doesn’t even make sense writing it, let alone thinking it.

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.

Shulman is the one who is ignoring facts. She displays her own prejudices and ignorance by ignoring the existence of proof  that Islam, and by extension Muslim societies, are completely intolerant of homosexuality.  I would refer the reader – and the ignorant author of this piece – to several articles:

Negative comments about homosexuals by Muslims and Islamic societies

Palestine: no Jews, no gays, no gypsies

Myth: Israel is intolerant of homosexuals

Schulman:

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.

Again, this is a non-sequitur. True, Orthodox Judaism as well as Christianity, frowns upon homosexuality, but that is a far cry from violence, torture and execution that is prevalent in Muslim countries.

Same-sex intercourse carries the death penalty in five officially Muslim nations: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, Sudan, and Yemen. [3] It formerly carried the death penalty in Afghanistan under the Taliban, and in Iraq under a 2001 decree by Saddam Hussein. The legal situation in the United Arab Emirates is unclear. In many Muslim nations, such as Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria or the Maldives, homosexuality is punished with jail time, fines or corporal punishment. In some Muslim-majority nations, such as Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, or Mali, same-sex intercourse is not forbidden by law. However, in Egypt gays have been the victims of laws against “morality”.

In Saudi Arabia, the maximium punishment for homosexuality is public execution, but the government will use other punishments, i.e. fines, jail time and whipping as alternatives, unless it feels that homosexuals are challenging state authority by engaging in a gay rights movement. [4] Iran is perhaps the nation to execute the largest number of its citizens for homosexuality

Schulman:

… 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.

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.”

Schulman does not bring any proof that what Netanyahu said was incorrect or a lie.  It just angers her that Bibi pointed out the embarrassing truth.

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.

I bolded the words in the above paragraph because Schulman’s presumptuousness is quite breathtaking.  I wonder what Shulman would tell to this young Palestinian gay man, or to this one who had to take refuge in – gasp! – an Israeli settlement? 

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.”

No, when you go through a checkpoint the only thing that matters is security. Throwing in homosexuality is a non-sequitur.

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.

What utter piffle. What makes an LGBT person susceptible to “pinkwashing” is the multi-culti mindset that approves of anything that non-whites might do, including the worst of violence, in the name of Anti-Imperialism, Anti-Colonialism or anti-Zionism. Preferably a combination of all three.  Schulman calls it a “mistake” to judge by how advanced a country is by its attitude towards homosexuality, when in reality that is one of THE yardsticks to measure a country’s liberal progressiveness. The others are its attitudes to women, religious and political minorities, freedom of the press and judiciary. and we all know how well those all work in Muslim countries.

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.

So the (admittedly) incompleteness of human rights in Israel is an indicator that Israel should be condemned for everything it dos – including accepting and welcoming gays.

Schulman needs to experience what real anti-homosexual violence is in a truly violent society before she write such stupid tommy-rot.  I would say that I’m  surprised that such an esteemed organ as the NYT would accept such an article, but in truth I’m not surprised at all. This is exactly the attitude that informs the NYT’s attitude towards the Middle East. They should be embarrassed – but they won’t be.

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8 Responses to Israel accused of “Pinkwashing”

  1. Neil says:

    This is the human dreck of Jewish descent that teaches at CUNY!!! As a Jewish resident of the 5 boroughs & an alumni of City University of New York, I am outraged!!!

  2. Lamia says:

    Annie,

    thank you for a great article. I read Schulman’s piece earlier and was revolted. You’ve expertly dimsantled her utteerly specious and self-hating ‘argument’ – your response ought to be in the NYT.

    Thanks again.

    • anneinpt says:

      Lamia, thank you for your kind words and welcome to my blog. I’m thinking how to formulate a short letter to the NYT based on my post. Or perhaps I should just send the post so that they can read it, without publishing it.

      Honest Reporting and Elder of Ziyon amongst others have also done sterling work in ripping apart the article.

  3. Andrea says:

    I am really puzzled…
    Ok I have sometimes thought that since gay and lesbian are at least the 10-15% of electorate their support is essential for any political party. This explains why parties on the right are today reluctant to reject these potential supporters when attracted by free market oriented ideology. I would say more pointing out the fact that an higher number of homosexuals are voting – at least in Europe – party on the right ( with exception of neo fascists of course ).
    We could say the same for international opinion where a good image among homosexuals is maybe more important since they are usually more acculturated or social committed people than the average ( this is an impression I have – hope to not falling in another consumed stereotype ! ) .
    Having said that I hardly image an elaborate strategy planned by the “perfid Ziyonists” to attract gay and lesbians preventing them from supporting “the Palestinian cause”.
    I am a simple guy and I think that Jews after dark age of Nazism are today naturally adverse toward any kind of physical – genetical – sexual discrimination in spite of the fact monotheistic religions including maybe Judaism – at least the one labelled as “Orthodox” ( but here, Anne, I would be cautious because my knowledge is ground zero ) – strongly condemn homosexuality.
    Not less and not more.
    I am wondering how a NYT opinionist could have reached such “bizzarres” conlusions. It should not have been difficult for her to know more about Israel or Jewish culture on human rights.
    Sometimes I suspect that family cultural heritage not always helps.

    • anneinpt says:

      Andrea, you’re probably right about the voting patterns of the LGBT community, which of course makes the whole thesis of the “learned” professor in the NYT fall apart. There is one basic explanation for Schulman’s ridiculous yet outrageous article: it’s called hatred. She hates Israel with such a passion that Israel cannot do anything right at all – even when it is doing the right thing. Elder of Ziyon had it exactly right when he wrote:

      Strident critics of Israel look at the state through a single lens: one that shows Israel to be a purely evil entity whose entire raison d’etre is the subjugation and oppression of innocent Arabs. There are no shades of grey, no other issues at play – everything Israel does is somehow connected to its inherently evil nature.

      The only way to explain this self-contradictory thought process is that logic and simple facts fly out the window when you are dealing with a hater. Their hate is all-encompassing. They are consumed by it, and their brains are infected by it.

      We’ve seen the same hate and concomitant lack of rational thinking in the absurd ramblings all over the Internet from the KKK, from neo-Nazis, from Islamists, from the far-right as well as the far-left. This same laughable “logic” has been used to justify hate against Jews, blacks, gays and women. They also have only one lens through which they look at the world. Pure, unbridled hate is no more moral when it is against members of a nation than when it is against any other group.

      Read the whole thing.

      Regarding the attitude of the Orthodox towards homosexuals, homosexuality is very much frowned upon and disapproved of in Judaism. BUT – no one calls to arrest, torture or execute homosexuals like the Muslims do. They can still participate in Jewish community life etc. It’s really a matter of “hate the sin, not the sinner”. And of course, we are all sinners in one way or another.

  4. Brian Goldfarb says:

    I’m sure it’s covered above, but there is an (inevitable?) assumption in Schulman’s article that gays, etc, are, somehow, inevitably left-liberal, despite her comments on the Pim Fortuyn/Geert Wilders phenomenon. Perhaps this mistake might be made because of the greater likelihood that LGBT people will favour the left and its “liberality” on this issue against the right with its traditional antagonism towards “deviants”. Once the laws are liberalised, then people who can now be “openly” LGBT will follow their other political inclinations as far as voting, etc, is concerned.

    That said, she overlooks (or forgets, a strange blind spot in an academic of the humanities, even allowing for personal ideology) the long history of right wing, even far right wing, politicians: Ernst Rohm (sorry, no umlaut on this keyboard), head of the Nazi Brownshirts, for one. And, of course, Pim Fortuyn (by no means anything like as far right as the Nazis) was gay. He even boasted of having had Moslem partners, despite his opposition to “immigrants”.

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