Showing posts with label pinkwashing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pinkwashing. Show all posts

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Two US Delegations Endorse BDS and Call for Action in the US

The Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel has been endorsed by two US delegations recently returned from fact finding missions to occupied Palestine and Israel.

US Campaign member group US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) organized a delegation of five distinguished scholars for a trip to Palestine and Israel in January. The delegation, composed of professors working at US universities, witnessed firsthand how Israel routinely denies the academic freedom of Palestinian scholars and students. According to a press release issued by USACBI, the delegation noted:

… Israel has consistently closed Palestinian universities under security pretexts and restrictions on freedom of movement mean that it is often very difficult for students to attend universities; international and Palestinian scholars living abroad are denied visas for faculty appointments in the occupied territories.  Furthermore, some 80 students from Birzeit University are held in Israeli prisons and detention centers, 10 of whom are currently being held without charge or trial. The delegation also reported that Israel thwarts Palestinian research capacities by restricting imports of equipment necessary for teaching basic science and engineering. It is all but impossible for Gaza students to attend West Bank universities, or for scholars from Ramallah, Gaza City, and East Jerusalem to meet in the same room.

While the primary focus of the trip was on educational discrimination, the delegation also had the opportunity to visit the 5,000 person Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem, as well as hear testimony from Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah who were forcibly evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem by the Israeli military. After witnessing how the "subordination, humiliation, and suspicion" of the occupation regulates the daily lives of Palestinians, as well as numerous violations of Palestinian civil and legal rights, the delegates urged their academic colleagues to support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. In a brief statement included in USACBI's press release, the delegates stated:

We believe that the perpetuation of the international travesty of colonial occupation in a post-colonial world must be brought to an end.  For it ultimately threatens the rights, dignity and security of everyone who believes in self-determination, equal justice and human rights.
Read USACBI's full press release here. 

LGBTIQ Activists Call for an End to US Aid to Israel and Endorse BDS

A diverse group of academics, artists, and cultural workers from the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, interest, and queer) community also traveled to Palestine/Israel in January. Upon their return to the US, the delegation released an open letter and petition emphatically endorsing BDS and calling on the queer community and its allies to "stand in solidarity with queer and other Palestinians and progressive Israelis who are working to end the occupation; oppose the state of Israel's practice of pinkwashing; and support efforts on the part of Palestinians to achieve full self-determination including building an international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement."

In their open letter, the delegates strongly reject Israel's practice of pinkwashing -- using the issue of gay rights to deflect attention away from the daily violations of Palestinian human rights:

Key to Israel's pinkwashing campaign is the manipulative and false labeling of Israeli culture as gay-friendly and Palestinian culture as homophobic. It is our view that comparisons of this sort are both inaccurate - homophobia and transphobia are to be found throughout Palestinian and Israeli society - and that this is beside the point: Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine cannot be somehow justified or excused by its purportedly tolerant treatment of some sectors of its own population. We stand in solidarity with Palestinian queer organizations like Al Qaws and Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (PQBDS) whose work continues to impact queer Palestinians and all Palestinians.

… We urge LGBTIQ individuals and communities to resist replicating the practice of pinkwashing that insists on elevating the sexual freedom of Palestinian people over their economic, environmental, social, and psychological freedom. Like the Palestinian activists we met, we view heterosexism and sexism as colonial projects and, therefore, see both as interrelated and interconnected regimes that must end.

As queer activists in the US, they condemn US complicity in maintaining the occupation and call for an end to US aid to Israel and support for the BDS movement in the US:

We name the complicity of the United States in this human rights catastrophe and call on our government to end its participation in an unjust regime that places it and us on the wrong side of peace and justice.

We support efforts on the part of Palestinians to achieve full self-determination, such as building an international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement which calls for the fulfillment of three fundamental demands:

The end of the Occupation and the dismantling of the Wall
  (jidar).
The right of return for displaced Palestinians.
The recognition and restoration of the equal rights of citizenship for Israeli     citizens of Palestinian descent.

We call upon all of our academic and activist colleagues in the US and elsewhere to join us by supporting all Palestinian efforts that center these three demands and by working to end US financial support, at $8.2 million daily, for the Israeli state and its occupation.
Read the open letter in full and sign the petition here 


 Testimonials from the Delegates Published on The Feminist Wire


Darnell L. Moore, who traveled to Palestine as part of the LGBTIQ delegation and is an editorial collective member of The Feminist Wire (TFW), solicited reflections and commentaries from US-based scholars, activists and cultural workers about their experiences in Palestine. Those writings have been collected and published online at TFW Forum on Palestine. Several participants from the USACBI and LGBTIQ delegations contributed moving and thoughtful pieces to the forum, including powerful commentaries from Neferti X.M. Tadiar and Jasbir K. Puar. Tadiar calls upon us to "forge new relations beyond the province of interests and inherited forms of social belonging to which we might have become tethered and, for those of us not already called, to feel the suffering and aspirations of Palestinians as also our own," in  "Why the Question of Palestine is a Feminist Concern." Puar's piece, "The Golden Handcuffs of Gay Rights: How Pinkwashing Distorts Both LGBTIQ and Anti-Occupation Activism," offers insightful analysis of Israel's pinkwashing agenda, homonationalism and the radical impact of Palestinian Queers for BDS (PQBDS) on Palestinian society. She argues that by "foregrounding the Occupation as its primary site of struggle, PQBDS is slowly, strategically and carefully insisting upon and creating systemic and thorough changes in the terms of Palestinian society itself. "










Thursday, January 19, 2012

Latest Hasbara Meme: BLACKWASHING

By Richard Silverstein
RichardSilverstein.com
January 9, 2012

You’ve heard of pinkwashing, greenwashing-now “blackwashing” joins the cast of pro-Israel hasbara communities exploited in order to combat the major criticisms of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians.  Pinkwashing is the effort to promote Israel to the gay community in order to point out the homophobia of Arab culture and nations.  Greenwashing is the attempt by environmental groups like Jewish National Fund to point to Israel’s alleged sensitivity to environmental issues (excluding of course its heinous treatment of Negev Bedouins whose communities are being bulldozed by the Israeli government in collaboration with JNF).  Now blackwashing is the rage.

African American political leaders and
students on Aipac Israel junket
Israel lobby groups like Aipac have worked closely cultivating relationships on college campuses with African-American students.  They send these young leaders to Aipac conferences where they can be trotted out to the media as witnesses for the defense to combat the BDS campaign to label Israel as an apartheid state:
When Vincent Evans arrived as a bright-eyed first-year at Florida A&M, the country’s largest historically black university, he knew he wanted to get involved in politics. So when an older student leader approached him one afternoon after a student government meeting to ask if he wanted an all expenses paid trip to D.C., Evans jumped at the opportunity.
The trip, it turned out, was sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, the country’s most powerful pro-Israel lobbying outfit. Israel is under growing attack from Palestinian and international activists who call the country a racist apartheid state. In response, its staunchest U.S. lobby is recruiting black students as moral shields to make the case for Israeli impunity. At historically black colleges and universities (known as HBCU’s) around the country, AIPAC is finding and developing a cadre of black allies to declare there’s no way Israel can be racist.
In his four years in college, Evans traveled to D.C. at least 10 times on AIPAC’s dime. He and a small group of other student leaders from his school joined hundreds of others from around the country, including other HBCU students, for AIPAC’s semi-annual Saban Leadership Seminar.
“Within the program,” says Evans, “they make a concerted effort to reach out to HBCU and majority Hispanic schools.”
Does the Israel lobby care about African-American students?  Does it care about the issues close to their heart?  Is it about to reach out to Blacks to create political coalitions to advance causes of mutual interest to each community?  Are you kiddin’?  These kids are fodder in the PR war.  They don’t mean anything other than having a black face to show the world that Israel isn’t an apartheid nation.  But how much do these kids really know about Israel?

ARTICLE CONTINUES...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our Discourse Goes Mainstream! New York Times Assails Israeli Pinkwashing!

Earlier this month we told you how Israel was “pinkwashing” its apartheid regime by branding itself as a progressive gay haven. Today, the New York Times has published a terrific op-ed by Sarah Schulman entitled “Israel and Pinkwashing.” In the article, Schulman strongly repudiates Israel’s use of gay rights as a public relations tool to deflect attention away from the brutality of its occupation.

International gay rights activists opposed to Israeli occupation and apartheid have termed Israel’s propaganda strategy “pinkwashing.” Schulman harshly criticizes the cynical and racist deceit of Israel’s pinkwashing as “a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life.”

There can be no doubt that our efforts at the grassroots level to organize and educate are having an impact. Today, in the paper of record, an activist term, goes mainstream!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tell Boston LGBT Film Festival Organizers to Stop Pinkwashing Israeli Apartheid

Israel's pinkwashing propaganda comes to Boston this month. As part of its Brand Israel campaign, the Israeli government is sponsoring Out in Israel Month in Boston and has partnered with the Boston LGBT Film Festival on a series of events designed to promote Israel as a progressive, liberal bastion "with many faces and just as many narratives." Israel is cynically co-opting the hard fought struggle for gay rights in Israel to divert attention away from its brutal occupation of Palestine. Tell the Boston LGBT Film Festival to respect the international cultural boycott of Israel and cancel all events associated with Out in Israel!

The text below is from the petition to the Boston LGBT Film Festival Organizers to stop pinkwashing Israeli apartheid.

Why this is Important

In the past, the Boston LGBT Film Festival has demonstrated a sincere commitment to diversity and social justice. But its latest partnership with "Out in Israel" undermines that history. Boston LGBT Film Festival organizers flout an international cultural boycott of the Israeli government -- led by Palestinian artists and allies -- to protest the brutal and illegal occupation. Through this partnership with "Out in Israel," the film festival provides positive publicity for a government whose human rights violations have attracted worldwide censure.

Israel’s invocation of LGBT rights - its “pinkwashing” propaganda - is disingenuous insofar as it diverts attention from the realities of Palestinians living under ongoing Israeli colonization, apartheid, and occupation. Consider, for instance, what Israel looks like to gay Palestinians. For these individuals, Israel is anything but a haven of freedom and inclusivity. Subject to the omnipresence of Israel’s gay-inclusive military, Palestinians’ movements are controlled and monitored by hundreds of Israeli checkpoints and obstacles throughout the West Bank. Throughout Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, Palestinians face the threat of home demolition and increasing violence at the hands of Israeli settlers. Even Palestinians who legally live in Israel contend with institutionalized inequity in the form of at least 70 discriminatory Israeli laws. Indeed, Israel’s wall - dividing Palestinian families, communities, and land - emerges as the symbol writ large of Israeli apartheid.

We ask, then, the Boston LGBT Film Festival respects the international cultural boycott and cancels all events associated with "Out in Israel."

We ask film organizers to choose events for which all people may be "out" and "proud." Pinkwashing injustice just isn't one of them.