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History of the Occupation• 1948 The Nakba, or Catastrophe, in which Palestinians were driven off their land and from their homes, often violently. This led to the establishment of the State of Israel, and to the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinian refugees, a number that today has grown to 4.7 million• 1967 Six Day War in which Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai, and Golan Heights.• 1987-1993 First Intifada, or uprising, of the Palestinian people against Israeli occupation. A mass mobilization of Palestinian men, women, and children that involved many forms of civil disobedience and resistance.• 1994-1995 Oslo Accords. The Palestinian Authority becomes responsible for the administration of some social, legal, and political facets of Palestinian life. The construction on the wall dividing Israel from the West Bank begins.
• 2000-2004 Second Intifada. In response to Ariel Sharon‟s provocative visit to the Temple Mount, large Palestinian protests occurred in Jerusalem.The shooting by Israeli soldiers of 6 unarmed protesters led to demonstrations and clashes across the occupied territories, which were violently suppressed by the Israel Defense Forces.• 2006 Israel wages a 33-day war against Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon, responding to rocket fire with bombings of Lebanese towns, villages, and infrastructure.• 2008-2009 Gaza War/Operation Cast Lead. Israel, without warning, begins bombing Gaza with the stated objective of ending rocket attacks from the region. In only 22 days, large areas of Gaza were destroyed and 1,400 Palestinians were killed.
Conditions of Palestinians• Palestinians living in the West Bank live under Israeli occupation. Their movements are controlled and monitored by hundreds of Israeli checkpoints and obstructions throughout the West Bank.• Palestinian homes and communities are subject to Israeli military presence, especially in regions where there are also Israeli settlements.• Palestinian communities and families are divided by the Israeli apartheid wall which surrounds the West Bank.
• Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem face the threat of home demolitions for „building without a permit‟ (which includes any kind of addition or renovation to an existing home) even though these permits are next to impossible for Palestinians to acquire.• Even Palestinians living legally in Israel face discrimination from at least 70 Israeli laws. This is part of a system of institutionalized discrimination• Residents of the Gaza Strip are blockaded by Israel on all sides, severely limiting their movement and access to goods and services. The residents of Gaza essentially live in an open-air, Israeli-controlled prison.
Currently:• 61.8% percent of the wall has been completed (when finished, only 15% of the wall will be located on the Green Line or in Israel).• Israel has established 121 official settlements and about 100 unofficial outposts. Settlements continue to be constructed, although they are illegal according to international law.• Israel has built 232 km of roads in the West Bank that are for the sole use of Israelis, and they have established 99 fixed checkpoints that restrict and monitor the movement of Palestinians.
Pinkwashing in a Nutshell• Pinkwashing is the cynical use of gay rights and queer voices to obscure Israeli human rights violations• Pinkwashing portrays Israel as a haven for gays in the Middle East, while demonizing surrounding countries and societies• Pinkwashing strives to replace social justice as the measure of a progressive society with a myopic vision of identity-based gay rights• Pinkwashing provides an ideological cover and explicit support for Israeli militarism and occupation• Pinkwashing allows for the internal suppression and increased profiling of Palestinian communities seen as tied to Palestinian “terrorists”.• Homonationalism, using pinkwashing, denies the possibility, that someone could be both Palestinian and queer at the same time.
Brand Israel• (Re)Brand Israel: An official Israeli PR campaign started in 2005 with the goal of re- branding Israel as a place associated with research, technology, art, culture, gay rights, women‟s rights, and progressive values, instead of conflict, occupation, repression, and war.• The target audience for this campaign is the international community at large, in the hopes that it will generate popular support for Israel around the globe.• In just its first two years, it had a government provided budget of $4 million. This campaign also receives additional funding from outside organizations, corporations, and individual donors.
"ISRAEL21c‟s mission is to focus media and public attention on the 21st century Israel that exists beyond the conflict. By highlighting, emphasizing, and promoting• In addition to the Brand Israel positive images of Israel and Israelis, people campaign, there are various will come to view Israelis as more like organizations, predominantly in the themselves and understand the relevance of United States, that utilize many of the Israel to their own lives. same tactics with the same goals in mind. ISRAEL21c‟s operations are focused on the development and dissemination of content that is used to advance the mission. The outcome• Pinkwashing is a chief tactic of Brand of this process is increased support for Israel Israel. during difficult times and a greater appreciation of the role that Israel has in the lives of people the world over.“ ISRAEL21c.com, “About Us”
Pinkwashing is not an accidentPinkwashing is: “… this path of liberty is not paved by elections alone. It‟s paved when governments permit protests in town• Promoted by a well-organized, well-funded squares, when limits are placed on the public relations campaign started by the powers of rulers, when judges are Israeli government. beholden to laws and not men, and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal• However, it extends beyond Israeli loyalties or mob rule. Israel has always governmental efforts and into private embraced this path in a Middle East that organizations such as Stand With Us and has long rejected it. In a region where The Anti-Defamation League as well as women are stoned, gays are individuals who promote its principles and hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel use its tactics. stands out. It is different.”• A blatant appropriation of gay voices and Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the U.S. the gay rights struggle for obscuring the Congress [May 2011] crimes of the Israeli state
Pinkwashing is not about gay rights• Pinkwashing tries to portray Israel as progressive and civilized because it treats gays well, therefore all its other human rights violations can be swept under the rug.• Pinkwashing is about Israel using gay rights as a diversion. Fighting pinkwashing is not a detraction from the gay rights struggle-- rather, stopping pinkwashing prevents the use of the gay rights struggle to oppress others.• Israel presents itself as a bastion of gay rights, but how can these be true „gay rights‟ if they are applied selectively to some in Israeli society, while many basic human rights, including gay rights, are denied to Palestinians by Israel?• ALL Palestinians, gay, straight, or otherwise suffer daily from Israeli discrimination, occupation, control, and human rights violations. Israel makes no exceptions for queer Palestinians.
Pinkwashing Tactics1. Vilifying surrounding Arab and Muslim countries, painting them as barbaric, uncivilized, and brutal, while portraying Israel as a diverse haven for homosexuals around the world.• Shifting the standard by which a civilized society is measured from human rights to gay rights.• Condemnation of Arab countries as a whole as barbaric and backwards. Israel wants people to overlook its numerous human rights violations, and the fact that all Palestinians face discrimination, occupation, or persecution by the Israeli government on a daily basis.• This framing overlooks the fact that it is legally impossible for a queer Palestinian living in the West Bank or Gaza to seek asylum in Israel, and that even within Israel, there are no equal rights for Palestinian citizens or residents.
2. Attempting to gain worldwide support from the ‘queer community• By presenting Israel as a haven for gays in an otherwise hostile region, the campaign to re-brand Israel hopes to gain the support of queers (and their governments) worldwide.• The campaign recognizes that many queers, especially in the West, may be sympathetic By portraying Palestinians and those who to the Palestinian cause, and aims to sway support them as homophobic and linked to their sympathies to the Israeli side. terrorism, this video not only hopes to draw support away from pro-Palestinian• Example: Hoax video about „Marc,‟ the activism, but also from a pro-Palestinian supposed gay American activist, denied viewpoint. This tactic, in effect, makes being participation in the Second Gaza Flotilla due pro-Palestinian the same as being anti- to his sexuality. The video was later found to gay, thus de-legitimizing queer pro-Palestinian have been spread by the Israeli government. activists as self-hating.
3. Promoting gay tourism using sexism, priviliges and consumerism• Building on the queer-friendly image Israel is trying to create, the Ministry of Tourism is promoting Israel as a haven for queers (especially gay men) to vacation and be accepted for their sexuality. The government-run website gayisrael.org uses lines like „our beaches are the hottest and the friendliest in the Middle East.‟ This ties in strongly with sexism and consumerism through the promotion of a consumption-driven experience (i.e. expensive drinks served at gay bars or gay clubs) as well as exoticization and fetishization such as “This Dashing piece of gay heaven holds within the perfect combination for a perfect vacation for men and women: gorgeous guys dancing at the hottest clubs, stunningly beautiful women enjoying our pure shores, modern & contemporary art galleries, cutting-edge fashion, local & international cuisine...
4. Spotlighting Israeli gay culture and consumerism internationally• Around 2008, Brand Israel selected cities including Toronto, Tokyo, Boston, and London as „pilot cities‟ for programs consisting of pro-Israeli advertisements, events highlighting Israeli products, film festivals and other events promoting Israeli culture.• Groups based in North America have „Out in Israel‟ LGBT Culture Festival that took also been running pro-Israel place in San Francisco in 2010. This event advertisement campaigns, most notably was partially sponsored by the Israeli in public transportation hubs. This has Consulate General to the Pacific happened as recently as June-July 2011 Northwest, an official office of the government in Chicago train stations. Advertisements of Israel. were also run in the San Francisco public transit system by standwithus.com.
5. Appropriating the term Pinkwashing• Some groups are taking the tactic of pinkwashing a step further, not only appropriating queer voices in order to cover up Israeli human rights violations, but also appropriating the language used to counter these efforts.• In this context, they have appropriated the term pinkwashing itself to mean brainwashing conducted by anti-Israel “...pro-Israel LGBTs needed to take this hate groups Pinkwashing term and turn it against our enemies. It would at once neutralize• These posters were designed for Pride its harmful potential against Israel and 2011 in New York and Toronto, though it put our attackers on the defensive. is unclear which group or groups Theyve done something really brilliant: created the first image. The other two instead of using Pinkwashing to be a images in this album on the facebook clever spin on the term whitewashing, group „Queer Support for Israel‟ are theyve co-opted it to mean courtesy of Kulanu Toronto. BRAINWASHING. ” Scott Piro, http://www.facebook.com/ SupportIsraelLGBT
The Consequences of Pinkwashing • Queer Palestinians are excluded from national forms of belonging and citizenship • Queer Palestinians are framed as either the victim, the exotic, or the monster/terrorist (all three are represented in Eytan Foxs film The Bubble), but they are never presented as having agency. • Enforcing and re-establishing the incorrect image of homosexuality as a western issue
• Palestinian society is represented as homophobic and backward, the opposite of “democratic” and “modern” Israel.• These representations legitimize the occupation, which is framed as a necessary securitization of the Israeli nation against the intrusion of “backward” and “homophobic” values “prevailing in the Middle East.”• This legitimization of the occupation denies the unequal power dynamics between Palestinians and Israel, which enforces a state-led occupation and apartheid.
Good Intentions and Complicity• This slogan equates the illegal occupation of Free Palestine Rally, London, 2005. Palestinian land with homophobia in Palestine, as if Slogan: “Israel stop persecuting Palestine! they were the same types of violence. Palestine stop persecuting queers!“• This slogan participates in the fantasy of securitization and seems to imply that to be free, Palestinians first need to stop being homophobic. It conflates an entire population with homophobia and re-articulates the image of Western exceptionalism.• Homophobia is a phenomenon from which Israel and other countries are of course not exempt.• The discourse of homophobia is a Western one, which imposes a singular strategy of visibility on queer communities that is not necessarily suited to their societies.• This discourse divides the world into an overly simplified duality of homophobe vs. LGBTQ people and allies, ignoring the social and political context of homophobia and its rootedness in larger structures of sexual and gender discrimination.
Homonationalism• Homonationalism describes the acceptance and inclusion of some homosexuals in the nation- state.• A new “accepted” national gay citizen is created at the expense of sexual and racial others, who can never fully belong to the nation.• National homosexuality is turned into a brand that regulates who can be seen as a proper gay citizen and reinforces sexual and racial stereotypes, perpetuating the exclusion of entire populations.
Principles of HomonationalismHomonormativity:• LGBT people—mainly white, middle class patriotic consumers—copy the heteronormative foundations of the nation, to which they now have access at the expense of racial and sexual others.• This normativity relates to the copying of heteronormative forms of kinship, an ascendency of whiteness and the ability to spend money and to travel. It is based on a pattern of sameness with a twist, aimed at assimilation.• Certain gay communities are turned into just another niche in the neoliberal market, and their participation in the market establishes them as good national citizens, while other queer communities are even more excluded from full citizenship and belonging.
Principles of HomonationalismCounterterrorism:• The construction of the “proper” homonormative LGBT person as an acceptable citizen of the nation enables the construction of the terrorist as a deviant queer always outside of the nation.• Counterterrorism policies are legitimized by disguising them as aimed at the protection of human rights, specifically womens and gay rights. Superficial concern for gay rights is used to disguise other types of human rights violations.
Principles of HomonationalismSecuritization:• The exceptional image of nation-state now includes some homosexuals, whose presence legitimates the nation‟s call for enhanced securitization.• Securitization is directed against sexual and racial others that are re-created as a threat to society.• This happens both inside and outside the nations borders.• A racialized and sexualized discourse on security underpins the nation‟s demands for enhanced securitization against entire populations identified with terrorism. Time Out: “You see here a threat, we see here an opportunity”
Principles of HomonationalismExceptionalism:• A nation engages with gay rights, or the liberal jargon of gay emancipation in order to brand itself as democratic, modern, tolerant and diverse.• It does not only brand the nation as exceptional but is used to brand entire populations as "barbaric" and "homophobic“, in contrast to the exceptional nation.• Sexual and racial others become indefinitely foreign to the nation.• The nation needs to protect itself against this "otherness" that could potentially harm the hetero/homonormative foundations of the nation.
Homonationalism in PracticeThe Netherlands:• Both left- and right-wing political parties, including Geert Wilders and his extreme right wing “Party for Freedom”, (part of the Dutch government), use the protection of gay rights as a justification for their anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant policies. Suddenly, being accepting of queers comes to measure the level democracy and freedom. This diverts attention from the structural oppression of minorities.
USA:• The war in Iraq is partially legitimized by framing Arab societies as homophobic. The USA becomes the bringer of democracy because it comes to “save” gay Iraqis.• Dont Ask, Dont Tell: The struggle to allow lesbian, gay, and bisexual people to serve openly in the military was also the homonationalistic struggle to allow them to prove their patriotism by fighting Muslims who are depicted as sexist and homophobic.
Israel:• The increase of Israeli flags at gay pride. The gay identity becomes inseparable from Israeli nationality which leads to the exclusion of sexual and racial others.• Nationalistic gay male porn, shot in the ruins of old Palestinian villages, underlining the exceptional status of Israel: The triumph of gay rights over the barbaric, homophobic Arab society.
The increasing use of, and investment in social media supporting the interests of the Israeli state andthe occupation of Palestinians by pointing out the exceptionalism of Israel‟s “gay rights” in contrast tothe rest of the Middle East
Homonationalism in Israel is on therise:• Supporters of homonationalism in Israel re-articulate the claim that criticizing state policies equals anti- Semitism and an anti-gay agenda, refuting the right of Palestinians to self-determination, and obscuring the distinction between Judaism and Zionism.• Gay emancipation goes hand in hand with Israeli militarism and the desire to openly serve in the IDF• Jewish Israeli queers can only come out as depoliticized Zionist queers.
How to Fight PinkwashingIntersections between struggles: Fighting forthe rights of oppressed and marginalized queerminorities cannot be separated from fighting against allforms of oppression, therefore, fighting for our “gay rights”is not separate from our struggle against occupationIndividually:• Learn to notice pinkwashing: the first step to being able to fight it is being able to recognize it• Call it out: explain pinkwashing to others and ask Judith Butler turns down the Civil them for their support in resisting it Courage Award at Christopher• Refuse to participate in pinkwashing: don‟t work with Street Day in Berlin. Radical queer organizations complicit in pinkwashing groups had urged her to refuse the award, because of the racist, islamophobic and nationalistCollectively: tendencies of the organizers of the• Hold events about pinkwashing in your community event. The organizers laid these claims aside by publicly stating• Join groups dedicated to supporting BDS and "those people are not the majority countering pinkwashing here‟• Start a new group!
BDS- Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel.This is a well-established method of non-violent resistance.The struggle against pinkwashing is part of the struggleagainst Israeli occupation, and BDS is one of the mostwidespread and organized means of resisting Israelioccupation.Why BDS?• It is a civil society call, endorsed by more than 170 groups organizations and unions.• A well-constructed way of resistance: non violent , defined, clear strategies• Historically it worked to end the apartheid in South Africa and it‟s gaining more and more momentum.• Ideologies & strategies like: peace process, negotiations, co-existence are irrelevant and factually didn‟t change the reality for the last 63 years.• Only international economical, academic, and cultural pressure can be effective