Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pink (brain)washing

From Time:
Next month is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride month, an international season of parades, cultural festivals and street parties celebrating gay rights. But amid all the good cheer, tensions are rising over a controversial issue that is splintering LGBT communities. Around the world, major pride events are being used as battlegrounds to combat what some pro-Palestinian, progay activists are calling pink washing: Israel's promotion of its progressive gay-rights record as a way to cover up ongoing human-rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza.

The accusations stem from efforts over the past half-decade by the Israeli government to weave the country's gay-friendly policies - including national hate-crime laws, employment protection for LGBT workers and openly gay military service - into its larger national-rebranding strategy, in the hopes of redirecting its global image away from politics, terrorism and the occupied territories. "The Israeli government and its propaganda organs ... insist on advertising and exaggerating its recent record on LGBT rights ... to fend off international condemnation of its violations of the rights of the Palestinian people," says Joseph Massad, associate professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University in New York City.

... In June 2010, gay-pride parade organizers in Madrid banned a contingent of Israeli marchers in response to the deadly Gaza flotilla raid weeks earlier. That same month, activists protested the Israeli government's co-sponsorship of San Francisco's Frameline LGBT Film Festival. In March this year, the pro-Palestinian group Palestina protested a conference in Stockholm featuring Israeli LGBT cultural figures. And at the Berlin gay-pride parade on June 25, the Israeli delegation will reportedly promote Tel Aviv - rather than the country as a whole - in an attempt to avoid provoking anti-Israel sentiment.
People who call themselves "progressive" and yet hate the most progressive country in the Middle East get tied up in knots when two of their pet causes contradict each other so starkly. They simply cannot assimilate that the nation they despise is so consonant with their stated beliefs in non-Middle East matters. Making them even crazier is the fact that the Arabs they say they love so much are not exactly gay-friendly.

How can these modern haters reconcile these mutually contradictory positions? Very simple: they claim that Israel is not really so progressive, but cynically uses its progressive positions to distract the world from the Real Problem.

They use the same insane arguments when Israel sends aid to disaster areas, as we have seen. In short, their hate for Israel is so total that they cannot even admit that Israel ever does things that are good. They hate, and they dedicate their lives towards spreading that hate.

This is the textbook definition of bigotry, by the way. Unfortunately, these modern bigots cannot appreciate the irony that they are the worst practitioners of something they claim to abhor.

(h/t Zach N)