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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Pinkwashing:" Visceral hate for Israel in a NYT op-ed

The New York Times has an op-ed by Sarah Schulman, a professor of humanities at CUNY, that can only be described as pure, visceral hate for Israel under the veneer of fake liberalism.

In 2005, with help from American marketing executives, the Israeli government began a marketing campaign, “Brand Israel,” aimed at men ages 18 to 34. The campaign, as reported by The Jewish Daily Forward, sought to depict Israel as “relevant and modern.” The government later expanded the marketing plan by harnessing the gay community to reposition its global image.

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.”

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.”
Yes, a professor at a prestigious university is arguing that every positive Israeli action is not positive, but an immoral attempt to whitewash Israeli crimes.

We've seen this same kind of thinking before, when Israel set up field hospitals in Japan and Haiti after natural disasters. Critics charge that the doctors and other volunteers who spend countless hours helping ordinary victims far away from Israel are really doing propaganda for the evil state of Israel, and their efforts are a transparent effort to distract the world from Israeli crimes.

In both these cases, we have a pure manifestation of psychological projection at play.

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. (Shulman's "proof" is that homophobia still exists in Israel, as if there is anywhere on the planet that it has been eradicated.)

Since the critics define Israel this way, they assume that Israel defines itself this way as well. If Israel exhibits any whiff of charity, or liberalism, or kindness - it is nothing more than a smokescreen to cover for its genocidal, racist ways. The idea that Israel has both good and bad parts, or that different Israelis (outside the enlightened anti-Zionist variety) can ever do something different or orthogonal to their real goal of oppressing Arabs, is simply not possible. If some Israelis start a charitable organization it is not because they actually want to help people, but because they want to cover up their constant crimes. Kindness and morality are not possible, so any examples must really be sophisticated manifestations of Israel's inherent evil.

To these sick people, it is literally impossible for Israel or Israelis to do anything admirable outside the context of the conflict. The conflict is everything. To them, Israel itself is defined by its own desire to rid itself of Arabs. Any counter-proof is readily dismissed as nothing more than PR. The concept that most Israelis are just trying to live their lives like everyone else, and that they might even be nice, normal, relatable people, must be combated. If Israelis are perceived by the world as human beings, their message of Israeli criminality gets diluted - and that must be fought. Anything that could blunt the demonization of the Jewish state is by definition as evil as the Jewish state itself is.

This is hate, pure and simple. It is the exact opposite of the liberalism these haters profess. It is the bigoted stereotyping of an entire people and their democratically elected government in order to twist reality to reflect their own visceral loathing.

And just as the bullying Israeli Jews cannot possibly do anything positive for gays, the eternal victims in "Palestine" cannot do anything wrong:

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. More important is the emerging Palestinian gay movement with three major organizations: Aswat, Al Qaws and Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. 

So not only is Israel incomparably evil, but Palestinian Arabs are incomparably tolerant and liberal, according to this faux crusader for gay rights.

A quick look through the websites of the three Palestinian Arab gay-rights groups she mentions reveals something interesting: it is nearly impossible to find the names of any of their members or leaders.

And the reason is explained at the Awsat site:

Most of Aswat members are "closeted" to some extent. Consequently, only one or two members can go public and identify themselves as Aswat members in our activities involving a certain amount of exposure i.e., advocacy & outreach, education etc. The 'closet' is an outcome of a homophobic and patriarchal society which has an undeniable impact on Aswat activities. Yet, group members develop different strategies in order to participate in various activities. For example, some members use nicknames when presenting themselves or reaching out to other community members, while others choose to promote activities which allow a reasonable degree of anonymity such as translations, Committee meetings, virtual support to others, information gathering, fundraising tasks etc. Thus, due to personal safety considerations, Aswat members have requested their names not to be disclosed.
The cognitive dissonance that runs through Sarah Schulman's head must be overwhelming. According to their own activists, Palestinian Arab gays live under the constant fear of being physically harmed - a fear that the evil Israeli gay community simply does not have. Schulman is trying to give the impression that it is Israel that has the problems with gays, and Palestinian Arabs are the tolerant ones, even as this is shown to be a lie by the Palestinian Arab gay community itself!

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.

Being a professor does not inoculate one against infection with this virus of hate.

Sarah Schulman is just another hater.

And this op-ed proves it.