Friday, November 12, 2021

  • Friday, November 12, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

An LGBTQ  rainbow flag was painted on the separation barrier near Ramallah in 2015 - and it was whitewashed hours later

Haaretz has an article by a gay Palestinian who lives in America, Izat Elamoor. (The article is unclear but he appears to be an Israeli Arab who identifies as Palestinian.)

When he lived in Israel, he tried to get involved with one of the two Palestinian groups that supposedly work towards LGBTQ rights, AlQaws. However, he was turned off - because they spent all of their time blaming every problem on Israel under the guise of "intersectionality:"

When I first heard of alQaws, I expected that their central focus would be to work towards dismantling homophobia in Palestinian society, while creating spaces for LGBTQ Palestinians like me, who were still trying to imagine a future that would reconcile their culture and family with their queerness. 

Instead, I constantly found myself in perplexing discussions dominated by terms such as intersectionality, pinkwashing, homonationalism, and settler-colonialism. 

While I did not completely comprehend how these terms were, according to alQaws’ organizers, key to LGBTQ liberation, I knew enough to question this approach. But I did not feel comfortable making my voice heard, and so I remained mostly silent. I began to feel unsure how I fitted into alQaws’ world.
Once you read between the lines of the article, it is clear is that the primary problem for gays in Palestinian society is Palestinian culture itself that simply does not accept gays and looks upon them as sources of shame. Everything else (like the absurd "pinkwashing" accusation against Israel) doesn't help gays in the least, and indeed ordinary Palestinians don't even know what these terms mean. 

Elamoor doesn't want to upset his intersectional friends nor his Palestinian friends who insist that every single Palestinian problem is somehow the Jews' fault. So he writes things like

While alQaws’ organizers would argue that the persistence of such Palestinian homophobia should be seen as related to the persistence of the occupation, that does not make it any less urgent, nor does it prevent us from fighting it as aggressively and in parallel to the occupation. 
But even he knows that Israel has nothing to do with the problem:
While alQaws’ organizers would argue that the persistence of such Palestinian homophobia should be seen as related to the persistence of the occupation, that does not make it any less urgent, nor does it prevent us from fighting it as aggressively and in parallel to the occupation. 

...And what about the members of the LGBTQ community themselves, some of whom face violence, or intimidation, fear exposing their sexual or gender identity, or want to actively contribute to the struggle to confront and solve exactly these issues, without discarding the Palestinian national struggle, but also without making one contingent upon the other?

It strikes me as a poor strategy to demand participants always simultaneously claim their Palestinian-hood alongside their queerness alongside calling to end the occupation. 
He tries to be circumspect, but the reason that this "intersectionality" exists in the Palestinian LGBTQ rights organizations is because Palestinians are raised to blame everything on Israel, even things under their own control. 

So wife-beating is blamed on Israel, obesity is blamed on Israel, animal abuse is blamed on Israel. Of course any lack of gay rights must always be Israel's fault; it is the default position, and the excuses can be made up afterwards easily enough - like "homonationalism." 

Palestinian mentality is that they have no agency and no responsibility, and all of their failures are someone else's fault - Great Britain or the UN or Israel. It avoids them from feeling shame for their own refusal to grow up. This is merely one of many examples. 


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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