Pinkwashing and “Brand Israel”

by anzya

Sarah Schulman’s “A Documentary Guide to Pinkwashing” was recently published on Pretty Queer. It reveals the history of “Brand Israel” which explicitly aimed to promote Israel to young people and “liberals”. Some of this was also published in a shorter piece in the NY Times. But the longer one is definitely worth a read and is full of interesting info. For example, apparently one of the findings of a 2010 Israeli Policy and Strategy conference was “That many criticisms of Israel will stop when policy towards Palestinians is changed”. But, of course, the Israeli government preferred the tack of promoting Israel as a fun gay travel destination. Schulman reveals that the “Gay Israel” campaign has nothing to do with a concern for gay rights or combatting homophobia, but is rather a cynical strategy that appropriates gay rights for the sake of PR.  Here is an extract from the article:

What makes LGBT people and their allies so susceptible to Homonationalism and Pinkwashing is the emotional legacy of homophobia. The vast majority of Queers have had profound oppression experiences, often in the searing realm of Family, reflected by the lack of legal rights, and reinforced by distorted representations in Arts and Entertainment. The relative civil equality of white gays in The Netherlands and Germany has only been achieved within a generation, and still does not erase the pain of familial and cultural exclusion. As a consequence, many people have come to mistakenly assess how advanced a country is by how it responds to homosexuality. Yet, in a selective democracy like Israel, the inclusion of LGBT Jews in the military, or the relative openness of Tel Aviv are not accurate measures of broad human rights.