(In)Equality Forum 2012: The Year’s Biggest Pinkwashing Event – Take Action

(In)Equality Forum 2012: The Year’s Biggest Pinkwashing Event – Take Action
March 29, 2012 By pinkwatcher Campaign Updates

Campaign intro

The Equality Forum, an annual LGBTQ conference held in Philadelphia, has announced that Israel is their featured nation for 2012, and they have invited the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, to deliver the keynote speech.

Ambassador Oren, who personally has an atrocious record of supporting Israel’s war crimes and was the object of a demonstration by students in 2010 at UC Irvine (the Irvine 11), has no business delivering the keynote speech at a conference dedicated to social justice and equality. This year’s Equality Forum conference, which is partnered with the Israeli Embassy in Washington and the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, is a flagrant form of Pinkwashing.

Call to action

Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, or PQBDS, a coalition of Palestinian LGBTQ groups, has released a statement in which they call for a boycott of the Equality Forum 2012.

Please write to the Executive Director of the Equality Forum, Malcolm Lazin (mlazin@equalityforum.com), and the Chair of the Board, Professor Debra Blair (dblair@temple.edu), to tell them not to allow the Equality Forum to pinkwash Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.

Dear Malcolm Lazin and Debra Blair:

I am writing to express my grave concern that the Equality Forum has chosen Israel as its “featured country” for the 2012 Summit in May, and will feature Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., as the Keynote speaker at the International Equality Dinner. By partnering with the Israeli Embassy in Washington and the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, the Equality Forum has become part of a well-funded rebranding campaign undertaken by the Israeli government to improve its international reputation after being severely criticized by a wide range of entities, including the United Nations and the International Court of Justice, for serious human rights violations in its treatment of Palestinians. Their aim is to market their gay-friendliess so that they can “change the subject,” from the negative condemnation of Israel’s occupation of Palestine to a positive discussion of how pro-gay Israel state policy is. This campaign, called “Brand Israel,” aimed to respond to the growing movement against apartheid in Israel by portraying Israel as “relevant and modern.” Queer and trans activists around the world who oppose occupation and apartheid have called this strategy “pinkwashing” because it is a direct effort to conceal the extreme violence and harm that Israel inflicts on Palestinians, including queer and trans Palestinians, by promoting Israel as “gay friendly.”

This is the Open Letter members of the first LGBTQI delegation to Palestine wrote after they returned from their trip in January 2012 – please sign on to the letter.

This is an op-ed about pinkwashing that Sarah Schulman published in the New York Times.

This is a recent article by Jasbir Puar about pinkwashing.

This is a recent article by Katherine Franke responding to a pinkwashing event that PFLAG hosted.

This is where you can find information about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctionsmovement and the many people and organizations who have joined its work.

Here are links to Palestinian queer/trans organizations working against homophobia, transphobia, occupation and apartheid:

Palestinian Queers for BDS



This post was originally published here

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2 Responses

  1. Nurit Shein says:

    I am not sure who writes this nonsense for your internet, but whoever they are you should fire them if you are truly concerned for the well being of Palestinian Queers. If we were not dealing with real life-threatening dangers faced by Palestinian LGBT individuals in the territories every day, your spin on facts would be funny. Have you forgotten what Mahmud A-Zahar of Hamas said – Homosexuals and Lesbians are a minority of perverts and sick people. Have you forgotten that homosexuality is against the law in the territories and those brought to trial face many years of imprisonment? Have you forgotten the hundreds of LGBT individuals who enter illegally into Israel so that they can be who they are?

    If there is one area in which there should not be any disagreement it’s the fact that Israel is a much safer place for individuals of our community – and that is what Equality Forum is trying to highlight. Israel could serve as an example to all as far as legal acceptance, recognition of rights, and defense against discrimination of the LGBT community. You are the ones using the gay community for your twisted political platform.

  2. nyster says:

    I wonder how many of you have even been to Israel.

    I wonder if ANY of you realize how tiny this country is. (about 1 1/2 times the size of LA County).

    I wonder if any of you understand what Apartheid even means.

    I wonder if you know that while Arabs have full citizenship in Israel, that Jews are prohibited from living in ANY Arab country, that all the Jews who used to be citizens in Arab countries were kicked out of their homes, refugees, with nothing more than the clothes they wore with their homes and property stolen from them (unlike the Arabs who gladly left their homes during the attack on this tiny country as soon as their statehood was declared by the UNITED NATIONS in 1948, so that they would not get injured when the surrounding Arab countries attacked the tiny new country to annihilate, yes, murder all Jews. That was – and still is – their stated objective).

    I wonder if you understand terms like human rights and humanitarianism.

    I wonder if you apply those concepts to ALL peoples, of all colors and ethnicity and all religions.

    I wonder if you include Jews.

    I wonder if you include Israelis.

    I wonder if you’ve ever heard the horrible loud blast of a bus rip to shreds when a terrorist blows it up, or have smelled the burning flesh, or seen body parts fly out with the debris from the explosion.

    I wonder why otherwise intelligent people can’t figure out that they are supporting a group of hateful people who would gladly kill them for no reason more than their sexual preference.

    I wonder why it is that the people who most loudly accuse others of being haters are themselves the most vociferous of haters.

    I wonder…

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