(In)Equality Forum 2012: The Year’s Biggest Pinkwashing Event – Take Action
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the Chair of the Board, Professor Debra Blair (email@example.com), 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:
This post was originally published here.