Gays Debate 'Pinkwashing' as N.Y. Center Reverses Ban on Israel-Related Events

Pro-Israel Advocates Slam Theory as Critics Push Conference

Green Light: Sarah Schulman hopes she can now go forward with a talk about her book, which is critical of Israel, at the LGBT Center.
WIKICOMMONS/DAVID SHANKBONE/
Green Light: Sarah Schulman hopes she can now go forward with a talk about her book, which is critical of Israel, at the LGBT Center.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published February 20, 2013, issue of March 01, 2013.
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“We vehemently oppose the absurd accusations by some groups that Israel is engaged in so-called pinkwashing. We find this cause offensive and fundamentally detrimental to the global cause of LGBT equality,” the officials wrote.

Poupko said that the speaker’s office had a brief, routine consultation with the JCRC about the statement before it was issued.

The criticism of pinkwashing from the elected officials comes a month before the CUNY conference organized by Schulman, titled the “Homonationalism and Pinkwashing Conference.” The academic conference, which will feature 189 speakers, will address “Homonationalism.” According to conference materials, this is something that “occurs when sub-sectors of specific gay communities achieve legal parity with heterosexuals and then embrace racial and religious supremacy ideologies.”

Jewish activists say they have decided not to protest the conference vocally. “This is a small group of radical left scholars, so the consensus is to allow academic freedom and just ignore [it],” Michaelson said.

Though Israel is not mentioned in the description on the conference website, a call for papers issued in 2012 speaks at length about pinkwashing and Israel. Some of the accepted papers will address pinkwashing in Israel, according to a published conference schedule.

In an email, Schulman said that there was no conflict between the two descriptions of the conference.

“The conference is on two themes; most of the papers are on homonationalism, but there are two panels on pinkwashing and one on Zionism, plus various papers on Israel situated within broader panel topics,” Schulman wrote. “It was never intended to be otherwise.”

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at nathankazis@forward.com or on Twitter @joshnathankazis


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