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‘Pinkwashing’ Israel Debate Hits Gay Forum

Tel Aviv is the best gay destination in the world. That’s what a worldwide survey hosted in January by GayCities.com and American Airlines showed, and Israeli diplomats in Western countries proudly put the fact on display.

Many liberal pro-Palestinian activists saw this as “pinkwashing” the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. The website pinkwatchingisrael.com called upon Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community members to boycott the 20th Annual Equality Forum in Philadelphia, which features Israel this year and has invited Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren to be a keynote speaker.

Activists wrote that “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 – appropriation of queer voices from Israel and Palestine and the gay rights struggle to distract from and normalize the numerous human rights and international law violations and the colonial and apartheid policies that the Israeli State has established on the ground,” they wrote.

Some members of the community indeed decided to skip the event this year, but the Israeli delegation nevertheless made it there, and Oren spoke at the event on Saturday night.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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