Features, Human Rights, Politics

‘Pinkwashing’ and Traitors to the Human Mind

Last week, the neologism ‘pinkwashing’ made an unwelcome return to news headlines. On Friday January 22, protesters bearing placards denouncing Israel disrupted an event organized by the National LGBTQ Task Force as part of its Creating Change conference in Chicago. The protesters, it seems, were upset by the involvement of an Israeli LGBT organisation called Jerusalem Open House and a Jewish LGBT organization called A Wider Bridge that, the JTA reported, “seeks to build ties between gay communities in North America and Israel.”

Over at the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, law professor David Bernstein was flabbergasted. “Many participants,” he wrote, “describe the demonstration as both anti-Semitic and physically threatening (and the hotel felt obliged to call the police), but we can limit ourselves to the sheer craziness of radical LGBT activists shouting “free Palestine” and anti-Israel slogans to shut down an event involving an Israeli LGBT organization when Israel is a gay rights haven and the Palestinian territories, to say the least, are not.”

This was, as I hope to explain, to miss the point about what really irritates these people. And while I share Bernstein’s dismay, he needn’t have been shocked by their apparent perversity. It is only the most recent manifestation of a peculiar malady that has disproportionately afflicted the Left for decades.

On Israel and “pinkwashing,” more in a moment. First, a word on what George Orwell called “habits of mind.”

In his 1945 essay Notes on Nationalism, Orwell explored the effect of tribal loyalty on our capacity for reasoned judgment. What interested him was not nationalism in its narrow, literal sense, but a broader, figurative definition encompassing a commitment to “such movements and tendencies as Communism, political Catholicism, Zionism, Antisemitism, Trotskyism, and Pacifism.” A weakness for nationalisms of this kind, Orwell argued, was a characteristic of what he called “the intelligentsia.”

He doesn’t define this vague term, but I take it to mean those who take pride in a refined sensitivity to the needs of the oppressed and in a sophisticated understanding of the nature of reality. It is what sets them apart from a reflexively jingoistic population, whom it is their self-appointed task to enlighten and instruct. The problem, Orwell said, is that the arrogance of nationalist certainty has a habit of leading even the most intelligent people into moral incoherence.

A writer as perceptive and gifted as G. K. Chesterton, he observed, may have been the unyielding defender of liberty and democracy at home, but his non-negotiable devotion to a sentimentalised notion of political Catholicism persuaded him to venerate Italian fascism and to ignore French colonialism entirely. Self-deception of this kind is made easier by adopting what Orwell called a “transferred nationalism” – the kind attached to a foreign leader, doctrine, or people.

[F]or an intellectual, transference makes it possible for him to be much more nationalistic—more vulgar, more silly, more malignant, more dishonest—than he could ever be on behalf of his native country, or any unit of which he had real knowledge. When one sees the slavish or boastful rubbish that is written about Stalin, the Red army, etc. by fairly intelligent and sensitive people, one realizes that this is only possible because some kind of dislocation has taken place.

An obvious benefit afforded by transferred nationalism, of course, is that one doesn’t have to suffer its consequences. Had he lived long enough, Orwell would not, I suspect, have been surprised to learn of Jean-Paul Sartre’s support for Maoism and the Algerian FLN’s murder of civilians; nor of Michel Foucault’s description of the Ayatollah Khomeini as “a kind of mystic Saint”; nor of the solidarity offered to the genocidal theocrats of Hamas and Hezbollah by queer Jewish-American radicals like Judith Butler.

Orwell notes that the political Left and Right are both susceptible to this phenomenon, but that among the intelligentsia of 1945, Communism was by far the predominant form of nationalism. With the hopes and dreams of Communist utopia long-since reduced to rubble, that once-unshakeable faith has been quietly re-transferred elsewhere. Today, Palestinian nationalism is the cause into which thinkers are invited to empty the same intense moral certainty that Orwell’s deluded contemporaries once wasted on Stalin.

Only, notice a distinction: Western Communists and their fellow travellers defended the Soviet Union because they were persuaded of the nobility of Communist doctrine. Western support for Palestinian nationalism depends on the Palestinians’ nobility as a people: what Bertrand Russell called a belief in the “superior virtue of the oppressed.” The problem is that many of the ideas actually animating Palestinians and their leadership have turned out to be antithetical to the values that Western intellectuals offer as evidence of their own moral standards.

This is particularly acute in the case of Gaza, which has been held by Hamas since the jihadist organization seized it by force in 2007. The Hamas Charter is a work of genocidal conspiracy theory. It is also short and freely available online in English translation. In the Strip itself, compliance with religious law is enforced by a Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which reports to the Hamas Ministry of the Waqf. Mixing of the sexes and dancing is discouraged, and areas where either occurs have been closed down or attacked by Islamist vigilante groups. The sale and consumption of alcohol is, of course, prohibited. Book banning and political censorship are widespread. Demonstrators have been beaten, political opponents have been kneecapped and murdered, and Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel have been shot in the streets without so much as a cursory nod at due process.

The areas of the West Bank misgoverned by the ostensibly secular Palestinian Authority are scarcely better. The creation of the PA, pursuant to the terms of the 1993 Oslo accords, was supposed to midwife the emergence of a democratic politics in Palestine. Instead, it produced a kleptocratic police state. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is in year 11 of a four-year term. Palestinian law supposedly guarantees freedom of assembly, but criticism of the PA has resulted in the summary jailing and intimidation of Palestinian politicians, journalists, and citizens who have made the mistake of criticizing pervasive government corruption.

And across both territories murderous incitement against Jews, vilification of Israel, and the valorization of terror and its Palestinian “martyrs” are commonplace in mosques, classrooms, and media.

All this ought to present a challenge to the notion that Palestinian nationalism enjoys some kind of automatic moral advantage over its hated Zionist antagonist. Israel is, after all, a self-critical parliamentary democracy with a vibrant free press, and an independent judiciary that safeguards the equality of all its citizens before the law. On the available evidence, what is an independent Palestinian State likely to look like?

Consider the following table comparing LGBT rights and protections in Israel with those in the Palestinian territories:

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 7.34.24 am

Source: Wikipedia [1, 2]

* Same-sex marriage from abroad has been recognized since 2006
** No restriction if last MSM activity was before 1977.

It should be added that, although same-sex activity was technically decriminalized in the West Bank in 1951 (when the British Mandate Criminal Code was replaced by the Jordanian penal code), homosexuality there remains highly taboo. Gay Palestinians have faced extrajudicial torture, humiliation, blackmail, and beatings at the hands of the PA police; they have faced persecution in wider society; and they have been the victims of honor-based-violence and ostracism by their own families.

In Gaza, the British Mandate’s archaic 1936 ordinance authorizing a prison term of up to ten years for “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” [i.e. sodomy] remains in place, unamended. But as last year’s ILGA report revealed, this may be about to change:

In March 2014, media sources reported that Hamas drafted a law—planned to come into force in late-2016—that makes same-sex sexual behavior punishable by 100 lashes and up to five years in prison, and execution if such behavior happens three times. [Pg. 72]

While Tel Aviv is the home of a thriving LGBT scene and an annual Gay Pride parade, it is still extremely dangerous to be openly gay in Palestine. Hundreds of LGBT Palestinians have fled the territories for Israel. “We told the people in the village that we were friends, and for a while it worked,” said the boyfriend of one. “But then one day we found a letter under our door from the Islamic court. It listed the five forms of death prescribed by Islam for homosexuality, including stoning and burning. We fled to Israel that same day.”

But no appeal to the value of Israeli democracy can be allowed to pass unresisted. Palestinian nobility has to be protected at all costs, especially vis-à-vis its Jewish foe. Just as a fanatical attachment to Communist nationalism demanded a corresponding antipathy to Western capitalist democracy that was unanswerable to reason, so the Palestinian nationalism of its most fanatical adherents has become indistinguishable from a ferociously irrational anti-Zionism.

Once it became known that Israel intended to foreground its record on gay rights as part of a new public relations initiative, it was clear that something would have to be done to neutralize this threat to the moral order of things—and that maximum righteous indignation would need to be marshaled into the bargain.

As far as I can tell, the first time an accusation of Israeli ‘pinkwashing’ appeared outside of activist circles, was in a 2010 article for the Guardian written by an American queer theorist and Gender Studies professor named Jasbir K. Puar. But it wasn’t until the following year, when a Jewish-American novelist, queer activist, and humanities academic named Sarah Schulman published an OpEd in the New York Times on the subject, that the term received widespread attention. “Pinkwashing,” we discovered, described “a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life.” In other words, Israel’s record on gay rights is simply a manoeuvre calculated to conceal its malevolent character.

Schulman and Puar’s argument was and is nothing more than a crude instrument of delegitimization. It says nothing about Israeli cynicism and rather a lot about their own. In their determination to transform the self-evidently laudable into the sinister and reprehensible, Schulman and Puar were prepared to empty the struggle for gay liberation itself of meaning and value. This may seem a perverse position for queer activists to adopt, but if one sees virtue in strictly binary zero-sum terms, it becomes imperative to deny your opponent credit for anything.

Puar and Schulman simply waved away evidence of Palestinian intolerance, secure in the knowledge that to do so would not have the slightest affect on the rights and protections they’d continue to enjoy in America. Anyone who did notice this sort of thing and decided to point it out, they declared, is a racist. “Israeli pinkwashing,” Puar revealed…

…is a potent method through which the terms of Israeli occupation of Palestine are reiterated—Israel is civilised, Palestinians are barbaric, homophobic, uncivilised, suicide-bombing fanatics . . . In reproducing orientalist tropes of Palestinian sexual backwardness, it also denies the impact of colonial occupation on the degradation and containment of Palestinian cultural norms and values.

In an essay for the academic journal Public Culture entitled Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World, Joseph Massad, a Palestinian-American professor at the Columbia University, had previously gone further. According to him, the very effort to universalise gay rights is a project of missionary colonialism on the part of a menacing network of orientalist NGOs and activists he called “The Gay International.” This baleful project, Massad claimed, is what is actually responsible for the persecution of “practitioners of same-sex relations” by Islamists and other reactionaries in Arab and Muslim societies.

Such people are inflamed, he wrote, not by their own bigoted doctrines and attitudes, but by the imperial imposition of Western conceptions of “gay identity” on societies where they do not, in fact, exist! For instance, Massad explained the persecution of homosexuals by the Egyptian state like this: “It is not same-sex sexual practices that are being repressed by the Egyptian police but rather the sociopolitical identification of these practices with the Western identity of gayness and the publicness that these gay-identified men seek.”

A very silly argument indeed! As Orwell remarked of comparable nonsense circulated by clever people in his own day: “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

For taking perfectly justifiable pride in a progressive record on LGBT rights, Westerners in general, and Israelis in particular, suddenly found themselves forced to answer accusations of racism, cultural imperialism, incitement of Arab and Muslim gay-hatred, and the cynical laundering of neo-colonial violence. These are inflammatory charges calculated to elicit moral outrage and demands for capitulation not compromise. The Chicago protesters may have begun by chanting for an end to the occupation, but lest that term be confused with support for moderation and peaceful co-existence, such chants soon gave way to the eliminationist slogan “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free!”

As an aggressive piece of activist strategy, the “pinkwashing” charge is shameless and shrewd. As a piece of moral reasoning, it is inane. For those intellectuals who contrive to revile Israel for the good it does as well as the bad, defense of Palestinian nationalism’s superior virtue has become the consideration before which all others must fall. But for ordinary, liberally-minded people whose capacity for clear thought has not been destroyed by spiteful masochism and obscurantist jargon, gay rights and the freedom to love openly as one chooses are precious for their own sake.

Contra Schulman, Puar, and Massad, an indication of a society’s civilization or backwardness can indeed be found in its treatment of minorities. And by any objective measure, liberal democracy—imperfect as it is—has a far better record on this than any one of the Middle East’s dictatorships, monarchies, and theocracies.

There persists on the intellectual Left an obstinate refusal to recognize this self-evident fact, or even to acknowledge information that might support it. “The nationalist” Orwell wrote, “not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

At a 2013 event held at the LGBT Centre in New York, Sarah Schulman declared herself to be in opposition to anyone “invested in systems of supremacy, whether it’s gender supremacy, religious or racial supremacy.” Asked by the journalist Sohrab Ahmari if she considered Hamas to be among those invested in such systems, she replied: “I don’t know enough about Hamas to give you a complete, intelligent analysis of Hamas.” So mesmerized is Schulman by the idea of the Palestinians that she cannot bring herself to even look at the specifics.

“Many [on the Western Left] whose allegiance went to the Soviet Union,” wrote the historian Robert Conquest, “may well be seen as traitors to their countries, and to the democratic culture. But their profounder fault was more basic still. Seeing themselves as independent brains, making choices as thinking beings, they ignored their own criteria. They did not examine the multifarious evidence, already available in the 1930s, on the realities of the Communist regimes. That is to say, they were traitors to the human mind, to thought itself.”


Jamie Palmer is a writer and film-maker and senior editor at Quillette. You can follow him on Twitter @j4mi3p


  1. Zac Nelson says

    Thank you, this article is just brilliant, so well researched and written. One of the best I’ve seen on Quillette!

  2. Anyone pro Israel is anti humanity…there is NOTHING democratic bout it except in the mind of zionists..you know those SOCIOPATHS living on stolen land and advocating genocide?!

    • For a real advocacy of genocide take a look at the Hamas charter. You illustrate the point of this commentary.

    • Yitzhak Santis says

      Accusations based on a delegitimization and dehumanizing trope. You prove perfectly the author’s main thesis. Thank you for your contribution.

  3. Israel can wave the flag all it wants and proclaim to the world how cool they treat the LGBT community, but I still see it as a propaganda campaign to divert attention from the unspeakable horrors that Palestinians suffer under the Zionist conquest and occupation of Palestine. Israel is a criminal state and proclaiming how wonderful they are to one small group is hypocritical.

    • Jared says

      If Israel is a criminal state then it is simply one among many in the neifhborhood, including Syria,
      Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc. That being the case
      why not celebrate the criminal state that offers more freedom then others?

  4. Neither criticising Israel nor pointing out Israel’s endless oppression of Palestinians is “anti-semitic”. That term is thrown about so easily by those wishing to shut down any discussion. This article appears to be another attempt to portray Israel as the victim and the Palestinians as violent fanatics. The author is quick to point out that “Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel have been shot in the streets without so much as a cursory nod at due process” by Hamas but does he know that extrajudicial killings of Palestinians are now the norm – the official policy is to shoot to kill anyone suspected of terrorism (or what should really be called resistance if, as is often the case, the attack is against an occupying soldier). The idea that Israel’s near 50 year occupation of Palestinian land and the blockade of Gaza could possibly count as incitement in itself appears to be beyond the comprehension of the author, he’d rather spread the type of propaganda usually seen coming from the lips of Benjamin Netanyahu – that Palestinians are taught to hate Jews from birth.

    • Justice for the Lhotshampa! says

      A good example of this sort of bonkers obsession is a man who lives in Bhutan, which has persecuted and expelled its non-ethnically Nepalese minority population …

      … but yet his Facebook page is absolutely chock full of post after post about the wickedness of the Jews and the saintly nature of the Palestinians.


    • “official policy is to shoot to kill anyone suspected of terrorism” Really? Not someone actively trying to stab someone, but anyone “suspected of terrorism?” Surely since this is “official policy,” you can provide a link to an official government statement stating this policy? Or perhaps not.

    • Yitzhak Santis says

      There is no shoot to kill policy, there is a policy to stop terrorists while committing their crime. Maybe in your mind stabbing, shooting, car-ramming unarmed civilians is “resistance”, but that only demonstrates the Stalinist mind at work. To your hackneyed point regarding antisemitism and criticism of Israel: to criticize a policy of the Israeli government is NOT antisemitic. However, to use antisemitic stereotypes in that criticism is indeed antisemitic.

      And, as an aside: just try to be critical of radical Islamism and see in how many nano seconds you are condemned as an “Islamophobe” as a means of shutting down discussion on Islamist jihadi ideologies.

    • Get a Grip McGinty. I like the way you conflate being killed for accused of collaboration without due process to be being shot while carrying out a stabbing on an innocent bystander.

      I’m sure you leave feeling vindicated that you spoke up for the oppressed. You didn’t, you proved yourself an amoral vacuous coward, so intent on virtue signalling you didn’t stop to think if you were actually signalling virtue.

    • Yet another idiot who mentions blockades and occupation but doesn’t bother to mention the multiple wars of aggression launched against Israel that led to the so-called “occupation”. Hmmm, I wonder what could have happened a few decades back that led to Israel “occupying” that land?

  5. I hesitate to descend into this cesspool of brainless comments, but point (clearly above the commenters’ cranial capacity) well made Jaime. Also, a correction: Joseph Massad is, of course, at Columbia University, not the University of Columbia.

  6. Tom White says

    Palestinians treating gays badly – not a good thing.

    So the implication is that the Palestianians should thereby put up with anything the Israelis throw at them? Well that doesn’t follow at all.

    What a pretentious and sloppy piece of ‘analysis’.

    Here’s the hub of it: ‘Western support for Palestinian nationalism rests on the Palestinians’ nobility as a people’. No, it doesn’t. It just asserts that territorial grabs and atrocities perpetrated to sustain those grabs are wrong, even if the Palestinians aren’t unbelievably lovely in every way.

    • Anyone who mentions “territory grabs” without mentioning the multiple wars of aggression launched against the Israelis, as if they just decided to “occupy” the land on a whim, is not be taken seriously.

  7. Golda says

    Thank you for this very well-written, clear piece. I think the comments are a perfect example of what you’re talking about here — my fellow liberals are unable to understand the reality that Israel is a democracy where people of all backgrounds (including 1.8 million Arabs) participate in all aspects of public life, and where LGBTQ folks have full rights. I’m hoping that articles like this will eventually convince people of what is actually happening in reality. If I will it, it is no dream, perhaps?

    • Tom White says

      Precisely not. Let’s leave aside the fact that Israel actually doesn’t actually allow Palestinians a full right to vote in the occupied territories, and so has a weird claim to be fully ‘democratic’.

      The point is simple. The fact that a) Israel treats gays better than the Palestinian Authority does not imply b) it is thereby absolved from all criticism – notably of land grabs made in Palestine (notably since 1967).

      I can hold both of these things in my mind. Why can’t you?

      • Wickersham says

        Israel withdrew from Gaza unilaterally, and has tried to give the WB back 3 times, and in each case the P.A. refused to take it because they are unwilling to end the conflict. Treating the Palestinians as citizens would be against international law unless the WB was made part of Israel via annexation. So your point is that instead of giving back the WB to the Palestinians, it should annex it?

      • Arabs in the disputed territories do not vote in Israeli elections because they are not Israeli citizens. They could vote in PA elections were they ever held. All Israeli citizens can vote, and Arabs, Druze, Beduins, Christians and Jews do vote, serve in the Knesset, in the Judiciary, etc.

      • I have to laugh at your comment that Israel does not allow Palestinians in the territories a full right to vote, Tom White. The Palestinians are governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) or Hamas. The PA has refused to hold elections for the past seven years. That is why the Palestinians can’t vote. Are you thinking that the Palestinians should be voting in Israel’s elections? If so, then Israelis should have the right to vote in Palestinian elections–if the PA dictatorship ever has an election. Do you understand the silliness of your statement? Probably not.

      • Straw man: nobody is claiming that the fact that Israel treats gays as human beings with rights “absolves it of all criticism.” That’s YOU saying that, nobody else. The point being made here is that the notion that Israel’s treatment of gays is just a ploy to divert attention from its treatment of Palestinians is rubbish, which it is.

  8. “According to him, the very effort to universalise gay rights is a project of missionary colonialism on the part of a menacing network of orientalist NGOs and activists.”

    This sounds like something the far right would say. What’s odd is that it’s not coming from some element within the left that in theory might be hostile to gays and lesbians, but from precisely those who tag themselves with the label “queer theorist” etc.

    It makes you wonder if the adoption of such labels as “queer” has less to do with genuine solidarity with the LGBT community than it does the sense that “queer” is the ultimate contrarian and rabble-rousing label to tag oneself with. After all, it’s a term that is still considered offensive by many, apart from those given permission for various insider-y reason.

    The far right is contrarian and counter-cultural in 2016, so similar-sounding rhetoric from a purported leftist allows one to be safely “progressive” but also appear shocking.

    • I think you’re on to something: “queer” has always struck me as valuing transgression for its own sake rather than as a means to some virtuous end. And transgression qua transgression, is, to my mind, about little more than simply calling attention to oneself and trying to make a boring life exciting by adding drama to it.

  9. How convincing is the meat of this argument to a leftist? According to surveys e.g. black Americans have historically expressed less support for gay rights and drug liberaliziation, and gay-bashing and crimes against immigrant store owners in major cities is disproportionately committed by African-Americans. Does this mean that a leftist can’t get behind the BLM movement or otherwise express support for the black community?

  10. Superb piece Jamie. The ability of some of the commenters to simply refuse to understand is really quite bizarre.

    • it’s bizarre all right, but it’s explainable: personal or cultural antisemitism, the cultural variant being unrecognized by many of those affected.

  11. Superb piece. Absolutely outstanding work. The comments are bizarre.

  12. livethis1life says

    The unintentionally self-parodying comments by the regressive leftists are priceless. My favorite is the one who glibly tries to minimize the distinction between giving gays full rights and executing them as “Israel treats gays better than the PA”, as if to say, why make a big deal over such a trivial distinction? Oh, by the way, the US also treats nubile young virgins better than the Aztecs did; the Aztecs tossed them into volcanoes. But hey, let’s not make a big deal out of it.

  13. Jordan says

    This quote is an all-timer:

    “It is not same-sex sexual practices that are being repressed by the Egyptian police but rather the sociopolitical identification of these practices with the Western identity of gayness and the publicness that these gay-identified men seek.”


  14. jshneider says

    Brilliant article!

    However, Massad’s point is not as silly as it seems. In traditional Muslim societies gay sex is viewed as a vice, something like illicit alcohol consumption, and not as an identity like in the West. The Arabs are ok with gay sex as long as it’s secretive and not advertised publicly.
    That’s how I understand what Massad is trying to convey.

    • Another way of looking at it is that provided a man fulfills his traditionally defined social responsibility – to get married and have children – he is allowed discreet indiscretions and society will look the other way. “Gay,” as a political construct, threatens traditional social structures and the hegemony of those whose interests are tied to maintaining them. This is hardly unique to Arabic cultures.

  15. Well no-one is getting persuaded here, just a hardening of the dichotomy isn’t it? Both sides are still as bad as each other in falling for tribalism, they look at the same constellation of facts and interpret them as they will.

    • So, it’s just “a pox on all their houses,” is it? How laudably even-handed of you. And the bonus is, you don’t need to look at the history, the facts, the human-rights abuses or the 70+ year rejectionism. Easy-peasy.

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  17. Peter says

    Fantastic article Jamie, thank you – an excellent antidote to the Israel bashing BBC

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  19. Jamie: well done (what else would I have expected from you?). One small point that is tangential to the main thesis, but is worth addressing: you noted “Western support for Palestinian nationalism depends on the Palestinians’ nobility as a people:” In part, yes (or at least on the fictionalized image of their ‘nobility’, while they merrily incite bloodlust and consider murdering a woman in front of her children to be ‘resistance’). But for too many, Western support for Palestinian nationalism is obtained, in part or in whole, solely because of their opponent in that struggle. Kurds, Sahwari (indigenous people of the Western Sahara) and similar groups have obtained a miniscule fraction of the attention and support that the Western intelligentsia have slathered upon the Palestinians.
    Now before the righteously indignant start screaming that “criticism of Israel isn’t anti-Semitic!”. Indeed, ordinary criticism similar to that leveled against other nations for similar actions (anyone been to the EU-funded Turkish settlements in occupied Cyprus lately?) is not. But endorsement of full river-to-the-sea Palestinianism, and its accompanying jihadist massacres, is a fair stretch beyond “ordinary criticism.” The fact that Israel, the state of the Jews and the Jew among nations, is the other party to this struggle is, in part, what allows so many to blind themselves to the multitude of acts that prove the lack of ‘nobility’ of the Palestinians, or at least among those who have taken over their society.

  20. Folks, why play their game? Why use the language they want us to use? Try this:
    Pinkwashing is the immoral effort by anti-Israel activists to deflect criticism of Arab and Muslim discrimination and violence against their LGBT members by attacking Israel instead.

    Thank you for the article. Well written.

  21. it is not necessary to support palestinian nationalism to oppose pinkwashing. it is sufficient to support palestinian human rights.

    “In other words, Israel’s record on gay rights is simply a manoeuvre calculated to conceal its malevolent character.” – that is a mischaracterization of the quote from schulman and of the position of supporters of palestinian human rights.

    strip away irrationalities and non-sequiturs like the above, and the article reduces to: israel good! palestinians bad! freedom is eliminationism. apartheid is liberal democracy.

    • Translating Uri:
      “strip away irrationalities and non-sequiturs like the above, and the pinkwashing movement reduces to: israel bad! palestinians good! freedom is irrelevant. authoritarian, religious, closed minds are to be ignored in favor of attacking Israel, no matter how egregious their violations.”

  22. Interesting article but you got a couple of facts wrong. Since I wanted to know what was behind the Jew bashing pogrom during Creating Change 2016, I did some digging. I found out among other facts, that the first time “pinkwashing” was allowed in a Creating Change Conference was in 2011, I wrote about that here http://www.jessicanaomi.net/carey-and-hyde-nlgbtq-taskforce-pinkwash-creating-change-2011/ Carey and Hyde NLGBTQ Task Force Pinkwash Creating Change 2011 allowing two self loathing lesbian Jews to attack LGBTQ Jews in their The Exploitation of Queers: Pinkwashing, Palestine and our Joint Struggles” defamation.

    That was where Sarah Schulman learned the pinkwashing slur and she wrote in her book Israel/Palestine and the Queer International, “Before leaving creating change, I attended Dunya’s panel on pinkwashing, convened with some of the local activists Flo, Jessica, Joseina, and Kate, who were from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.” She also wrote that she disagreed with them “I found the group’s name to be unhelpful and inaccurate because I believe that many secular Jews “support” Israel not because hold Zionist ideologies; but rather because they have sentimental and emotional relationships to family members who were scattered by oppression and genocide.”

    Months later, she changed her mind and decided to join the bash the LGBTQ Jews crusade.

    The other piece you missed about all of this is that the pinkwashing slur started after Christians occupiers in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza wrote the Kairos defamation calling for a boycott of Israeli Jews, signed onto by the World Council of Churches. That Kairos defamation is a combination of the blood libel, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Martin Luther’s On the Jews and their Lies and Mein Kampf.

    After that boycott started the Israeli government invited LGBTQ American Jews to vacation in Israel, which is when Puar wrote her bash the LGBTQ Jews defamation in The Guardian (which let her demonize LGBTQ Jews).

    Then the self loathing Jews who started the misnamed Jewish Voice for Peace decided that they agreed with those ChristoFascists. Schulman joined that cult, and so did a few other self loathing gay and lesbian Jews, which gave the heterosexuals in that cult justification to bash LGBTQ Jews.

    These self loathing Jews are not defending Arabs in the West Bank or Gaza, they were defending ChristoFascists who hate Jews and think the only good Jew is a dead Jew killed by Hamas terrorists.

    What is it about NEVER AGAIN some Jews keep forgetting to NEVER FORGET.

  23. I would add that the pinkwashing crowd are not just making an argument but are having a malevolent impact on the LGBT movement internationally. Anyone who is an activist and opposes them will not just be shouted down but any and all tactics will be deployed to destroy them, no matter how valuable their work is. There are numerous examples of this happening but we just saw how the proper, balanced reporting of the events in Chicago was itself attacked because it didn’t conform to the right line.

  24. Criticizing the motives of anyone who belongs to a group that can identify itself as a minority somehow undergoing oppression or having been oppressed in the past is the one new law that exists as a common rather than written one in a game of poker where everyone holds a five card flush consisting only of the oppression card. Did you criticize the black community? Then they must play the race card. Did you criticize the Jews? You’re an anti Semite. Did you criticize Muslims or Islam? Islamophobe. The only exception to the rule appears to be white males. That will dissipate as long as they find some minority group to identify with in the future. White females of course fall under the ever protective banner of feminism. In truth the system as it stands will forever consign humanity to petty bickering and bigotry insomuch as you can accuse anyone opposing your own views of bigotry when in essence the spirit of or motive is often a fascist one in and of itself. People bigoted against those perceived to be bigots become the bigots they oppose. I don’t agree with hate speech, but it’s still free speech and that’s as it should be.

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