Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Israel's Pinkwashing Accusers Whitewash Hamas

I'm so glad that neither Sarah Schulman nor the NY Times are getting off scot free for the scurrilous op-ed she wrote and they published on the supposed pinkwashing of Israel's progressive LGBT policies.

A good example is Jonathan Miller who has an excellent article in the Huffington Post describing the perverse logic of Israel's pinkwashing accusers:
"The Palestinian flag at a gay rights rally? It's the iconic ironic image of the New New Left. The sentiment's familiar: a maltreated minority identifying with the victim célèbre of radical academia. But the juxtaposition of these two particular causes would be absurdly hilarious if it weren't profoundly tragic: The Hamas regime represented by that flag demeans, oppresses, jails, harrasses, assaults, and tortures gays and lesbians.
"Imagine what would happen if you flew a gay rights flag in Gaza City. (On second thought, don't even imagine it.)"
"In the Orwellian dystopia that is our political discourse today, the free, diverse, and democratic oasis of Israel -- engulfed in a desert of some the world's most intolerant and illiberal regimes -- has been singled out by the radical left for its most vituperous criticism and its most impassioned economic boycotts. Some have even gone so far as to attack Israel for boasting about its undeniable progressive record on issues like gay rights, claiming it is merely a diversion to "pinkwash" the occupation of the West Bank."

Times' readers also weighed in here and here, as did Jeffrey Goldberg, David Harris, the Elder of Ziyon and Harry's Place. It really does seem to be a case of hatred of Israel overriding common sense and feeding into the ugliest tropes of Jew-hatred. As a Harry's Place reader pointed out, when Israel discovers a cure for cancer, will it be accused of healthwashing? 

And just to remind folks of the father and mother of all the pretzel-logic about LGBT issues in the ME, here is a reprise of Joseph Massad's masterwork, Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World. Seems anything goes as long as you can Orientalism-wash it.

Here's another good one by James Kirchick in Tablet: "Introducing the term “pinkwashing” into the mainstream debate about the Arab-Israeli conflict is edifying in at least one respect: It lays bare the delusion, paranoia, and cynicism of the Jewish state’s most earnest detractors. In their minds, any positive statement made about the country is necessarily part of a propaganda campaign in the service of a far-right agenda. For an increasingly large swath of the international left, there really is no good Israel can do, short of disappear."

H/T: Huffington Post Monitor

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