If you recall, an op-ed the New York Times published by Sarah Schulman, in Nov., actually accused Israel of attempting to demonstrate its liberal nature by highlighting the nation’s acceptance of gays.
Schulman employed the truly bizarre term, “Pinkwashing”, which she defined as “a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life.”
As David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, observed about Schulman, (who, he noted, advocates the academic boycott of Israel, and opposes the existence of the Jewish state within any borders):
So, if Israel takes pride in being a country where gays don’t have to live in hiding or terror, it’s actually nothing more, [to Schulman], than an elaborate ruse to distract attention from the country’s true nature.
[Does] it also mean that if Israel heralds its tenth citizen to win a Nobel Prize or the latest advances in life-saving medical technology, this is again nothing more than a smokescreen to distract attention from the “real” issues?
Were I a gay activist today, would my one shot at reaching the Times‘ global readership be devoted to Israel’s alleged misdeeds, even as I could live freely there and celebrate my lifestyle without hindrance?
Or would it center on the pressing plight of gays in those parts of the world, including the Arab Middle East and Iran, where open behavior can result in arrest, torture, and even death?
It’s actually a sorry commentary on anti-Israel activists that their venom against Israel is so extreme that they’re even able to see something sinister in the nation’s decision to highlight its quite obvious progressive advantages in the region.
So, it must have been simply devastating for such activists to learn today that Tel Aviv was voted the best gay city of 2011, according to an online poll on LGBT travel website gaycities.com. “The gay capitol of the Middle East is exotic and welcoming with a Mediterranean c’est la vie attitude,” the website said.
As the Jerusalem Post reported:
Tel Aviv garnered 43 percent of the vote, far ahead of the next competitor, New York City, which raked in 14%. Other cities on the list included Toronto, Sao Paulo, Madrid, London, New Orleans, and Mexico City.
As Tel Aviv’s mayor Ron Huldai observed:
[Gays] are an integral part of the social and cultural fabric of the city,”Tel Aviv [is] a city that appreciates individual freedoms, allowing everyone to live by his principles and desires. This is a free city where any one can feel proud, and be proud of who they are”.
As Scott Piro observed, in a CiF Watch guest post, about the oppressive environment for gays in the Arab world, including the Palestinian territories:
Do you know where the Palestinian queer group alQaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society held their “Palestinian Queer Party” on October 21, 2011?
At a Tel Aviv club!
- What the Guardian won’t report: LGBT thrives in Israel, while Arabs want homosexuality banned (cifwatch.com)