Tel Aviv Pride can’t pinkwash Israel’s crimes

This video by Israeli Queers Against the Occupation features a cover of the Aerosmith song “Pink” playing over jarring images of Israel’s violence against Palestinians.

It is a spoof and remix of the official 2016 Tel Aviv Pride promotional video.

It takes on pinkwashing, Israel’s propaganda strategy of trying to market itself as LGBTQ friendly, that will reach its annual peak this Friday with the government-sponsored pride parade in Tel Aviv.

The message from the spoof is clear: “you can’t wash away the occupation.”

By Ali Abunimah

Pinkwashing aims to appeal to Western liberal sensitivities – and attract sex tourism dollars – by portraying Israel as a haven of LGBTQ rights and fun in the region, while maligning Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims more generally as barbaric and intolerant.

It’s a strategy to win sympathy for Israel that involves a good deal of distortion, outright fabrications and bizarrehoaxes.

Pinkwashing has been called “an attempt to change the subject: ‘don’t look at Gaza where we’re besieging [1.8] million people, look over here where we’re having a gay pride parade!’”

Israel has invested heavily in it, even planning to charter a special airplane painted in rainbow colors to bring gay tourists to Tel Aviv this year.

This has elicited growing resistance from Israeli activists who have called for the cancelation of the pride parade in protest at the government’s plan to spend millions on pinkwashing stunts while neglecting the needs of LGBTQ communities who continue to suffer from discrimination and violence.

Israeli academic and LGBTQ organizer Aeyal Gross has observed, for instance, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu never spoke about LGBTQ issues at home, in Hebrew, while constantly talking about gays in speeches he delivered overseas in English.

Boycott Tel Aviv Pride

Pinkwatching Israel, an initiative of queer Arab activists, has also put out a series of videos to support its Boycott Tel Aviv Pride campaign.

“Tel Aviv is known as a ‘top gay destination,’” the campaign website notes. “However, gay pride brochures fail to mention that it is also an hour away from the world’s largest open prison, Gaza, and that it is built on stolen land.”

“They forget to mention that the gay soldiers you dance with in the pride parade check, arrest and kill Palestinians on a daily basis,” it adds.

Among the videos is this one, that makes the point that Tel Aviv Pride is funded by the Israeli government, the same government that funds settlements, war and occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Watch the rest at the Pinkwatching Israel website.

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