The following is an op-ed written by Yediot Achronot reporter, Shai Zamir. To my knowledge, it has not appeared in the paper’s online edition, nor in the Ynet English edition. It’s important enough to the debate raging about pinkwashing that I wanted it to be accessible to English readers. It’s a critique of gay pride Israel-style as a facade behind which Israeli racism and intolerance flourish:
Racism, Radicalization, International Isolation? What’s More Important is That We’re Full of Hunks on Floats
German. French. Spanish. Gay slang. Whoever walks around the streets of Tel Aviv in coming days won’t be able to avoid the muscle-bound guys who chatter at every street corner. They’ve come for the Gay Pride.
They say we’re under boycott. That Israel has become a pariah because of a bit of suffering involving our rule over another people. But the White City [Tel Aviv] withstands the ire of Israel haters from within and without, decked out in all the colors of the rainbow. It makes us just like all the other nations. For one long weekend, we can sink into the sweet illusion that Israel is a normal place just like any other western city. But the gap between reality and the gay celebrations mounted with the cooperation of gay hunks from around the world, only grows.
The more leprous Israel becomes, the more isolated, the more religious, and the much more racist, the more improved is the situation for the Israeli LGBT community, which serves as an inspiration for “homos” and lesbians the world over. Those which we like to call “gays,” because in English everything sounds so much more enlightened. Like appearances by stars of the past who land here for a second and a half, so the gay community has become a whitening agent [bleach] for an Israel likes to think of itself as free. Thanks to the surging throngs of bare-chested men, Israel clings to its image as a progressive society.
The very same Bogie Yaalon who supports gay marriage is the same defense minister who tomorrow may enforce apartheid on buses traveling in the West Bank. There are Israelis who believe we’re talking about a wonderful contradiction, which attests to Israel being a complex society filled with opposites. But more than anything, it teaches us of the highly-developed tissue of lies we tell ourselves and through which the wave of world boycott may wash Israel away to Hell.
In English, they call it pinkwashing–the methodical concealment of violations of human rights through the exploitation of pink “fuck me” underwear, which the hunks on floats wear. But the well-funded campaign by the Tel Aviv municipality and the foreign ministry to present a tolerant, gay friendly Israel isn’t meant for outsiders as is generally believed. First and foremost it’s directed internally toward Israelis who like to think of themselves as a sort of burbling brook of democracy in the midst of the primitive dark eastern savannah.
Like Meretz, American TV shows, and di gays from Berlin, gays are above all a branding opportunity meant to help us go without, and feel with: without freedom, without international legitimacy, without any intention of attempting to reach an agreement. The relative tolerance the gay community enjoys lives on borrowed time, because it isn’t founded on a genuine belief in equality, but on a superficial claim of acceptance of the Other. Gays and lesbians must know that Israeli society exploits them in order to maintain the semblance of a free society in a nation for which millions of Palestinians have no importance. A nation which charges anyone who dares to speak of human rights in the Territories as an anti-Semite. The real truth is that anyone who doesn’t love Arabs can’t love gays. And those who don’t really love gays should stop pretending.
Thanks for help with translation of Hebrew gay slang from Dena Shunra.