2012 February » ADL Blogs
February 23, 2012

Israeli Apartheid Week Slanders Israel with “Pinkwashing” Falsehoods

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) begins in cities across the United States this Sunday, including at approximately two dozen college campuses. One of the central themes of this year’s events is “pinkwashing,” a shorthand for claims that Israel tries to showcase its progressive record on LGBT issues as a way to whitewash its policies toward Palestinians.
Three universities, Yale, Boston University and Temple, will host events about “pinkwashing” and LGBT issues as part of their IAW programs. A fourth event calls on individuals to rally outside the LGBT Center in New York because the Center refused to host an IAW event last year.
Allegations of so-called Israeli pinkwashing have become more prominent in the past several years and gained mainstream attention a few months ago when The New York Times published an op-ed on the subject by CUNY professor Sarah Schulman. She argued that Israel’s acceptance of gays into the military is an “incomplete indicator of human rights” and shouldn’t “blind us” to the Palestinians’ issues.
This is a classic straw man argument: No one was asserting that Israel’s record on LGBT issues was the final say on its human rights record.
The pinkwashing allegation uncovers something deeply nefarious about the anti-Israel movement: Opposition to Israel is rarely limited to  criticism of Israel as it relates to the conflict. Instead, it often becomes an all-out attempt to slander every facet of Israel’s existence and to claim that Israel’s real and laudable achievements are just an attempt to “cover up” the darker truth. Israel’s swift responses to the recent humanitarian crises in Turkey and Haiti were similarly dismissed by anti-Israel activists as an opportunity exploited by Israel to whitewash its record.  

Even if one disagrees with some of Israel’s policies, Israel has every right to promote its legitimate accomplishments on LGBT rights, including annual pride parades, anti-discrimination laws, adoption rights and, most recently, Tel Aviv being ranked the “best gay city” in the world. Israel deserves and should be entitled to claim credit for a gay rights record that far surpasses most other countries in the world. 

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February 22, 2012

Thousands Expected to Attend Nation of Islam’s Annual Anti-Semitic Convention in Chicago

In what will likely be the largest gathering in the U.S. to hear an anti-Semite this year, approximately 20,000 people are expected to convene this weekend in Rosemont and Chicago, Illinois, for the Nation of Islam’s (NOI) annual Saviours’ Day convention.
Over the past three years, the NOI has engaged in a wide-ranging campaign to demonize Jews. Not only have the speeches delivered by Louis Farrakhan been among the most hateful of his 30-year career as head of the NOI, but the organization’s media arm has also reinforced these messages through a range of propaganda.
Under Farrakhan’s leadership, Saviours’ Day has served as the NOI’s premier event promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, including accusations of Jewish control over government, media, finance and entertainment. In addition to Farrakhan’s keynote address, which often serves as the weekend’s primary platform for these views, this year’s event will feature a plenary session seeking to demonstrate disproportionate Jewish involvement in the slave trade.
The plenary session, titled “Business is Warfare: The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,” takes its name from a set of NOI books alleging that Jewish exploitation of Blacks during the slave trade has caused deep and prolonged repercussions for African-Americans. A similar plenary session devoted to this topic during the 2011 convention called for the inclusion of the books in educational curricula nationwide.
Another plenary session, titled “9/11: What Really Happened and Why?” is being billed by the NOI as an examination of “all angles of the events which took place on that day” and will feature a known “9/11 truther” group.

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February 22, 2012

Gilad Atzmon Scheduled to Speak at Israeli Apartheid Week in Colorado

Gilad Atzmon, an anti-Semitic author, writer and musician based in London, is scheduled to make two speaking appearances as part of Israeli Apartheid Week in Colorado.
Atzmon is scheduled to speak at the University of Colorado in Boulder on March 1 during an event titled “A Musical Conversation about Israel.” The event, which will include a discussion of “Jewish Identity Politics and the Oppression of Palestine,” is being sponsored by Students 4 Peace and Justice and CU-Divest. On March 2, he is scheduled to speak at the Buntport Theater in Denver.
Past “Israeli Apartheid Week” events have been marked by extreme anti-Israel rhetoric, including accusations of Israeli racism and apartheid, and calls for boycotts and divestment actions against Israel.
For over a decade, Atzmon’s writings have employed traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes while demonizing Israel, Zionism and Jewish culture and identity. He is an outspoken and prolific promoter of classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish control over American foreign policy, and has written that Jews have a plan for world domination. He has trafficked in anti-Semitic canards such as the notion that Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus.

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