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February 23, 2012 1

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 0

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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February 7, 2012 0

Israeli Apartheid Week Video Legitimizes Violent Resistance

A newly released pro­mo­tional video for this year’s Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) con­tains the type of provoca­tive mes­sage that is often pro­moted at anti-Israel events, includ­ing IAW pro­grams in recent years.

About 20 sec­onds in, the video depicts a Pales­tin­ian with a kef­fiyeh cov­er­ing his face and aim­ing a sling­shot. The text reads, “When a peo­ple fight the occu­pier, it is not ter­ror­ism. It is resis­tance.” 

Sim­i­lar mes­sages, which delib­er­ately down­play the ongo­ing threat of ter­ror­ism faced by Israelis, have been expressed at past IAW pro­grams. For exam­ple, dur­ing the IAW event at Yale Uni­ver­sity in 2011, Mazin Qum­siyeh defended Pales­tini­ans’ right to resist by any means. Speak­ers at other IAW pro­grams have described Hamas as a “resis­tance” orga­ni­za­tion and chants of “Long live the Intifada,” which cel­e­brate a vio­lent upris­ing against the State of Israel, have marked IAW ral­lies.

Since its incep­tion in 2005, IAW has served as an annaul plat­form for anti-Israel activists to focus on ways to demo­nize and iso­late Israel, includ­ing through BDS (Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions) campaigns.

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