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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 10, 2012 1

One-State “Solution” Conference to be Held at Harvard in March

Update: ADL wel­comed Har­vard University’s Feb­ru­ary 24 state­ment fol­low­ing receipt of a let­ter from ADL’s National Direc­tor to Harvard’s Pres­i­dent, Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust. The Har­vard Uni­ver­sity state­ment, which acknowl­edged ADL’s con­cerns, said in part: “We would never take a posi­tion on spe­cific pol­icy solu­tions to achiev­ing peace in this region, and cer­tainly would not endorse any pol­icy that some argue could lead to the elim­i­na­tion of the Jew­ish State of Israel.” 

Just one month after the major

BDS con­fer­ence at the Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, a con­fer­ence to exam­ine the “pos­si­ble con­tours” of a one-state “solu­tion” is sched­uled to take place at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Gov­ern­ment over the first week­end in March. 

The event will fea­ture Stephen Walt, the co-author of the 2007 book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. For­eign Pol­icy,” which infa­mously asserted that the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. has exces­sive power and divided loy­al­ties and uses its power to sti­fle crit­i­cism of Israel against America’s true interests. 
Walt is not the only anti-Israel aca­d­e­mic who will speak at the con­fer­ence. The list includes Uni­ver­sity of Exeter pro­fes­sor Ilan Pappe, Har­vard Law School fel­low Diana Buttu, Bay­lor University’s Marc Ellis and many oth­ers.  Sev­eral of the anti-Israel activists who head­lined the Penn BDS con­fer­ence will attend next month’s event as well, includ­ing Ali Abunimah, Dalit Baum and Sarah Schulman.
The con­fer­ence pro­gram focuses on the inevitabil­ity of a one-state “solu­tion” and strate­gies for over­com­ing the obsta­cles that might oth­er­wise pre­vent it. Based on the speak­ers list and pro­gram, it seems likely that the mes­sages prop­a­gated at both con­fer­ences will be vir­tu­ally indis­tin­guish­able from one another with regard to their one-sided crit­i­cisms of Israel and lack of con­sid­er­a­tion for the com­plex­ity of the conflict.
One other thing to note: In con­trast to last weekend’s BDS con­fer­ence, the “One State” con­fer­ence is receiv­ing sig­nif­i­cant finan­cial and insti­tu­tional sup­port from Har­vard, includ­ing fund­ing from two uni­ver­sity depart­ments, the Weath­er­head Cen­ter for Inter­na­tional Affairs and the Office of the Provost.

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