Guardian op-ed promotes dishonest ‘pinkwashing’ charge against Israel

Ambassador Shapiro attended the Gay Pride Parade on Friday, June 8, 2012. In Gan Meir park, he met with several groups working for LGBT rights and answered questions from media about LGBT Human Rights. Prior to the kick-off of the parade, the Ambassador took to the main stage. Speaking to a crowd of thousands of marchers he emphasized the recent work of the U.S. government to raise awareness of LGBT rights around the world and acknowledged the achievements of the Israeli LGBT community to gain equal rights. After the speech, he met Embassy personnel marching in the parade with diplomats from other missions in Tel Aviv and joined them along the parade route.

A Guardian op-ed by Mark Gevisser accused Richard Grenell, the gay former US ambassador to Germany who’s now the Trump campaign’s senior adviser on LGBT outreach, of “pink-washing“, (“How Trump’s chief pink-washer is setting back LGBT+ equality”, Aug. 28th).

The piece, in an effort to provide international context to the charge against Grennel, turns to Israel in the following paragraph:

Israel uses its pro-LGBTQ+ policies to garner support in the US and western Europe, and to promote itself as a beacon of tolerance in a hostile neighbourhood. By promoting gay rights, activists claim, Israel “pink-washes” its human rights abuse of Palestinians. 

However, the pinkwashing accusation against Israel is nothing more than an ad hominem attack disguised as a counter-argument.  The reason why ad hominem attacks are considered logical fallacies is because they question the motives of your opponent – which is irrelevant to the argument – in order to deflect attention away from the issue being debated.

Since pro-Palestinian activists can’t possibly refute the argument that Israel’s record on LGBT rights is dramatically more progressive than inPalestine‘, they pivot instead to the putative motives of Israeli and pro-Israeli activists who boast of the country’s tolerance towards sexual minorities.

Gay Pride Parade, Tel Aviv, 2012 (Wikimedia Commons)

As pro-Palestinian activists rarely focus their efforts on peace, but, instead, on demonising Israel as a uniquely malevolent force in the world whilst painting Palestinian aspirations as intrinsically progressive, any information which contradicts this moral binary must be obfuscated.

The fact is that the Palestinians are among the most homophobic people in the world.  As this graph illustrating a 2014 Pew poll demonstrates, only 1 per cent of Palestinians believe homosexuality is morally acceptable.

Read these reports by Freedom House on the broader civil rights protections offered by Israel in comparison to the PA to understand that Palestinian intolerance towards gays is representative of a vast freedom and tolerance gap between the two societies – an indisputable political reality that the term “pinkwashing” tries to wash over.

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