Image by Phoebe Pannier
Written by Annabell Knapp, Palestine Organizer
Pinkwashing is a term used to describe when a country, organization, or company uses its positive actions towards the LGBTQ community to distract from their negative actions. The Israeli government is notorious for using this as a propaganda strategy to distract from their human rights abuses that they commit against Palestinians.
Israel’s exploitation of LGBTQIA+ rights, known as pinkwashing, works to shift attention away from Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid. For over 70 years Israel has committed human rights abuses against Palestinians and in order to create good PR, the Israeli government pushes out that they are LGBTQ activists while painting Palestinians as backward and dehumanizes them for not supporting the LGBTQ community. Pinkwashing is used in an attempt to highlight the Israeli government as better than Palestine because they appear to care about the LGBTQ community. However, what this narrative created by the Israeli government leaves out is their mistreatment of LGBTQ Palestinians. Israel does not allow LGBTQ Palestinians to seek safety or asylum in Israel and instead commits human rights abuses against them. Israel does not truly care about the LGBTQ community and only wants to appear that they do to push a negative narrative of Palestinians.
Pinkwashing creates a falsely progressive image of Israel with a racist portrayal of Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim societies as backward, repressive, and intolerant. This is part of a long-standing colonial logic that uses racist, orientalist portrayals to justify Western colonization as a way of “saving” and “freeing” the colonized, who are too “uncivilized” to rule themselves. “You cannot have queer liberation while apartheid, patriarchy, capitalism, and other oppressions exist. It’s important to target the connections of these oppressive forces.” This quote from Ghaith Hilal from the organization AlQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society shows that all systems of oppression that Palestinians currently face come as a result of the Israeli apartheid.