What is Pink Washing?
universalidentity asked you:
Can you explain “Pink Washing” in straight forward terms? I don’t think I quite get it yet…
The Jerusalem Gay Pride parade, July 29, 2010. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Hi. I’ll try! Though the term was originally coined for using the breast cancer cause (Pink Ribbon) on a product while contributing to the disease itself, it is commonly used these days to refer to using Queer/LGBT rights and activism to whitewash other crimes other policies. And like many of these terms, it only applies to Israel (which ironically, is the only country in the Middle East with openly gay members of the parliament and surpasses the US by having an openly gay military).
That is, more or less, the crux of the problem. Some (on the hard-left) accuse Israel and Israeli officials and advocates of using Israel’s human right records on LGBTQ to hide or censor its policies against minorities (primarily Palestinians) and operations in the occupied territories (West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem).
James Kirchick explains correctly the problems I and many have:
The first fallacy of the pinkwashing meme is that it’s a non sequitur. No one is saying that Israel ought to be immune from criticism because it treats gay people humanely. Israel’s stellar record on gay rights does not prevent anyone from condemning the country’s settlement policies, its proposed ban on foreign funding of NGOs, or its lackluster effort to integrate Arab Israelis—issues that Israeli gay activists, many of them leftists, would gladly join Schulman in denouncing. But none of these failings renders Israel’s record on gay rights any less impressive, nor does touting that record constitute a covert method of justifying the occupation or racism against Arab citizens.
While accusing the government of Israel and pro-Israel activists of deceiving well-intentioned progressives, Schulman and her ilk are in fact using the issue of gay rights to forward an ulterior agenda. So consumed are they by hatred of Israel that they are willing to distort the truth about the horrible repression of homosexuals in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. If there’s any cleaning of dirty laundry going on here, it is Schulman’s whitewashing the plight of Palestinian gays.