Following recent debates about the use of gay rights to "pinkwash" Israel's image (Toronto Pride, Madrid Pride, US Social Forum, etc), Aeyal Gross, associate professor of law at Tel-Aviv university, has written an interesting and level-headed essay: "Israeli GLBT Politics between Queerness and Homonationalism".
Israel and its advocates often co-opt advances in gay rights to push forward a nationalist agenda, he writes:
LGBT activists in Israel now find themselves in a double bind. Victories for civil rights, which are gained with hard labor, and often with the government’s representatives explicitly objecting to them in the courts, are quickly co-opted by the government in its efforts to present Israel’s liberal credentials.
Gay rights have essentially become a public-relations tool. In this campaign Israel is portrayed as a progressive "western" country, as opposed to "backwards", homophobic Islamic countries. This is then used to justify Israel’s own version of the "war on terror," including the occupation and attacks on the Palestinian population.
There is more need than ever for queer politics which will reject homonationalism, while not denying the progress achieved on GLBT rights and the need to join efforts in fighting homophobia.
Posted by Brian Whitaker, 28 July 2010.