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July 24th, 2014
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Opinion Op-Ed The Next Hate Fest: CUNY Mockery on Gay Rights

The Next Hate Fest: CUNY Mockery on Gay Rights

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Just weeks after the Brooklyn College political science department co-sponsored a hate fest advocating boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel, the City University of New York psychology and philosophy departments are now cosponsoring another hate fest against the Jewish state.

“Homonationalism and Pinkwashing,” sponsored by CUNY’s Gay and Lesbian Studies Center, is scheduled for April 10-11, 2013; the cosponsors include New York University’s Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality and several other centers and programs at both schools. We’re told the conference will be academic, but much of the emphasis plainly will be on the claim that Israel is “pinkwashing” its mistreatment of Palestinians by promoting gay rights in Israel.

The conference’s coordinator and inspiration is gay activist Sarah Shulman. In a New York Times op-ed and elsewhere, she has argued that Israel’s positive approach to gay rights is “a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violation of Palestinians human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life.”

In other words, she accuses Israel of feigning concern over the rights of gay people in order to whitewash — “pinkwash” — its lack of concern for Palestinian people.

This absurd, obscene argument is nothing more than anti-Semitism with a pink face.

Israel is easily the most gay-friendly country in the Middle East, and among the most supportive of gay rights in the world. Openly gay soldiers have long served in the military and in high positions in both government and the private sector.

In the West Bank and Gaza, by contrast, gays are murdered, tortured and forced to seek asylum — often in Israel. Indeed, in every Arab and Muslim country, homosexual acts among consenting adults are criminal, often punishable by death.

But all this doesn’t matter to the “growing global gay movement” against Israel, which (Schulman insists) regards these positive steps as nothing more than a cover for malevolent Israeli actions.

Schulman makes no secret of her irrational hatred toward Israel, which she calls “a racist government” that is “cynically” pinkwashing the occupation.

But how this is supposed to work, she doesn’t say.

Are the media supposed to be so impressed with Israel’s pro-gay policies that they no longer cover the Palestinian issue? Well, that certainly hasn’t worked.

Are gays around the world supposed to feel so indebted to Israel that they no longer criticize the Jewish nation? That surely hasn’t worked, either — witness the increasingly rabid anti-Israel advocacy by some radical gay groups.

But to the anti-Semite, it doesn’t matter how Jews manage their supposed manipulations. The anti-Semite just knows that there’s something sinister at work if Jews do anything positive. The core characteristic of anti-Semitism is the certainty that everything the Jews do is wrong, and everything that’s wrong is done by the Jews.

To the anti-Semite, every depression, war, social problem, plague must have been the fault of the Jews. Whenever the Jews seem to be doing good — giving to charity, helping the less fortunate, curing the sick — there must be a malevolent motive, a hidden agenda, a conspiratorial explanation beneath the surface.

Today, the twisted illogic that has characterized classic anti-Semitism is directed at the Jewish state, which for the anti-Semite has become “the Jew” among nations.

So when Israel sends help to tsunami and hurricane victims, the ideological soulmates of the pinkwash brigade accuse the Jewish state of merely trying to garner positive publicity calculated to offset its mistreatment of Palestinians. When Israeli medical teams save the lives of Palestinian children, they must be up to no good.

And when news surfaced that the Israeli Army has the lowest rate of rape against enemy civilians, radical anti-Zionists argued that this was because Israeli soldiers were so racist that they didn’t find Palestinian women attractive enough to rape!

Nothing the Jew or the Jew among nations does can be praised, because its purpose is always to “manipulate,” to “conceal,” to “divert attention away from” or to “distort” the evil that inheres in all Jewish actions and inactions.

That is the bigoted thesis of the “pinkwashing” campaign, and it is little different from similar campaigns organized by classic brown-shirted anti-Semites.

Of course, neither Schulman nor the other conveners of this hate conference speak for all gays. Many prominent gay activists, including elected officials, have condemned this absurd pinkwashing theory and the CUNY conference.

The gathering, and the hate it is to promote, should offend not just Jews and gays, but all friends of rationale thought.

Promoting classic anti-Semitic bigotry in the name of gay rights: One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Alan M. Dershowitz is a professor at Harvard Law School.

 

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