Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tell Boston LGBT Film Festival Organizers to Stop Pinkwashing Israeli Apartheid

Israel's pinkwashing propaganda comes to Boston this month. As part of its Brand Israel campaign, the Israeli government is sponsoring Out in Israel Month in Boston and has partnered with the Boston LGBT Film Festival on a series of events designed to promote Israel as a progressive, liberal bastion "with many faces and just as many narratives." Israel is cynically co-opting the hard fought struggle for gay rights in Israel to divert attention away from its brutal occupation of Palestine. Tell the Boston LGBT Film Festival to respect the international cultural boycott of Israel and cancel all events associated with Out in Israel!

The text below is from the petition to the Boston LGBT Film Festival Organizers to stop pinkwashing Israeli apartheid.

Why this is Important

In the past, the Boston LGBT Film Festival has demonstrated a sincere commitment to diversity and social justice. But its latest partnership with "Out in Israel" undermines that history. Boston LGBT Film Festival organizers flout an international cultural boycott of the Israeli government -- led by Palestinian artists and allies -- to protest the brutal and illegal occupation. Through this partnership with "Out in Israel," the film festival provides positive publicity for a government whose human rights violations have attracted worldwide censure.

Israel’s invocation of LGBT rights – its “pinkwashing” propaganda – is disingenuous insofar as it diverts attention from the realities of Palestinians living under ongoing Israeli colonization, apartheid, and occupation. Consider, for instance, what Israel looks like to gay Palestinians. For these individuals, Israel is anything but a haven of freedom and inclusivity. Subject to the omnipresence of Israel’s gay-inclusive military, Palestinians’ movements are controlled and monitored by hundreds of Israeli checkpoints and obstacles throughout the West Bank. Throughout Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, Palestinians face the threat of home demolition and increasing violence at the hands of Israeli settlers. Even Palestinians who legally live in Israel contend with institutionalized inequity in the form of at least 70 discriminatory Israeli laws. Indeed, Israel’s wall – dividing Palestinian families, communities, and land – emerges as the symbol writ large of Israeli apartheid.

We ask, then, the Boston LGBT Film Festival respects the international cultural boycott and cancels all events associated with "Out in Israel."

We ask film organizers to choose events for which all people may be "out" and "proud." Pinkwashing injustice just isn't one of them.