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The New Arab

'Boycott Tel Aviv Pride' launched by pro-Palestinian LGBT campaigners

A lesbian couple hold hands at Tel Aviv's pride event in 2008 [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 May, 2016

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Pro-Palestine gay rights group warns LGBT tourists "there is nothing hot about cruising in a war zone" ahead of Tel Aviv Pride 2016 on June 3.

LGBT campaigners against Israel's occupation of Palestine have launched the 'Boycott Tel Aviv Pride 2016' campaign in an effort to combat the country's 'pinkwashing' of its illegal occupation. 

While the Israeli tourism board has touted their country's capital as a "top gay destination", anti-pinkwashing activists accuse the state of appropriating the gay rights cause to overshadow its human rights violations against Palestinians.

"Gay pride brochures fail to mention that it [Tel Aviv] is also an hour away from the world’s largest open prison, Gaza, and that it is built on stolen land. They forget to mention that the gay soldiers you dance with in the pride parade check, arrest and kill Palestinians on a daily basis," Pinkwatching Israel says on its website describing its campaign.

The pro-Boycott Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] LGBT site also highlights how Israel's tourism board has in the past run adverts that have been accused of homophobia, most notably the 'Imagine London without gays' campaign from earlier this year.

Rising against the tide

Queer BDS activists, like those at Pinkwatching Israel, have risen in recent years against a wave of Israeli propaganda that seeks to use their struggle for other political ends.

Others have also related 'gay animal' stories from Israel in recent years to the concerted pinkwashing effort, where news pieces about 'gay' penguins and vultures in Israeli zoos are used to reinforce the idea that Israel is an oasis of sexual equality in a barbarous Middle East.

Arab activists behind the Boycott Tel Aviv Pride campaign say that "by falsely juxtaposing 'oppressed gay Palestinians' with 'liberated gay Israelis', and by flattening out relations of power and the political realities of occupation and the Apartheid wall, pinkwashers aim to harness the global LGBT movement into supporting Israel at the expense of the Palestinians."

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