Next week, as tourists descend on Tel Aviv for the yearly pride parade, a separate international contingent will touch down in the city for a high-profile arms fair.
By Tanya Rubinstein
The upcoming Tel Aviv Pride parade has set social media, the streets and the queer community alight. In preparation for the June 9 march, the city’s streets are already filling up with rainbow flags and cute tourists.
Luckily for the parade’s organizers, this year’s event is taking place in the second week of June rather than the first, which marks 50 years since the start of the 1967 occupation. We already saw the March of the Flags in all its glory on Jerusalem Day last week, including the shuttering of Palestinian businesses and the clearing of Palestinians off the streets, and severe police violence against Jewish demonstrators who were trying to stop the march from passing through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter.
These aren’t really the pictures of masses of flags that the Tourism Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs want tourists to see. Indeed, pride events in Israel over the last few years have been a hasbara tool, aimed at showing the world a (false) picture of Israel as a Western, pluralistic, democratic country that respects human rights. It’s what LGBTQ activists refer to as “pinkwashing.”
So it is that during Pride week in Tel Aviv, which will bring thousands of tourists from around the world to celebrate on the beach, a separate international contingent will be in town to admire the Israel’s arms industry’s wares at the ISDEF exhibition.
The expo, held every two years at the Tel Aviv Convention Center, proudly displays cutting-edge military technology to representatives from dozens of countries. It’s one of the largest arms expos in the world, and the biggest in Israel. Throughout the exhibition, Israel will sell its technological developments to foreign countries, including those under arms embargoes for violating human rights.
It’s no accident that Israel is one of the world’s biggest military exporters. The territories and people under Israeli occupation enable the military to develop, test out and perfect new technologies on the battlefield. As a result, Israel can compete...Read More