+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Israel’s “pinkwash” makes cynical use of gays & gay rights

Israel’s latest hasbara schtick falls flat in days

A couple of days ago, a Youtube video of some guy calling himself Mark popped up. Mark claimed to be an American gay rights activist who decided to broaden his horizons and, going all hog, decided to join the Gaza flotilla, representing the gay rights group of which he is a member. He sent an email to the flotilla organizers, but – alas! – after waiting for quite a while, received a negative reply. Upon which Mark experienced a Road to Damascus moment, the scales fell from his eyes, and he saw the bright, shining light of truth: The flotilla is organized by Hamas-supporting Islamists, all of whom are good friends with Ismail Hanyieh.

We are, of course, dealing with a professional hasbara flick. “Mark” refrains from showing us the bomb he pretends to hold, namely the mail he purportedly received from the flotilla organizers. This is not an accident: As Max Blumenthal quickly found out, the video was promoted by someone named Neil Lazarus, a professional hasbara man. The video was promoted in Twitter, Blumenthal found out, by the Israeli Government Press Office, who was quoting someone called Guy Seemann, who works for the Prime Minister’s Office. Seemann’s tweet promoting the video was his only one, and it seems he opened his account for this purpose.

Last night, Electronic Intifada exposed the fact that “Mark” is in fact the Israeli Omer Gershon, a two-bit micro-celeb from Tel Aviv. This exposes, if this wasn’t clear yet, the lie behind the video: As an Israeli, “Mark”’s naiveté and his claim to see the light is particularly ridiculous.

I don’t have much of a problem with Gershon. He’s an actor, presumably he was paid for his part, and actors have promoted untruths and myths since the times of Thespis. The office of the PM, promoting such clumsy propaganda, is another case entirely.

This schtick ought not to be surprising: After all, the Foreign Ministry decided more than a year ago (Hebrew) to outsource hasbara, since official Israeli sources are burned, and considered unreliable. Israel is conducting a dirty tricks campaign against the flotilla, trying to poison the minds of people in the West, by dispensing lies through people allegedly unrelated to it.

Trying to make the Western world forget for a while it holds millions under occupation and is running the largest open sky prison in Gaza, Israel is trying to wave its relatively good record in the area of gay rights. To do so, it focuses on the homophobia of traditional Muslim society while hoping nobody pays attention to the homophobia of traditional Jewish society and while silently praying nobody will notice homophobia is the only thing bringing Orthodox rabbis and imams together, as in the protests against the Jerusalem gay parade. It also hopes nobody will realize its Chief rabbis, past (Hebrew) and present (Hebrew) incited against the gay community, while receiving a government salary and pension and trusting to their position to protect them from investigation.

As collateral damage, Israel tars the gay groups in the Middle East as its collaborators. There have been claims before these groups are “pro Zionists”, and in fact there is nothing surprising in an oppressed group seeing the bright sides of the enemy of its oppressor.

But the use Israel makes of the gay cause and gay groups will easily allow the authorities in the rest of the Middle East to portray them as Israeli collaborators, perhaps even spies, and use this excuse to persecute them. Paradoxically, Israel’s embrace of gays will promote their harassment in neighboring countries.

Then again, who cares? We’re only talking about gentiles, after all, Muslim and gay ones to boot. At least, we gave them a good hasbara fight. Next time, we won’t get caught. Hopefully.

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. richard Allen

      He’s supposed to be American?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Chad

      Being gay myself, even IF this were real, the people orchestrating the Gaza Freedom Flotilla should turn a request like this down because the focus of the flotilla should be three primary things:
      1. Bringing aid to Gaza
      2. Let the world see the conditions that the Palestinians are living under due to the occupation.
      3. Let the world see how Israel is treating these Palestinians.

      Now, if a gay group wants to go along to show solidarity to those causes, that’s different – but trying to hi-jack the mission to move the focus elsewhere, like onto gay rights, well that isn’t acceptable.

      That Flotilla NEEDS to remain Palestine/Gaza focused because anything else will turn into convenient distractions for the media to fixate on.

      Reply to Comment
    3. RichardNYC

      @YG
      “Paradoxically, Israel’s embrace of gays will promote their harassment in neighboring countries.”
      Truly breathtaking apologetics. If one propaganda video means that Israel deserves to lose all credit for its gay rights record, maybe dozens of suicide bombers should deprive Palestinians of the moral high ground? Oh I guess not, since Jews trying to trick people into thinking something that’s actually true is a lot worse than people killing Jews. 10 points for entertainment value.

      Reply to Comment
    4. If one propaganda video means that Israel deserves to lose all credit for its gay rights record

      Umm, no. That’s not what I’ve said. The fabrication of a video – a rather bad one; turns out you can see Hebrew characters on the guy’s keyboard – deceitfully claiming the flotilla is anti-gay, is enough however to alert people that Israel is using the gay issue as a blunt weapon. And, of course, it should be mentioned that high Israeli officials are airing anti-gay views which would make them pariah in any Western country. Which Israel isn’t.

      Reply to Comment
    5. […] The Prime Minister’s Office confirms government officials promoted the “gay on the flotilla” hoax, and refuses to deny its officials were involved in its production (Hebrew). Apparently Eli Yishai, […]

      Reply to Comment
    6. Shoded Yam

      Buddy Holly called. He wants his look back. 😉

      Reply to Comment
    7. RichardNYC

      @YG
      If you’re not saying that Israel deserves to lose all credit for its gay rights record, when exactly is Israel allowed to mention its gay rights record without you accusing it of “pinkwash”? Let’s just be frank and acknowledge that you’d never let that happen. You’re employing BDS tactic #2563: never tolerate a discourse that allows a balancing of Israel’s merits against its demerits – all merits are to be discussed merely as a ploy, a “wash” for eternal crimes.

      Reply to Comment
    8. David

      Israel: 63 years of trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.

      Reply to Comment
    9. RichardNYC

      @David
      So where’s the square hole? Oh, one doesn’t exist? Oh, so Jews have no rightful home on planet earth? Actually we’re not really satisfied that with opinion.

      Reply to Comment
    10. max

      Sounds like Israel should stop being a democracy lest democratic motions in the Arab world will be viewed as pro-Israeli ones.
      Quite a sound reasoning!

      Reply to Comment
    11. ariadna theokopoulos

      This guy– I am not bashing him, he is doing his best–is laughable as an “American” who fought against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and who earnestly wnated to join the flotilla… Can’t they get better script writers, better actors?
      After decades and decades and free money to subsidize it (thanks, Uncle Sam) hasbara is still so pathetically inept?!? Go figure.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Jack

      “Next time, we won’t get caught. Hopefully.” It’s way to late to think that you will not ever get caught at anything Israel tries to do. Even if something good was done, the entire world would look under the rocks to find out just what it truly is that you would be up to.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Israel;

      Clouseau looks intelligent, next to them.

      Reply to Comment
    14. FloMoZo

      -oy-vey! Yet another silly zuppet trying to mess with decent people.
      Oh well.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Rabbit

      Oh Ruchard give it up son. Everyone can see the hasbara hat you wear. You clowns need to get a new act and people are not so stupid any of your apologies for a terrorist regime turn any heads. The best you can do with your feeble irrational smoke and mirrors efforts is to slow down the rate of decline, you can’t turn anybody back from the truth once they have seen through the Zionist bulls#it.

      Gays who wish to take part in activism in other moral campaigns need to leace their sexual proclivities at the door. Making a song and dance about being a “Gay Palestinian supporter” is ridiculous and against the spirit of Palestinian activism. It has as much relevance as me announcing my favorite sexual position or how many times my wife and I have sex in a night as part of my support for Palestine. Who cares except me? So leave your sexuality out of this, it is not relevant and represents another cause which is not related anyway.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Adiel

      As a born and raised gay Israeli, I find this article to be hilarious. When ever I had to categorized a country or society as “Evil” or “Just” I looked into its LGBT community. Usually its very easy to determine (i.e. Hamas regime kills gays – hence EVIL). You can do the same drill with women rights and position in the society.

      So for me its not about PINK-WASH (or which ever other fancy academic phrases out there), but rather a PINK-FEAR – a fear that one day the country I was born and raised in, the country that allowed me the freedom, justice and equality to live my life as a gay guy, will be taken over by fascist Islamic EVIL forces. Very simple. Very true.

      But than again – if you are that convinced that Israel is only a brutal settler-colony state, then … I guess you were successfully ISLAMOFASCIST-WASHED.

      Reply to Comment
    17. philip a. travers

      Email address is dead.This video as a poster pointed out is an Israeli Government promoted oppurtunism.What more needs to be said about it!?Democracy doesn’t need propaganda for itself.That is, a functioning reasonable analysis when the population calls for it.Alas in the history of Democracies ,they do tend to propagandise.The money every year from the U.S.A. taxpayer,if one could accept conventional treatments for AIDS and HIV would easily cover that problem as a reduction in that conventionally described medical problem.I usually like Israeli women,even if they are very good liars.Maybe Israeli lesbians are even more deadly opponents and are ambitious beyond the normal for them, disruption of accepting males as such.So clownish is Israeli attitudes towards the Palestinians,that with all the support of the World’s media the Clownish AIPAC sends people to Australia claiming Friendships,flying in and out.Everyday in Australia there is on the hour a Jew being promoted in the Media.Gee!You Israelis have another source of weaponry!You Boring Sods!

      Reply to Comment
    18. I think the most hilarious part of this is that we’re supposed to believe that this guy is American.

      Reply to Comment
    19. David

      Joseph Dana does the same thing. He is a political activist, like many at 972, and sells himself as a journalist. Same same.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Gonzalo

      And the Israeli accent didn’t clue anyone in?

      Reply to Comment
    21. Click here to load previous comments

The stories that matter.
The missing context.
All in one weekly email.

Subscribe to +972's newsletter