+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

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

Rightist Propaganda Min. looking for Arabs, gays to represent Israel

Hoping to boost the liberal image of country, Israel has increased efforts to use the gay community for advocacy and PR assignments.

Ad by the Hasbara office inviting gays and minorities to do propaganda and advocacy work for the government

This post was updated.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first to appoint a government minister in charge of propaganda, advocacy and international public relations. Minister Yuli Edelstein has taken this position at the head of the Hasbara office so seriously that he has even asked Netanyahu to be relieved of other government duties so that he can concentrate on advocacy and propaganda.

Edelstein, a member of Likud, is known for his rightwing views. Recently, he posted a status message on his Facebook page referring to the Arabs as a “despicable nation.” Asked by +972 blogger Yossi Gurvitz to clarify this statement, a spokesperson for the minister said that Edelstein did in fact mean “all the Arabs.”

Yet this doesn’t keep the minister from to look to some of those despicable Arabs to represent Israel abroad. In an ad published recently on the Ministry’s official website, Arab and gay candidates were invited to apply for advocacy work abroad.

The office for Hasbara and Diaspora […] is announcing the widening of the pool of candidates for Hasbara [propaganda] activities abroad. The office invites candidates who are meeting the following requirement conditions to send an application for the pool, and especially would like to receive applications from people who represent the diverse faces of Israeli society, such as members of minority groups, representatives of the gay community, people who represent the variety of opinions in the Israel society, etc.

It should be noted that Minister Edelstein and his party are not very hospitable to gays either. When Yisrael Beiteinu introduced legislation allowing marriage-like status for non-Jews, Likud joined the Orthodox parties in blocking an attempt by the left to add gay and lesbians to this arrangement. Yet it’s no secret that Israel has found the gay rights issue especially useful in its propaganda campaigns.

In recent years, speakers for Israel have been advised to compare the status of gays in Israel to Muslim countries, and advocacy groups give prominence to this point in their publications; Israel is using targeted advertising campaigns for the gay community, and has recently put a four-page ad in the last issue of Attitude, the most popular gay magazine in Europe. A few months ago, a PR man connected to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office promoted a Youtube video in which an LGBT activist named Mark encouraged human rights organizations not to support the Gaza-bound flotilla. Mark was soon exposed by the site Electronic Intifada as an Israeli actor.

A recent op-ed in the New York Times titled “Israel and ‘Pinkwashing’” dealt with the efforts to use the gay rights issue to conceal the massive human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza. This piece drew heavy criticism from Jewish writers – including liberal ones – and was even cited by an aid for Netanyahu in a public letter detailing Netanyahu’s decision to decline an offer to author an op-ed in The Times.

Read Also:
Hasbara: Why does the world fail to understand us?

Correction: An older version of this post stated that Edelstien is from Israel Beitenu. He is a member of Likud.


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

    * Required


    1. Jalal

      This made me laugh! they try so hard, yet mess up every time!

      Reply to Comment
    2. Hahahaha, but don’t you know pinkwashing doesn’t exist?!!

      I really wonder how it is they don’t learn. How about the ad campaign to get Israelis to “come home” with scare tactics about assimilation, and the really cynical viral YouTube campaign headed by David Saranga, showing the Israeli flag waving at the NYC pride parade, after the Jerusalem one was cancelled?

      The examples are endless, always get them in trouble, and yet they do it again. And again.

      It has to be on purpose, doesn’t it?

      Reply to Comment
    3. JDE

      “Hoping to boost the liberal image of country, Israel has increased efforts to use the gay community for advocacy and PR assignments.”

      You can’t make this stuff up.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Carl

      Well since Pim Fortuyn departed this world they’ve been short of a mental gay right-winger to speak for them so I suppose their on to the C list now.
      That said I think they’re missing a trick here: coming at things from the wrong angle. Surely they should be using the Jerusalem pride march to demonstrate the unity of Jerusalem and how all three religions get on just fine as things stand. I refer of course to the annual outbreak of Christian, Jewish and Muslim unity, as their leaders come together to scream ‘defilement!’ and ‘sodomy!’ at the the Jerusalem Pride parade. Maybe the cliché that the three faiths all really worship the same god is true after all. Truly heart warming all this.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Lauren

      As a New Yorker & Lesbian, I will tell you that I don’t want the Israeli Gays here!!!! We have a Gay porno king (Russian-Israeli)who used his political power to stop American Palestinians holding a party at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center in NYC.
      The Community has never shown ill will towards other minorities as we all feel the pain of the oppressed. However, this has now changed as the Center is now a political machine. I’ve been part of the community for over 30 years and NEVER have I seen this type of discrimination before. We are very inclusive. I emailed and called the center to protest and they mocked us all. So, the Gay Zionists have taken us over. I now boycott all Center activities, fund raisers and anything else that would support an apartied right here!!!

      Reply to Comment
    6. Mordred

      Lauren, isn’t your reply here kind of hateful, too?
      Not all Israeli citizens are fascists. Not all of them are right-wing. So declaring that any “Israeli Gays” are unwanted… Kind of makes me think you’re not any different from the guy you just mentioned.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Lauren

      @Mordred… yes, you’re absolutely right. No, I wasn’t trying to be hateful. You can see I’m still charged over this. What that guy did was destroy a lot of community feeling and put people on political platforms where they need not be. Money and powerful Gays were involved with the discrimination. So my boycott is against all of the folks involved with the decision…. no matter their religion.
      Sorry if I offended anyone… that wasn’t my intention. But yeah, the porno king is a hater. And after that happened in 2011, I sent money to the very group he had thrown out.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Bryan

      @Lauren: this wasn’t Palestinians trying to hold a party at the Center. It was a BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) group, run by a Korean transsexual, attempting to completely delegitimize the existence of Israel. Fatiha, an LBGT Muslim group, has had parties and events at the Center for years with no problem. The problem is that Siege Busters believes there should not be a Jewish state although there are 21 Arab states and 52 Islamic states, which I would argue is anti-Semitic (kind of like blaming an entire community/ethnicity for one person’s actions).

      Reply to Comment