25/06/17 – Although Israel dresses in pink, still it is Apartheid

Although Israel dresses in pink, still it is Apartheid

By Roberto Solone Boccardi

In the 1980s, while the South African government self-described itself as democratic and branded as terrorist the struggle for the black population’s rights, the entire Western world – civil society, its institutions and governments – turned to the Anti-Apartheid movement to defend the equality of all people in South Africa.

In Israel, today, the same story is repeated. Is it democratic a State that declares itself exclusively and exclusively Jewish, with dozens of laws that discriminate against the Palestinian people and violate their basic rights to education, housing, property, culture, freedom, employment or the right to a judgment? An ethno-theocracy, which does not have a constitution neither fixed nor recognized borders? whose settlers continually come from all over the world to occupy daily new lands – inhabited and worked by the Palestinian people – using the Torah as an act of property, disowning international law and the multiple sanctions of the United Nations? Is this really ‘the only democracy for the Middle East’? A country that has annexed the bulk of Palestine with a Wall declared illegal by the Court of Justice in The Hague? Is it a role model to be followed by those fighting for the rights of lesbian, gay, transsexual, bisexual, queer and intersex people (LGBTIQ +), a society where only religious marriage is recognized and neither mixed marriages are allowed, nor between people Of the same sex? Really?

As the Zionist propaganda media -hasbarah- recognize so proudly, defending LGBTIQ + rights is crucial to improving Israel’s image abroad. In 2009, for example – but the same is being repeated continuously – the US-based organization StandWithUs, with the support of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, led LGBTIQ + leaders, activists and journalists from around the world to Israel. Program organizer Noa Meir emphasized the importance of the program, saying: ” GLBT rights are part of human rights, and when you see Israel, you see a country that has come so far in this area,” program organizer Noa Meir said. “When people see that Israel is so progressive on this issue, they realize that it can’t just be on this issue, and realize this must apply to Israel as a whole.”

And so in exchange for travel and money, its pink-washed image and pinkwashing propaganda reach many parts of the world where the LGBTIQ + collective – still oppressed, discriminated, persecuted and even murdered and imprisoned – needs support and protection, no matter where they come from. But: how long will we continue to allow them to colonize our struggle, using it to legitimize a system of oppression, occupation, apartheid and, at least in Gaza, ethnic cleansing? LGBTIQ + people who live in societies whose laws and institutions have taken steps to recognize legal equality: We have the duty to raise our critical voice against a State that, to date, has not demonstrated respect for International Law, nor Human Rights, much less for the rights of LGBTIQ + people who, remember, can only marry if they have the legal and economic privileges to do it abroad and then request transcription. That is, without countries like Spain, there would be no wedding for same-sex couples in Israel.

Israel’s real commitment to human rights in general and the rights of the LGBTIQ + collective in particular is so false that Israel not only does not grant asylum to LGBTIQ + Palestinians who seek it, but it also persecutes, captures and returns to the border those who are applying to third countries-while their applications are still being processed!- in flagrant violation of international law and showing a great lack of common sense for a nation that wants to promote itself as a leader of both LGBTIQ + rights and democracy.

Who represented this Israel before the United Nations as a diplomat for four years, defending in this forum his great work in favour of human rights in general and of the LGBTIQ+ collective in particular -even during the attack to the Gaza Strip in which more than 2000 people died- will be very questionably distilling us his misleading speech at the Human Rights Summit organized by Aegal in the Autonoma University, despite the multiple warnings about the incongruity of inviting a person with this profile. Can a diplomat who advocated that Israel should boycott the Human Rights Council, or who supported the administrative detention of a political prisoner defended by Amnesty International, speak without causing ethical-political problems to the human rights activists who share a table with him?

In addition, at the World Pride Closing Gala, also organized by AEGAL, it is planned the participation of Israel and its Embassy in connection with the commemoration of the World Pride of Jerusalem, a city that -as Mauricio Valiente Ots, Third Lieutenant Of Madrid’s mayor and Councilman for Human Rights, properly reminds us in his letter to Aegal– “is not part, according to international law, of the State of Israel.”

For these and many other reasons – including solidarity with all LGBTIQ + Palestinians who did not participate in the World Pride in Jerusalem, either because they did not want to, preferring to protest and not participate in pinkwashing Israel’s image further, either because they could not attend as they were crammed into the open air prison called Gaza or retained in the West Bank or Palestinian refugees living abroad and without permits to travel to Israel as “exiled forever” by the Israeli Law of Return – which allows returning Jewish people who were never in Palestine, but not to Palestinian refugees or their descendants – Platform 28J, Palestine Occupation Solidarity Network, LGTBI associations and other social and political organizations sent a letter to the World Pride Organizing Committee and the Closing Gala, in particular to AEGAL and FELGTB (COGAM already pronounced against pinkwashing as a member of the 28J Platform signatory letter) asking NOT to normalize the illegal annexation of Jerusalem in the “Gala WorLd Pride “.