Queer Palestinian activists discuss "pinkwashing" and more


Queer Palestinian activists are on tour in the Bay Area speaking about queer struggles in the context of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. (Tonight is your last chance to catch the three representatives of the organizations Aswat and Al Qaws as they relate their stories, 7-9pm at the Pro Arts Gallery, 150 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakl. Facebook info here.)

Last night they spoke at Mission High School in an event organized by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center and co-sponsored by a diverse coalition of groups. Most asked be be identified by their first names only, fearing discrimination for the sexual orientation and reprisals for speaking out. Here are some highlights

“The Palestinian queer movement has managed to combine queer, feminism, and resistance to occupation into one integrated struggle,” said Haneen, who is active with Al Qaws, which promotes the development and growth of the Palestinian LGBTQ community. “When you talk queer rights in Palestine you cannot overlook the fact that Palestinians live under occupation. It is important not to overlook.”

One reason for the tour is to highlight what the activists call the “pinkwashing” of the Israeli occupation. “It’s a term that means the abuse of the Israeli gay struggle by the Israeli government,” said the 23-year-old activist, Sami. “Wrap a pink scarf around your eyes, we should not criticized Israel because it’s gay friendly. It’s part of the whole campaign of branding Israel as gay friendly and democratic and make people not see the human right violations.”

Moderated Cherríe Moraga, a queer Chicana activist and writer, the event was a rare exchange between two generations of queers of color. “I, as a Chicana, do not feel estranged from the Palestinian question, she said. “There is no contradiction for struggling for nation and for struggling for the freedom of our desires and sexuality.”

The three younger activists in turn showed appreciation for all they have learned from the veteran movements in the United States. “We learned a lot from the queer of color movements here in the United States when we were exploring the intersections of the struggle, [your writings] were amazing, [they] helped us,” Sami said. I would like to thank you for that.”

Despite their reference to other movements, they said everything from their rhetoric to their political strategy is based on communication with queer Palestinians. “The process of choosing the strategy is important,” said Abeer, who works toward inclusion of queer women in civil society.  We went out to the field we met queer Palestinians. We developed all these news strategies on our feet. This is the spirit of Al Qaws—bringing these field experiences.”

The nascent movement they represent has already produced some concrete results. Before they began, the Arabic terms for gay were negative but now even the mainstream media has adopted some of the reclaimed and positive terminology of the movement.

If you cannot make it to the event, the after party will take place at 9:30 at the Paradiso Lounge, 2272 Telegraph Ave, Oakl.


Ironically the best place for these "queer Palestians" is in Israel.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

Lucrieta, most people murdered in general in Palestine are murdered by the Israeli military whether queer or otherwise. If you mean that queer Palestinians do not enjoy protection by state institutions, you may consider that the only state in control of Palestine and Palestinian lands is Israel and so the responsibility still falls on the Israeli government.
Lastly, here is a case of a brutal attack on an LGBT center in Tel Aviv (Israel) where two were murdered.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

from bbc dot com

Thursday, 26 January 2006, 21:07 GMT

Preliminary results give Hamas 76 of the 132 seats in the chamber, with the ruling Fatah party trailing on 43.

Who would have seen it coming...

Hamas say gays are perverts will be punished if they win elections
by Benjamin Cohen
10 October 2005, 12:00am

Hamas, the militant and political group in the Palestinian Territories have said that they win the Palestinian Authority Parliamentary election, they would ban men and women dancing together and will strip gay men and women of the few rights they have in the territory that they have at present.

Dr Mahmoud Zahar (pictured), the groups leader in Gaza, in an article on an Arabic website condemned the rights that gays have in Israel and made it clear that he thinks that gays are perverts. “Are these the laws for which the Palestinian street is waiting? For us to give rights to homosexuals and to lesbians, a minority of perverts and the mentally and morally sick?” He asked on the Elaph website.

Posted by matllock on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

also, GLBTQ communities tend to flourish in urban settings, but the Israeli government has a sytematic policy of preventing Palestinian citizens of Israel from urbanizing - it builds no new towns for Arabs, but also maintains barriers to them moving into Jewish towns (e.g. through the state mortgage policy). These policies offer gays little alternatives to traditional communities where they cannot be anonymous.

Posted by Guest2 on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

idiots in small towns who beat up gays are not at fault in the USA, as the gays should have just moved to the city?

Posted by matllock on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

the speakers also emphasized that Israel does not offer any special rights to LGBTQ asylum seekers, and they are treated as harshly as any other non-citizen Palestinians trying to get into Israel

Posted by Guest2 on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

Israel should be giving refuge to queer Palestinians who would otherwise be murdered by their fellow Palestinians, despite the fact those same queer Palestinians are supporting movements which want to murder those queer Palestinians. The fact that Israel doesn't proves what a terrible state it is.

That is called "cognitive dissonance."

GLBT Israelis, including citizens of Arab descent, have more rights than do GLBT people in the United States.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

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