Main | Thursday, January 05, 2012

Israel Seeks Gay Envoys

Israel has posted a request for volunteer gay envoys to promote the nation's diversity.
The Israeli government is launching a program to recruit homosexuals to be unofficial envoys. In a bid to boost its international image, the country's ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs has established a cadre of diverse volunteers who speak about Israel around the world. In a recent post on its website, the ministry encouraged minorities and members of the homosexual community to step forward. Ministry spokesman Gal Ilan said Thursday that the goal was to highlight Israel's diversity. He said when people think about Israel, the homosexual community is often overlooked.
Some have charged Israel with pinkwashing in order to promote gay tourism. From the New York Times:
The growing global gay movement against the Israeli occupation has named these tactics “pinkwashing”: a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life. Aeyal Gross, a professor of law at Tel Aviv University, argues that “gay rights have essentially become a public-relations tool,” even though “conservative and especially religious politicians remain fiercely homophobic.” Pinkwashing not only manipulates the hard-won gains of Israel’s gay community, but it also ignores the existence of Palestinian gay-rights organizations.

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