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Israel Accused Of 'Pink-Washing' After Gay Video Exposed As Hoax

GayPrideIsrael A man claiming to be an American activist this week posted a YouTube video in which he said homophobic organizers of Palestine's Gaza flotilla protest ousted him for being gay.

Now that man has been identified as Tel Aviv-based actor Omer Gershon, and Israeli activists are pointing the finger at their government's alleged "pink-washing" against the Palestinians.

"It's highly embarrassing on so many levels," Israeli activist Hagai El-Ad told Salon's Justin Elliot. "I find it outrageous that anyone would try to use the relatively good reality of LGBT rights in Israel to try to somehow hide human rights violations against anyone else."

Gershon's video began made the rounds after an intern from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, who posted a tweet reading, "New video showing the hypocrisy of the freedom flotilla's human rights venture."

The Israeli government's press office also shared the video, telling their Twitter followers, "Be careful who you get in bed with."

And the Foreign Ministry also got in on the action. Both offices, however, later recanted their messages, with the press office apologizing for supporting "an apparent hoax."

El-Ad tells Elliot the Gershon video is only one example of the Israeli government's "pink-washing:" "The flotilla video is perhaps the jewel in the crown of this pink-washing campaign, but it's certainly not the beginning of it. I hope the embarrassment this should have caused will spell the end of it, but I doubt that it will."

He also says that the flotilla activists do indeed include LGBT people, although does admit that Israel is more progressive than both Gaza and the West Bank.

What say you, reader? Do you think the Israeli government is pulling strings to smear Palestinian activists?

Watch the Gershon video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I'd say the details, as presented, are so hazy that it's impossible to draw definitive conclusions on anything. But since this story involves Israel and Palestine, I'm sure that plenty of people will.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jul 2, 2011 1:01:45 PM

  2. I wouldn't be surprised if Bibi and his right-wing friends were involved.

    Posted by: David R. | Jul 2, 2011 1:03:28 PM

  3. What the heck is Pink Washing and how is it related to this issue? Could we get some editorial clarity here?

    Posted by: Jett Stone | Jul 2, 2011 1:09:41 PM

  4. The term "pinkwashing" is used by Israel-bashing propagandists and nobody with a sincere concern about enhancing LGBT rights in the Middle East should be fooled by it. The plight of gay people in the Middle East is very real, and deligetimizing Israel does nothing to improve those gay people's situation. Hamas in Gaza is made up of and supported in great measure by nihilistic psychopaths who routinely say that all homosexuality in the Middle East is Israel's "fault." Neither Hamas nor the P.A. give the populations for which they are responsible freedom of speech even to say that gay human beings should be treated decently and fairly. It is very easy for a brainwashed zombie to carry on with attempts to delegitimize Israel while the zombie would not be in any position of losing anything were Hamas for instance to succeed in eliminating Israel. Hamas's leader in Gaza praised Osama bin-Laden as a great Holy warrior. Anybody who doesn't understand what that means is an idiot. And anybody who constantly seeks to delegitimizing Israel looking only at what Israeli Jews are doing, while giving everybody else in the region a free pass to do whatever, including to "honor kill" gay people, has something going on in their psychology that should perhaps be examined.

    Posted by: Scott Rose | Jul 2, 2011 1:10:46 PM

  5. Gay rights in muslim countries are, for the most part, non-existent. We can accuse Israel of everything, but in a region where homophobia is rife, Israel is the exception. It may not be perfect, but you are not in danger of being persecuted and there aren't laws criminalizing homosexuality with the death penalty.

    Posted by: Sarina | Jul 2, 2011 1:54:41 PM

  6. I think Scott's post is a good example of how pinkwashing works. Hamas is evil and in Gaza LGBT people can be persecuted and silenced. Israel is very good on gay rights. [so pay no attention to the fact that Israel is an occupier that regularly denies the rights of other people who happen to be Palestinian]

    Within Israel there are gay rights activists with a more complex approach than the one you just read. I find it annoying when people try to use LGBT equality in an effort to deny other people's rights. So do many Israelis.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Jul 2, 2011 1:55:04 PM

  7. Those who deny rights to LGBTs forfeit those rights for themselves. Period.

    Posted by: Attmay | Jul 2, 2011 2:01:30 PM

  8. The funny thing is that Israel doesn't really need to do any propaganda action regarding the Palestinians' attitude towards Gay people. Gaza and the West Bank abound with stories of "honor killings" of homosexuals. The Koran's Sharia laws rule these places.

    Posted by: Nick | Jul 2, 2011 2:07:25 PM

  9. Regardless of how you feel about Israel/Palestine, this video hoax is not a plus for gay rights. In the future, any activists who agitate for gay rights in Gaza will automatically be suspected of being Israeli plants. Real concerns and problems will be more easily swept aside and ignored. The same thing happened with the American grad student who pretended to be an Iranian lesbian blogger. They only cast doubt on, and thus help silence actual gay activists in those areas.

    Posted by: LetSodomRing | Jul 2, 2011 2:50:15 PM

  10. Scott couldn't have said it better and that doesn't make him "pinkwashed", it makes him smart. We're talking about a religion that would see you killed by your own family. I challenge all of you who are gay and supportive of Hamas or Fatah to put your lives where your mouths are. Move to the West Bank or Gaza and live "Out and Proud". You'll be dead in weeks. Keep tearing down Israel as an occupier and illegitimate state and you further aid those who would see you dead as soon as they don't need your activism any longer.

    Posted by: E | Jul 2, 2011 2:55:33 PM

  11. Pink washing, despite Scott's hypocritical use of the word propaganda, means when Israel points out that many Muslim Organizations, such as Hamas, do not support equal rights for LGBT people, in order to try to minimize and distract from their own human rights abuses of Palestians in the West Bank, Gaza, and Palestians living in Israel.

    Posted by: The Iron Orchard | Jul 2, 2011 2:56:51 PM

  12. This is true. It plays into the hands of anti-Israel propagandists and is unnecessary. There is no need to make stuff up concerning the sorry state of human rights in the Middle East.

    And I will shed no tears for alleged human rights violations against proven human rights violators. I also believe the Nazis got off too easy.

    Posted by: Attmay | Jul 2, 2011 2:57:16 PM

  13. Lotta Zionist pigs in the hizzouse today!

    Posted by: 24play | Jul 2, 2011 3:02:33 PM

  14. Those who illegally occupy a nation for 60 years, brutally subjugate a people, and commit human-rights atrocities (incidentally because they claim a right to that land based on a 5,000 year old text deemed holy) are just as good as those who systematically oppress LGBT people for religious reasons. Israel and Hamas are two faces of the same hate-filled coin.

    Imagine no religion.

    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | Jul 2, 2011 3:15:34 PM

  15. Andalusian Dog - your mention of 'occupy a nation for 60 years' suggests that Israel has been occupying Palestinian territory for that long. That's 1951. Your implication is that ALL of Israel - up to the beach at Tel Aviv - is occupied territory, and Israel as a country has no right to exist.

    If this is your position, please state it clearly.

    Posted by: Robert | Jul 2, 2011 4:02:34 PM

  16. Middle East flame war bait.

    Fact: There is only ONE country in the entire Middle East that has LGBT pride parades and recognizes same-sex marriages performed abroad.

    That country is Israel.

    Posted by: Max | Jul 2, 2011 4:04:37 PM

  17. The Israeli government paid someone to lie about an event....does this strik anyone as odd behaviour for a democratic nation? This sort of thing is known as propaganda and its had a bad name for around 70 years.

    Posted by: Evil European | Jul 2, 2011 4:32:31 PM

  18. I don't know if the Israeli Government was attempting to paint the Palestinians as anti-gay with a bogus story. I do know Israel has an excellent record supporting gay rights. Bogus or not, Israel is attempting to show their moral superiority by their pro-gay stance and the target audience is obviously Europe and US. Damn, we are making progress when countries start promoting themselves by using equal treatment of gay citizens as a benchmark.

    Posted by: PLAINTOM | Jul 2, 2011 4:47:15 PM

  19. We have more objective information about Israel here in the UK.

    This doesn't surprise and it doesn't matter that Israel has decent gay rights legalities.

    What is WRONG is that still with their strong record, the Israeli government still felt the need to be bitchy.

    They want it THEIR way and no other way but that isn't to say that Hamas is using the palestinan people for their own good.

    It's so depressing. Had a friend who world in the gaza strip with palestinans and it makes your blood boil what they do to them.

    It's too complex, depressing and very one sided as reported in the news to be able to have an adult discussion on a blog.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jul 2, 2011 5:14:54 PM

  20. The hoax video could easily have been made by an activist as by the government themselves. I'll give them a pass on coordinating the hoax and only hold them accountable for being ignorant in their opportunism when they spread it around without fact-checking.

    Seems fair, right?

    @Plaintom: Israel is pointing to their treatment of gays as a benchmark of their "civil rights" because, really, they don't want you to look the other way... you know, toward Gaza and the West Bank and their treatment of the Palestinians.

    I'm not saying the Palestinians and the radical factions in their community isn't at fault, and I'm definitely not saying the rhetoric from the rest of the Arab world is helping, but Israel - the supposed "big boy" in the region - has done very little to resolve the conflict when they have had the lion's share of power to do so.

    Instead, Israel continues to build settlements on disputed lands (with the hope that presence will add legitimacy to their claims). This is contrary to previous treaty agreements.

    Israel has balked at giving the Palestinians any measure of arable land, leaving the new state (whenever it's allowed to exist) crippled and reliant on neighboring aid for food and water - no doubt Israel's plan. Israel claims this land is also defensively important, but really, Israel is only offering the worst pieces of a miserable scrap of land and conceding absolutely nothing in return. Is that how diplomacy works?

    Why the United States, my country, continues to give them a free pass, I'll never understand.

    Posted by: TommyOC | Jul 2, 2011 5:23:40 PM

  21. This post was genuine comment bait.

    Post ANYTHING on Israel and it brings out the factions!

    Truth is: a lie doesn't make truth.

    If you lie to push your activist agenda, however worthy it is, then you undermine your cause.

    Somebody in Israel made a false, misleading video just like that lying American posing as a Syrian lesbian.

    Again: 2 wrong don't make a right and a lie doesn't make truth.

    Posted by: brenda | Jul 2, 2011 5:24:06 PM

  22. This is such vile propaganda by a sadist regime that continually acts with the most complete disregard for everyone and everything that is not part of their group.

    As with most war propaganda, the message is not polished in an artistic fashion (to put it mildly); what I mean by this is that this video does not look real as in real life real:

    --The character supposedly had lots of fun with his coming out, and now he is scurring the internet for a new cause to get involved in, and so he settles for risking his life on the high seas in a weeks long mission that will at minimum get him beaten and detained by a foreign military for a cause that he has just learned of in his past week of internet-hunting for a cause. Then he gets rejected because he is gay. Being the "smart" guy that he is, it doesn't take long for our hero to find out that the "cause" is actually a facade for a nest of extremist and terrorists. (authors note: such as Alice Walker and Henning Mankell) And what is worse is that these are people who are extremist precisely against homosexuals. And then he skips to very standard stereotypical propaganda against hamas; which doesn't have any connection to the objectives of the flotilla; as the flotilla is a humanitarian mission that is a grassroots project to connect the people ... no flotilla activists ever praised hamas.

    But the point about 'war propaganda' is that they do not even attempt to make it look like this was a real video made by a guy who really lived this alleged story, in war propaganda they only try to elicit strong immediate emotions by any means available; usually emotionally loaded images and phrases to which people cannot remain indifferent, but it is all constructed to convey every element of the political agenda that they wish to convey in an orderly fashion.

    It is true that israel does not discriminate against homosexuals in general, tho they recently passed a law allowing communities to decide who can or cannot live there, permitting them to reject people based on their lifestyles; nevertheless it is true that the jewish culture is more tolerant about all sexuality than both islam and christianity, and the hasbara uses that fact as a diversion tactic to elicit extra support by misrepresenting themselves as caring for minorities (What they call "pinkwashing"). But that is just circumstantial, because jewish religion is very elitist and exclusionary as they see themselves as "the chosen people" and that because of this fact their lives are objectively worth more, and both the state of israel's legislation and the majority of israeli citizens are extremely racist.

    BTW there are openly gay activists on board the flotilla.

    Posted by: Beaudry | Jul 2, 2011 6:27:09 PM

  23. So many anti-Semites, so little time to read it all. Just say "Israel" and out they come frothing at the mouth. Try it with your "liberal" friends and observe the reaction.

    Posted by: Max | Jul 2, 2011 7:36:27 PM

  24. I hope that Hamas doesn't get a hold of any gay activists on the flotilla because being gay can get someone killed in Gaza. Hamas is a fundamentalist Islamist group. They're funded by our friends in Iran and we all know how the Iranians treat gay people.

    Posted by: Grover Underwood | Jul 2, 2011 7:38:02 PM


    Posted by: Shannon | Jul 2, 2011 9:17:53 PM

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