Pinkwatching And Pinkwashing: Interpenetration and its Discontents

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Pinkwatching And Pinkwashing: Interpenetration and its Discontents

in fact, a vehicle for multicultural settler colonial states, such as Australia, South Africa, Israel, and the United States, that continue practicing a mission civilisatrice in the age of tolerance.

Third, we draw attention to the ways that a myopic focus on Israeli pinkwashing sacrifices a deeper understanding and critique of the ways in which the war on terror, Islamophobia, and rights discourses are intertwined. By severing Israeli attempts to pinkwash Israeli settler colonialism from the discursive landscape, which makes these attempts legible, pinkwatchers absolve the United States of its own own pinkwashing of the ongoing occupation of Iraq and of the ways in which discourses of Islamophobia and gay rights are currently being used to racialize and demonize Iran, not to mention to police racial-sexual others in the United States itself. Another way to practice exceptionalism is to note Israel’s legal record on gay rights, as many liberal voices in the United States do. But, by severing the supposed gay rights “record” of Israel from its regime of legal apartheid as it pertains to Palestinians, pinkwatchers reproduce gay rights as a measure by which a state can be deemed “liberal” and progressive. In using this discourse, they emphasize particular rights, such as the right to be married or to serve in the army, as markers to which the gay international should aspire. Thus, they reproduce the very discourse of pinkwashing in their attempts to redress it, by treating gay rights as if they operate in a legal vacuum, separate and separable from the legal system as a whole.

Finally, we are concerned by the way that many pinkwatchers (in the name of political expediency and coalition building) engage in lowest common denominator politics. Thus, pinkwatchers in the US ignore “divisive” questions such as the millions of lifetime Palestinian refugees, the right to militarily resist occupation, the illegal annexation of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights by Israel, and the fact that all of what today is called Israel used to be called Palestine not that long ago. They thus focus their conversations on answering almost explicitly the claims of pinkwashing as regards sexuality, rather than showing how these questions are only made possible by racism, colonialism, and homonationalism.

1. Homonationalism 

Many progressive critics miss the point: pinkwashing only makes sense as a political strategy within a discourse of Islamophobia and Arabophobia—it is part of a larger project to anchor all politics within the axis of identity