Pinkwatching And Pinkwashing: Interpenetration and its Discontents

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Pinkwatching And Pinkwashing: Interpenetration and its Discontents

it rests/is intertwined.

2. Settler Colonialism and its Affective States

In Israel, pinkwashing works to mobilize a discourse about gay rights to obfuscate the ongoing occupation of Palestine. In the United States, pinkwatching is so focused on recovering the queer Palestinian voice and legitimating queer solidarity frames that it speaks almost exclusively to an American queer audience and its experiences of discrimination and struggle—which it uses as an emotional bridge to Palestinian queers and Palestinians more broadly. Thus, settler colonialism in historic Palestine is framed as a serial of segregated human rights abuses that can be ameliorated piece by piece by state entities. After all, indigenous people everywhere would feel much safer under the watchful eye of the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, and entities such as the United States and the “western” world.

Pinkwashing ignores the settler-colonialism of Israel. Unfortunately, pinkwatching ignores the settler-colonialism of the United States and its own entrenchment in homonationalism. More often than not, pinkwatchers in the United States rightly critique the structural violence of settler colonialism in Palestine, but do so without recognizing the fact that they (we) are also settlers who live in a settler colony. Often, critique of the illegal settlements in Palestine is rendered through a disidentification with those settlers, rather than recognition of a common historical, political, and ongoing practice of settling the United States.

The United States is Israel’s greatest benefactor—its diplomatic and military blank check. Without a critique of US complicity in Israel’s occupation of Palestine, queer solidarity efforts are reproducing homonationalist versions of queerness and colluding with US imperialism. American queers did not need to be reached out to by the Israeli government to have always already been complicit in the colonial and criminal settling of historic Palestine. The fact that they were named as a propaganda target by the Israeli government is only evidence of the normalization of the “special relationship” between Israel and the United States writ large. The very visibility of the call to American gays obfuscates the deeper and more intractable binding between all American citizens and the continued settling of historical Palestine.

In addition to shared history and practice of settler colonialism, the United States and Israel are the largest benefactors of homonationalism, as it operates on three scalar registers: internal, territorial, and global.

3.The Dangers of Exceptionalism

Pinkwashing partakes in global circulations of gay rights that accord civilizational status to “gay-friendly” nations, cultures, and religions. In fact, without these