Why many activists aren't feeling the pride at this year's Tel Aviv gay pride festival

Published June 2nd, 2016 - 06:38 GMT
Performers dance on a stage during 2014's Tel Aviv Pride festival, which attracted nearly 200,000 party-goers.  (AFP/Jack Guez)
Performers dance on a stage during 2014's Tel Aviv Pride festival, which attracted nearly 200,000 party-goers. (AFP/Jack Guez)

Just ahead of Tel Aviv’s huge annual gay pride festival, a vibrant street party which runs from May 29-June 4 and attracts over 100,000 attendees, activist group Israeli Queers Against Occupation released “Pink,” an anti-pinkwashing music video set to the tune of Aerosmith’s song of the same name.

In the video, gussied-up women in pink sequined dresses serenade their favorite color while Palestinians are shown facing the everyday brutality of occupation in checkpoint lines and destroyed homes.  “Now do you still feel like partying in Tel Aviv?” the video’s poster asks viewers. 

The music video, like many other forms of activism in a growing LGBT-led movement against injustices in Palestine, aims to combat “pinkwashing,” a form of propaganda that watchdog Pinkwatching Israel describes as “Israeli efforts to transform public perception of Israel from an apartheid settler state to a harmless, liberal, gay-friendly playground.” 

Still, Israel isn’t as gay-friendly as purported “pinkwashers” would have the world believe.  In socially conservative Jerusalem, an ultra-Orthadox Jewish man stabbed seven people at a gay pride parade last summer, killing a teenage girl.  Meanwhile, successive governments have failed to enact marriage equality for same-sex couples, despite a recent poll saying some 76% of Israelis support same-sex marriage. This exclusion, combined with the Israeli tourism ministry’s massive $2.9 million Tel Aviv Pride advertising campaign, has left many gay activists outraged, calling for the event’s cancellation.  Popular activist Netanel Azulay wrote in a recent Facebook post: “If there won’t be fully equal rights here then there won’t be profitable gay tourism.” 

Watch the music video below: 


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