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March 24, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Seattle panel snubs gay leaders from Israel

Propaganda, not dialogue

I attended the public meeting at Seattle City Hall on March 21, where there was a discussion of the Seattle LGBT Commission’s decision to cancel the Israeli-government-sponsored LGBT delegation’s talk the previous week. [“Gay leaders from Israel snubbed by gay panel,” NWSaturday, March 17.]

I heard many people in the room portray this decision as “preventing dialogue.” This is a misrepresentation. An Israeli-government-sponsored delegation, intended to show Israel’s pretty face, so as to distract from Israel’s violations of international law, must not be confused with dialogue.

This is an official Israeli government campaign, known among activists as “pinkwashing.” Nowhere were the voices we would have heard those of the marginalized communities in Israel, as was mentioned in the public meeting. The delegation did not include a single Palestinian — without a doubt the more marginalized community in Israel.

But this is to be expected: those of us who remember the attempt at pinkwashing at the United States Social Forum in 2010 also remember that StandWithUs (which sponsored this delegation’s visit to Seattle), said no when they were asked if they would be willing to have queer Arab co-facilitators in their workshop on gay rights in the Middle East. Yet somehow the decision to cancel government propaganda is described as shutting down dialogue? I don’t think so.

— Nada Elia, Redmond

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