Three days after the June 12, 2016 shooting of 49 people at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded with a video recording of a speech on YouTube, which received over 22 million views on Facebook alone. Whilst the motivations of the shooter remain unknown, Netanyahu’s celebrated speech presents them as explicitly terrorist in nature. What we see is a classic case of pinkwashing, a tactic that hijacks LGBTQ struggles for other agendas, while distracting from other injustices and violence. For Netanyahu, this means using pro-gay rhetoric to strengthen the Israeli apartheid, dependent as it is on fear and hatred toward “radical Islamist terror”. A tactic that further erases the visibility of Palestinian and Muslim queers.
If his speech were not pinkwashing, if it were actually pro-gay, it would look something more like this:
“In Orlando, a terroristperson walks into a nightclub and murders nearly 50 human beings. Sons and daughters, brothers and sisters cut down in cold blood.
They did nothing wrong. They were dancing with friends, they were enjoying music with loved ones.
Why did the terroristperson murder them?
Because he was driven by a fanatical hatred.
He targeted the LGBT community because he believed they were evil.
Now, the murderer wasn’t alone.
Regimes and terroristracist, transphobic, and homophobic organizations around the world ruthlessly persecute the LGBT community.
In Syria, ISIS throws gays off rooftops.
In Iran, the regime hangs gays from cranes.
In Israel, ultra orthodox Jews publicly stab Pride activists.
In France, far right militants murder marriage equality advocates.
In Russia, professional raiding companies gas gay clubs, while gay activism and lives are criminalized.
In the US, police routinely terrorize queer and trans people of color, while upholding over 200 anti-LGBTQ laws.
Too many people have remained silent in the face of this awful persecution.
This week’s shooting wasn’t merely an attack on the LGBT community. It was an attack on all of us, on our common values of freedom and diversity and choice.
Radical Islamist terrorRacism, transphobia, and homophobia makes no distinctions between shades of infidelcolor and gender.
This week it was gays in Orlando. A few days before that it was Jews in Tel Avivgays in Xalapa. Before that it was music fans in Parisgays in Dhaka; Travelers in BrusselsGays in Malindi; Yazidis in IraqGays in Gaitherburg; Community workers in San BernardinoGays in Philadelphia; Christians and journalists in Syria. Gays in Buenos Aires; Detroit; Jerusalem; Tampa Bay; Sonsonate; Racine; Akron; Olongapo; Hollywood; Daveyton; Moscow; Hatay; Ibatiba; Salvador; New York; Cuiaba; East Bank Demerara; Sao Paulo; Rio de Janeiro; Kenya; Cameroon, Paris. And that’s in just three years.
Not Aall of us are targets.
We believe that all people are created in the image of God.
ISISFascism and heteropatriarchy (which also govern the Israeli apartheid), by contrast, believes that all people who aren’t just like them deserve to submit, suffer, or die.
We will not be terrified into submission.
We will fight back. And we will triumph.
Today I ask you to reach out to friends in the LGBT community. Comfort them.
Tell them you stand together, we stand together as one. And that you will always remember the victims.
Tell them they will never be alone, that we are all one family deserving of dignity, deserving of life.
I have no doubt that those who seek to spread hate and fear will be defeated.
Working together we will defeat them even faster.
We need to stand united, resolute in the belief that all people regardless of their sexual orientation, regardless of their race, regardless of their ethnicity, all people deserve respect, deserve dignity.”
Created by Rachel Jane Liebert and Tehseen Noorani.