GayMiddleEast.com’s Zionism1,987 views
Gay Middle East have always had shady politics. That the largest Middle East LGBT (well, G mostly) “grassroots news” website is run by British Israeli Zionist Dan Littauer is already cause for concern. The fact that GME regularly collaborates with neo-colonialist Islamophobes such as Peter Tatchell (the guy with a penchant for threatening lawsuits against those who don’t think he is god’s gift to oppressed gay people) doesn’t help his credentials much. Bizarrely, he is also the human rights and press officer for the Association of British Muslims. Barring the logic of such a position, Littauer is also quite friendly with Islamophobic pornographer Michael Lucas, whose recent campaign against Siegebusters, a NY-based anti-apartheid group, successfully got them banned from meeting at the NY LGBT center. Lucas, by the way, is making a name for himself uttering such gems as “Muslims have not contributed to civilization in any way”. He is also famous for making gay porn film “Men of Israel”, which had its setting on the ruins of homes Palestinians displaced in 1948.
It is not surprising then that GME has never once carried the anti-apartheid statements of the various Arab LGBT groups based in the region, nor has it ever commented on the growing trend of Israeli-backed political censorship in the global LGBT arena. GME responded on Twitter that they only cover news that actually happens in the region, but this of course is not true since they have covered international events that they believe have resonance in the Middle East, such as various UN debates on sexual orientation and gender identity. Clearly, GME does not think that censorship of queer Arab and anti-apartheid groups or calls to boycott Israeli pride parades are relevant to the region. After all, that sort of talk might upset their friends at OutRage and the genocide porn industry.
A brief look on the Israel page of GME showcases article after article of how awesome Tel Aviv’s gay life is, punctuated with a couple of pieces on the Tel Aviv LGBT shootings of 2009. GME also promoted Jerusalem World Pride in 2005, at a time when there was a global campaign to boycott it. In an article entitled Tel Aviv Pride 2010 – A beacon of acceptance, tolerance and joy, Littauer lavishes praise on Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister who vigorously pushed for and defended Israeli wars on Gaza in 2009 and Lebanon in 2006. In her pride speech, Livni told the crowd that supporting gay rights is “not a political issue, but one of human respect and decency”. She clearly didn’t get the memo. For Littauer though, it doesn’t matter that she encouraged the massacre of thousands of people, she spoke at Tel Aviv gay pride after all! Littauer also proudly states that GME has “previously sponsored Arabs of neighboring countries to participate in the march” – a state-funded parade that should be boycotted according to the rules of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign against Israel, an initiative supported by queer Palestinian groups – which Littauer conveniently fails to mention. He also ignores the fact that the Tel Aviv parade happened less than a week after organizers of one of Europe’s largest pride parades in Madrid uninvited the official Israeli delegation following Israel’s deadly raid on the Freedom Flotilla aid convoy bound for the Gaza Strip. Like other pinkwashers, Littauer seems to think that Gay Israel exists in some sort of rainbow-covered gay bubble.
Go to GME’s Palestine page, and every single article is about Palestinian gays seeking refuge in Israel. Surprise surprise. GME recruits gay Arabs to report directly from the field, and they have taken to defending Littauer vigorously.
When Pinkwatching Israel questioned Littauer’s relationship with Lucas on Twitter, one of Littauer’s minions hurled insults at us and denied that Littauer was a Zionist and that GME is actually against Israeli pinkwashing (perhaps s/he has not visited the Israel and Palestine pages of the site s/he works for).
Pinkwashing works because it draws upon a discourse that posits gay identities as decontextual floating signifiers, and encourages queer folk to ignore their own multi-dimensional identities and realities in favor of aligning themselves with others who happen to have the same sexual inclinations, even when those others happen to be racist, neo-colonial fucktards. What is interesting is that GME’s reporting on Arab countries always contains some sort of political context, or at least an attempt (albeit a bit thin and naïve) to analyze LGBT events within the larger political framework. However, the same analysis is completely absent from their Israel page. Not once, for example, is the word “occupation” mentioned.
During our brief Twitter exchange, GME reprimanded us for launching an attack on Mr. Littauer instead of collaborating with him to further gay rights in the Middle East. We said it then, and we repeat it now, Pinkwatching Israel does not collaborate with zionists, even if they are gay.
Crossposted from Pinkwatching Israel.