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1 sliv_the_eli  Wed, Nov 23, 2011 8:00:44am

One can always count on the NY Times to spin as mere propaganda the reality that the GLBT community is freer and has greater rights in Israel than anywhere else in the Middle East.

As for who is engaging in propaganda, here is a look at information from the Web sites of the three groups described by the NYT as “three major organizations” of “an emerging Palestinian gay movement”:

1. Aswat describes itself as a group that “consists of 20 women so far.” [[Link:…] Now any grassroots movement in the Arab world promoting the civil rights of the GLBT community is a positive development, but the last time I heard a group of 20 members described as a “major organization” it was by a bunch of self-important college students. Moreover, according to Aswat’s Web site:

Most of Aswat members are “closeted” to some extent. Consequently, only one or two members can go public and identify themselves as Aswat members in our activities involving a certain amount of exposure.

Despite the NYT’s attempt to “pinkwash” the issue, Aswat acknowledges that even today the vast majority of its members cannot openly acknowledge their sexuality. Is the NY Times prepared to say the same of Israel, as well? I doubt it, at least if one reads the Web site of the second “major organization” cited by the gray lady:

2. Al Qaws: Here is what this organization states on its Web site:

Al-Qaws doubled, since 2007, its local groups from two groups in Yaffa and Haifa to include two additional groups in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Yaffa and Haifa, last I checked, were cities in Israel. So, in an article that seeks to tarnish Israel’s reputation among the LGBT community, the NY Times cites an organization that was formed and that, until 2007, had its only groups in Israel.
BTW, what is the focus of this group? Not gay rights, if one judges by its press releases. A look at the press release page on its Web site reveals that every one of the six press releases posted [[Link:…] had nothing to do with promoting gay rights, but, rather, promoted the BDS movement against Israel. Incidentally, Al-Qaws’ press release objecting to the Out in Israel festival held in the Bay Area in April 2010 was issued jointly with Aswat. (See above)

3. Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions: OK, I know. The very name of the organization suggests that it is not a Palestinian gay rights organization so much as an anti-Israel propaganda group. But maybe the NYT was right to describe the group as the former? (After all, a broken clock….). Here is what PQBDS states on its linked page:

Palestinian Queers for BDS (PQBDS) is a group of Palestinian queer activists … who came together to promote and stand for the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, that was launched in July 2005. As an integral part of Palestinian society we believe that the struggle for sexual and gender diversity is interconnected with the Palestinian struggle for freedom.

So, PQBDS self-describes as a group formed to engage in propaganda by claiming that the “Palestinian struggle for freedom” is a proxy for the struggle for sexual and gender diversity. You know, exactly what the NYT accuses Israel of doing.
BTW, lest anyone think that this is a moderate group opposed to the post-1967 “occupation”, continue reading:

our main struggle is one against Israel’s colonization, occupation and apartheid; a system that has oppressed us for the past 63 years.

Got that? PQBDS was formed to opposed Israel’s “colonization, occupation and apartheid” that began in 1948, not 1967.

Now, someone remind me who is engaged in propaganda? And why anyone should trust the NY Times?

2 Flavia  Wed, Nov 23, 2011 11:38:17pm

Sounds like Deborah Orr, the English reporter who insisted that Israel’s agreeing to trade 1,000 prisoners for Gilad Schalit was “racism” on Israel’s part! We used to talk about “Bush Derangement Syndrome”, but this sort of crap is definitely “Israel Derangement Syndrome”!!

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