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ADL, LGBT Group Slam CUNY for Sponsorship of Anti-Israel ‘Pinkwashing’ Conference

June 13, 2012 11:24 am 5 comments

Street in Tel Aviv prepared for gay pride week and the city's gay pride parade. Photo:

The Anti-Defamation League and a Jewish LGBT group have blasted a conference being planned by the The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at City University of New York that intends to accuse Israel of using their strong record on gay rights to detract from the “oppression of Palestinians.”

“This conference is not an academic exercise designed to promote and encourage different points of view on LGBT issues; it is simply a venue to criticize Israel for the most absurd reasons,” Abraham Foxman, the national director of the ADL told The Algemeiner. “The academic community should find the conference abhorrent, because it disregards the key aspects faced by the LGBT community which is global repression in many other countries.”

“The conference smacks of an effort to discredit Israel,” Foxman said.

The “Homonationalism and Pinkwashing” conference, scheduled for April of 2013, will examine what its planners claim is a concerted effort by Israel to market its positive relationship with the gay community to detract from the “oppression of Palestinians”.

The Graduate Center at CUNY defended its hosting of the conference saying it is supportive of providing a platform for students to discuss issues from different perspectives.

“As a diverse and intellectually robust institution, the Graduate Center embraces the academic tradition of providing a forum for discussion across the spectrum of ideas and points of view,” Jane Trombley, Executive Director for Communications at CUNY’s Graduate Center said in an email to The Algemeiner. “With the proposed conference sponsored by The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) still 8-9 months out, it is too early to comment on any specifics concerning the event.”

Foxman called CUNY’s co-sponsorship “inappropriate and abhorrent”. “We will reach out and try to convince them not to sponsor the conference,” he said.

Gay, lesbian, and transgender rights in Israel have been championed by the LGBT community for years now, including Tel Aviv being named the “Best Gay City of 2011″ in an American Airlines competition that polled LGBT tourists on their favorite destinations.

Jayson Littman, who leads the organization HE’BRO – a promoter of gay Jewish events throughout New York City -, says a group of LGBT academics who traveled to the Palestinian territories and a New York Times op-ed from late 2011 are the driving forces behind the conference.

“The main reason why everything is happening now is because there was a group of academics who went to the Palestinian territories in January, and those 15 queer academics have toured around the country since then, promoting the idea of Palestinian suffrage,” Littman told The Algemeiner. “That, and the New York Times article from last year.”

Littman is referring to an op-ed written by Sara Schulman, who will reportedly be taking part in CLAGS’ conference, in which she writes that the progress made by gay rights activism is being co-opted by Western European governments, as well as Israel.

“After generations of sacrifice and organization, gay people in parts of the world have won protection from discrimination and relationship recognition. But these changes have given rise to a nefarious phenomenon: the co-opting of white gay people by anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim political forces in Western Europe and Israel,” she wrote in November of 2011.

“I went to a forum of these American academics,” Littman told The Algemeiner, “and one of them told the crowd they were instructed ‘not to come out as gay’ to their Palestinian hosts because they wouldn’t be okay with it. This is where the real pinkwashing is happening.”

Last week, CUNY Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld called the conference “disgusting” in an interview with The Algemeiner.

CLAGS has not returned numerous requests for comment made by The Algemeiner.


  • The rainbow was the first covenant *Genesis 9:13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. (Noah was building the Bible, with stories as an ark *Genesis 6:16). Notice, the ark of God was taken, *1st Samuel 4:22. Man broke the first covenant with God! (Ezekiel 17:19). *Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. (The new covenant is Hebrews 8:10) The new covenant is (Jeremiah 31:33) *Reading Hebrews 8:9 & Jeremiah 31:32 is the new convenant for the Jews of the Bible! Remember, the heart of man is wicked (Ezekiel 11:17)

  • Jill Schaeffer

    The whole point – if it still is not clear – is to discredit Israel’s concern for human rights – regardless. Polarization is the name of the game, and The United States and Israel are anti-human rights. But good folks, like Assad, certainly are for human rights, if not for LGBT type persons who I guess are not human so don’t qualify. Palestinians don’t like LGBT people, sorry, creatures, either.

    Anyway, the Conference is insane as well as disgusting.

  • bs”d

    It is interesting that the LGBT group uses the rainbow as their symbol. Actually the Flood occurred because the populations on earth at that time, were having unnatural relationships where different species were mating unnaturally. G-d found it necessary to destroy the world.

    The rainbow is G-d’s promise that even when the world is undeserving as they were in the time of the deluge he will not bring another Mabul. The rainbow was G-d’s sign. The rainbow is therefore a sad reminder to us to shape up. It should not be used as a symbol of pride of relationships that bear no fruit.




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