Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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.




Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Israel Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel

    Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel – Famed Jewish-American comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld is slated to make his comedic debut in Israel later this year. Seinfeld, who was born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents from the Ukraine and Syria, will perform in Tel Aviv’s Mitvtachim Menorah Arena on Dec. 19 as part of a world tour. The comedian is most known for his enormously popular NBC sitcom Seinfeld, which ran from 1989-1998 and is widely considered one of the greatest TV series of all time. […]

    Read more →
  • Food Israel New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    A new video circulating online shows eight American children reacting — mostly positively — to their first taste of the famed Israeli eggplant salad/dip, known in Hebrew as “salat hatzilim” and in other parts of the Levant as baba ganoush. The clip, created by, features the youngsters trying a variety of exotic dishes from other countries as well, such as Hawaiian poi, Colombian pork belly and Russian borscht. The Israeli delicacies served include schnitzel, slices of pita, hummus and the baba ganoush salad. “If someone […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Pioneers/Philanthropists ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit

    ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit – Forbes magazine announced Tuesday that it will host its Under 30 EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Summit in Israel for the first time in April 2016. The conference is expected to bring together some 600 young entrepreneurs, with 200 from Europe, 200 from the U.S., and 200 from Israel. The summit has been hosted in Philadelphia for the past two years. It will include presentations, speeches, a pitch competition, and cultural immersion opportunities in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →