Celebrating the Truth About Jerusalem and Lie Behind ‘Pinkwashing’
Two Israeli celebrations in recent days underscore the uniqueness and heroism of the Jewish state, while highlighting the concerted effort on the part of its enemies to undermine and delegitimize it.
The first was Gay Pride Week, which culminated in a massive parade in Tel Aviv. The second was the anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem, capped off by a flag march through the streets of the Old City.
Though unrelated in content and focus, what these annual events have in common is their misrepresentation by ill-wishers.
Let’s begin with what Israel’s detractors concocted to counter the consensus, revealed in numerous tourist and other surveys, that Tel Aviv is among the most LGBT-friendly cities in the world. Coming up with the clever catch-phrase “pinkwashing,” left-wing activists accuse Israel of flaunting its gay-rights record so as to obfuscate its abuse of the Palestinians, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Never mind that such Palestinians sneak into Israel, where they can be free to be who they are without fear of rejection or slaughter for their sexual preferences. All one has to do to cast aspersion on the Jewish state is spread lies. It’s an effective propaganda tool, which works like a charm — though in this case, the fun that is had by all during Pride Week appears to trump the mud-slinging.
When it comes to marking the reunification of Israel’s capital 49 years ago, the lies are even more pronounced, as they have had many more years to take hold in the hearts and minds of people who don’t know any better, not to mention many whose motives are impure.
Contrary to widespread belief, the Six-Day War was not the event that created what has come to be called the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, it was a pan-Arab attempt, through a three-front battle, to annihilate the Jewish state, which had been established 19 years earlier. And Jerusalem was liberated by Israel from Jordanian occupation.
A brief review of the days leading up to the war is illustrative.
On May 15, 1967, the Egyptian army issued a battle order and moved a division through the streets of Cairo. Israel reacted by dispatching troops to the Sinai desert and conveying a message to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser that this was a defensive, not offensive, response. “Israel wants to make it clear to the government of Egypt that it has no aggressive intentions whatsoever against any Arab state at all,” said Prime Minister Levi Eshkol.
On May 22, Syrian President Dr. Nureddin al-Attasi gave his troops a pep talk in which he said, “We want a full-scale, popular war of liberation … to destroy the Zionist enemy.”
On May 23, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran, severing Israel’s only supply route with Asia and stopping the flow of oil from Iran.
On May 28, Nasser held a press conference, in which he asserted: “We will not accept any … coexistence with Israel. … The war with Israel has been in effect since 1948.”
On May 30, Jordan signed a defense treaty with Egypt (then called the United Arab Republic) — and by extension, with Syria — placing Jordanian forces under Egyptian command.
On June 1, Iraqi President Abdel Rahman Aref gave a radio address in which he encouraged the demolition of Israel: “This is the day of the battle to avenge our martyred brethren who fell in 1948. … We shall, God willing, meet in Tel Aviv and Haifa.”
By June 5, the day that Israel launched a surprise attack on Egypt’s air force, there were Egyptian divisions deployed along Israel’s southern border, tens of thousands of Jordanian soldiers and Iraqi forces stationed along Israel’s eastern border, and tens of thousands of Syrian troops along Israel’s northern border. Hundreds of Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi planes were prepped and ready.
Following the attack, Israel sent a message to King Hussein of Jordan, promising not to attack the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) if he would stay out of the conflict. But the king ignored the plea. He was emboldened by false information he had received from Egypt. Rather than admitting that Israel had basically wiped out the Egyptian air force, Nasser boasted that it was he who was emerging victorious.
Buoyed by this lie — the purpose of which was to save Arab face — Jordan went on a rampage. It shelled Tel Aviv suburbs and the Ramat David military airfield; attacked Netanya and Kfar Saba from the air; sent mortars flying all over west Jerusalem, hitting targets such as Hadassah hospital, the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion, the Knesset and the Prime Minister’s Office.
It was only then that Israel had no choice but to retaliate, precisely what it had wanted to avoid. In this respect, Israel has King Hussein to thank for the reunification of its capital.
On June 7, Dayan issued the following statement: “This morning, the Israel Defense Forces liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again. To our Arab neighbors we extend … our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights. We did not come to Jerusalem for the sake of other peoples’ holy places, and not to interfere with the adherents of other faiths, but in order to safeguard its entirety, and to live there together with others, in unity.”
Though the war wasn’t even over yet, Israel’s first concern was “extending our hand in peace.” And despite incessant declarations of hostility from the Arabs, both in the liberated territories (the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria) and elsewhere, Israel has lived by this credo, often at its own peril. And it is this prevailing liberal-democratic attitude that has allowed for Israel to hold the happiest gay-pride rallies.
This is not a case of pinkwashing. It is simply the truth in black and white.
Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.