The 'Pinkwashing' Scandal, Cont'd

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James Kirchick takes apart what might be the most absurd and disingenuous op-ed to appear in the pages of The New York Times since Muammar Qaddafi's column calling for the dismantlement of Israel and its replacement by a country he named "Isratine." The column by the pro-scapegoating activist Sarah Schulman, accused Israel of covering-up its record on Palestinian human rights by touting its record on gay rights. The absurdities and hypocrisies of the column were abundant, and Kirchick has an easy time of it:

The first fallacy of the pinkwashing meme is that it's a non sequitur. No one is saying that Israel ought to be immune from criticism because it treats gay people humanely. Israel's stellar record on gay rights does not prevent anyone from condemning the country's settlement policies, its proposed ban on foreign funding of NGOs, or its lackluster effort to integrate Arab Israelis--issues that Israeli gay activists, many of them leftists, would gladly join Schulman in denouncing. But none of these failings renders Israel's record on gay rights any less impressive, nor does touting that record constitute a covert method of justifying the occupation or racism against Arab citizens.

Schulman seems incapable of such discernment. "Increasing gay rights have caused some people of good will to mistakenly judge how advanced a country is by how it responds to homosexuality," she wrote in the op-ed. While it would be foolish to judge a country's "advancement" solely on the rights of gays, it is a telling standard. The protection of minorities is a bedrock principle of any liberal society, and it is an indisputable fact that sexual, racial, and religious minorities are better off in Israel than they are anywhere else in the region. 

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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