Does Israel “Pinkwash?”

Sarah Schulman claims [NYT] that Israel uses its record on gay rights to obscure the violence of the occupation. Jamie Kirchick is apoplectic:

Though Schulman claims that, “pinkwashing … manipulates the hard-won gains of Israel’s gay community” it is Schulman who renders these gains meaningless. According to her, the victories of gay-rights advocates in Israel do not exist in and of themselves, but are cogs in a grand propaganda machine to legitimize occupation and oppression. The effort to create a more open and inclusive Israeli society is merely part of a broader PR campaign—undertaken, ironically enough, by the same right-wing forces who recommended I see a psychiatrist to cure me of my homosexuality—to fool credulous Western liberals into believing that Israel is something it’s not.

Schulman is a hardcore gay leftist, and her argument is as preposterous as Jamie notes. It is a fact that Israel is immeasurably, stupendously more tolerant of gays than any of its neighbors, including the Palestinians. Israel can and should be criticized for many things, but this surely isn’t one of them. What you see in Schulman’s ideology is actually a distrust of gay advancement if it isn’t simultaneously part of some grander leftist ideological agenda, and subordinate to it. Hence the gay left’s historic opposition to marriage equality and military service and their reluctance to accept that AIDS has gone from a plague to a disease in the mid-1990s for the affluent West.

No good news to deter comrades from the struggle! What an exhausted, useless, remote volcano the gay hard left now is.