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Gays debate 'pinkwashing' as N.Y. center reverses ban on Israel-related events
Lesbian Jewish scholar Sarah Schulman, who was ultimately allowed to speak at event, argues that Israel exploits its progressive attitude toward gay men and lesbians to mask oppression of Palestinians.
Days after barring a talk by gay scholar Sarah Schulman about her new book that criticizes Israel, a leading New York gay community center effectively reversed its decision amid heavy protest and allowed the event to go forward.
Prominent gay elected officials, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, applauded The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center’s decision to lift a two-year moratorium on leasing space for events related to Israel, a ban that was originally aimed at preventing anti-Israeli events.
But the officials condemned Israel critics’ “pinkwashing” theory, which holds that Israel exploits its progressive attitude toward gay men and lesbians to mask oppression of Palestinians.
The growing cachet of the pinkwashing theory, of which Schulman is a leading promoter, has some gay leaders and Jewish communal advocates worried. Of particular concern to these officials is an academic conference on the topic, scheduled for April at the City University of New York and organized by Schulman.