At this year's 2012 Equality Forum on advancing the rights of international LGTBQ communities, the "featured nation," Israel, will pinkwash itself, exploiting Tel Aviv's gay culture in order to make conference goers into hasbara-ites. Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren and drag performer Osher Sabag will take the lead in molding a new crop of "cheerleaders for Israel," with Oren as the summit's keynote speakers.
"Since 2000 Shin Bet, the Israeli security service, has had a policy of blackmailing Palestinians who are gay or who are perceived to be gay and threatening to out them unless they become informants against their own people," said professor Katherine Franke in a statement of boycott against the summit. "For this reason, gay people in Palestine have a reputation as collaborators with Israel – so some of the homophobia gays and lesbians in Palestine experience is the direct product of the occupation itself."
Franke had originally agreed to speak on a panel at this year's conference, however, after Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions called for a boycott, she removed herself from the event. Instead, she produced the above video short, which was played at the summit. Franke was also part of the first LGBTQ delegation to Palestine, visiting the region earlier this year.
"It's one thing to express our solidarity with gays and lesbians in another country such as Israel, it's quite another to become pawns in that country's foreign policy strategy," said Franke.
Read the full transcript of Franke's video statement.