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[Webinar] Beyond Propaganda: Reorienting Anti-Pinwashing Organizing

In this community conversation between alQaws and Adalah Justice Project, on the occasion of alQaws’ launch of a new resource on pinkwashing, we’ll be discussing the work of the Palestinian queer movement, how to reorient our understanding of pinkwashing, and the future of collective organizing towards the free Palestine we dream.

Over a decade ago, activists adopted the term “pinkwashing” to describe the Israeli propaganda tactic of ‘washing away’ the oppression of Palestinians by painting Israel as a gay-friendly and liberal state. Israeli pinkwashing tries to win the hearts and minds of international audiences and prevent solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, so the early years of anti-pinkwashing activism focused on fighting against Israeli state propaganda with campaigns, protests, and academic forums. Activists worked to expose the contradiction at the heart of pinkwashing: it’s impossible for a violent colonial regime to also be a “progressive” state.

Yet the roots of pinkwashing go much deeper than Israeli “gay tourism” marketing. Working within their local communities, queer Palestinian activists came to understand that pinkwashing doesn’t just cover up colonial violence: it is, in fact, a form of colonial violence. By promoting racist narratives and colonial prejudices that are internalized within Palestinian communities, pinkwashing affects queer and trans Palestinians personally and psychologically. Colonialism’s sexual and gender politics—like its racial and ethnic hierarchies—contribute to the broader fragmentation and disempowerment of Palestinians. The fight against pinkwashing must therefore begin from the root, by placing pinkwashing within its broader settler-colonial context and incorporating the experiences and lessons of grassroots Palestinian queer organizing.

During the 2020 alQaws Fellowship, titled “Palestine Through the Lens of Queer Politics,” alQaws worked over the summer to develop an accessible anti-pinkwashing resource for diaspora-based Palestinian organizers and solidarity activists. This new document explains the trajectory of alQaws’ work over the years, reframes the analysis of pinkwashing, and emphasizes that anti-colonial struggle is an integral part of Palestinian queer liberation. The new resource will be released on Monday, Oct. 19, and this event will be dedicated to starting a conversion about new approaches to pinkwashing, queer feminist analysis, and comprehensive liberation. 

The webinar will start at 1PM ET / 10AM PT on Thursday October 22nd. Click here to register in advance.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.