Protest Down Under is upside down

A View from Down Under: At demonstrations in New Zealand, human rights campaigners accuse Israeli gay rights activists of 'pinkwashing'.

March 16, 2014 15:50
2 minute read.
Marching by the Knesset for Jerusalem's Gay Pride parade, August 1, 2013.

Gay Pride parade Jerusalem 2013. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement has, in many ways, legitimized anti-Semitism by masquerading as criticism against Israeli policies. It has become an acceptable talking point in many societies, so much so that some governments have even adopted their arguments and blindly followed the BDS’s direction. However, while the BDS tries to portray itself as a movement seeking human rights, its real more sinister purpose often shines through. New Zealand was the scene of two recent protests that highlighted this very fact.

In Auckland, a gay parade was being held through the streets of the city. In that parade was a float, sponsored by the Israeli embassy. As the parade commenced, a group of protesters broke through the barricade, carrying placards and demonstrating against ‘Israeli apartheid’. They went on to accuse Israel of 'pinkwashing' their human rights record, in order to distract from its violation of Palestinian human rights.  
The reality that a gay or lesbian person can live their life any way they want without discrimination in Israel, is an extremely inconvenient fact for them.  Yet, the absurdity of this is that the protesters who protest in the name of ‘human rights’ attended a gay parade and protested against Israel – the only country in the Middle East that actually has human rights for gay and lesbian people.

In addition to the protest in Auckland, another protest was taking place in Wellington, led by John Minto, an enthusiastic supporter of the BDS movement who has led countless protests against Israel – including picketing outside the ASB tennis tournament every time Shahar Peer appears. This time, the protest was against the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company who were performing there. When confronted by a counter demonstration from the local Jewish community along with Christian friends, he stated that he was happy the counter protesters were there, as the debate needed to be had in public. What John Minto failed to mention is that anytime an Israeli attends New Zealand in any official capacity, he would be the first one at the door protesting!

In summary, we have ‘human rights’ campaigners, protesting against Israel’s human rights for gay people.  And we also have an anti-Israel protester calling for public debates, as long as no opposing view to his own is displayed.

It all makes sense, doesn't it?  Then again, we do drive on the wrong side of the road.

Justin Amler is a South African born, Melbourne based writer who has lived in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia and is currently working in the Information Technology industry. He is an avid contributor to discussions on Israel, writing frequently to local newspapers. He has a keen interest in politics and creative writing.

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