We've seen planes painted like Star Wars characters and thought they were pretty neat. If you can celebrate a science fiction series with a paint job, why not a rainbow plane to celebrate Pride? Because, to boil it all down, most in Israel think the idea of the rainbow plane is a joke and a true representation of the Israeli National Government trying to make money off of gay tourism and accuse the government of "pinkwashing." Liam Hoare from Forward.com explains.
I confess when I first saw the simulated image of an airplane bedecked in the colors of the rainbow flag, ostensibly on its way to Tel Aviv Pride, I thought it was some sort of joke.
Yet it really was the Israeli government’s intent, as part of an 11 million shekel ($2.9 million) advertising blitz, to “set up an international competition whose winners will be flown to Israel in a plane specially painted in gay pride colors,” Ha’aretz reported. While Israel has in recent years actively promoted itself as a gay tourist destination, the idea of blowing millions of shekels rainbow high on a plane dressed up in magical colors would have been something else entirely.
The backlash to this eccentric idea—which has caused the government to back down—first came from the LGBT community. Activist Netanel Azulay said LGBT people in Israel shouldn’t “allow the government to profit at its expense.” They “won’t allow the government to use it and lie to everyone that LGBTQ people have it good here.” Community leaders have insinuated that Tel Aviv Pride, scheduled for June 3, could become a protest event this year—in contrast to the party atmosphere the Tourism Ministry seeks to project in its overseas promotion.
Israel’s gay community has every right to be outraged. LGBT organizations receive but 1.5 million shekels ($400,000) a year from the state, a fraction of the budget proposed for Israel’s rainbow tour. After the murder of Shira Banki at Jerusalem Pride last year, Education Minister Naftali Bennett boldly promised to double the budget for Israel Gay Youth (IGY), which provides educational and social programming for LGBT youth. Gal Uchovsky, IGY’s president, said that the budget increase they actually received “wasn’t even close” to Bennett’s pledge.
Those within the community whom have long condemned the government’s prioritization of gay tourism labeled the rainbow plane an example of ‘pinkwashing’. “The gap between the painted plane and recent Knesset votes nixing LGBT rights bills, as well as between the budget LGBT groups receive and the budget for gay tourism,” Aeyal Gross wrote, “shows that the state has commandeered the gay community and its less-than-full rights for public-diplomacy purposes.”
Gross has often stated the Israeli government is in the practice of pinkwashing: in this case, the use of Tel Aviv Pride as a promotional tool to conceal that, behind the posters, everything isn’t quite as it seems for LGBT people in Israel. Especially interesting about the rejection of the rainbow tour idea, though, is how politicians on the left and center, even if they didn’t use the word pinkwashing (though some did), characterized and opposed the government’s daft proposal using the basic pinkwashing critique.
The Meretz lawmaker Tamar Zandberg called the government ‘homophobic’ and said, “I am proud to see the LGBTQ community refusing to be a pawn in the hands of this government and demanding the justice and equal rights it deserves.” Her colleague Michal Rozin said the government must “understand that the gay community is sick of being the red carpet of the Prime Minister to the White House and the international community.” The Zionist Union’s Merav Michaeli condemned the plane as a ‘gimmick,’ adding, “Painting all aircraft in the colors of Pride could not hide the shame of this government.”
Tzipi Livni sarcastically asked if the rainbow plane was going to be used to fly gay couples overseas in order to get married, given the last government of which she was a member voted down her proposal for civil unions. Livni said—“as someone who has supported the gay community for more than twenty years”—that the government could not use Pride as part of a branding exercise “without showing an ounce of willingness to promote full equality in Israel. The gay community are our natural partners, not just when you need them, but all year round.” – Forward.com
For Liam Hoare's full story, go over to Forward.com
Do you see governments here in the United States, or where you live, trying to profit from Pride?
Do communities where you live practice "pinkwashing?" (the use of Pride as a promotional tool to conceal that, behind the posters, everything isn’t quite as it seems for LGBT people)
It's too bad, I wanted to see a rainbow plane, but I guess I will have to settle for R2D2. At least there's no hidden agenda behind R2, just plans for the Death Star and where we can find Luke Skywalker.
But many in Tel Aviv are thinking that they should take their toys and go home, not have a parade, not have a Pride, if the Israeli State likes the gay tourists' money more than assisting hometown LGBTers in leading a safe and equal life.
In protest over the wide gap between the resources allocated to attract gay tourists to the country and the limited support for local LGBTQ organizations, members of Israel's gay community are calling to cancel this year's Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade.
The Tourism Ministry's announcement caused outrage in the gay community. In a popular Facebook post, gay activist Netanel Azulay asked of the community to unite and announce that "it would not allow the government to profit at its expense and won't allow the government to use it and lie to everyone that LGBTQ people have it good here.
"Once and for all we're setting conditions and fighting for what we really deserve: If there won't be fully equal rights here then there won't be profitable gay tourism," he wrote.
The Tel Aviv municipality, which organizes the parade, clarified that it will take place as scheduled on June 3, and will mark the empowerment of women in the LGBTQ community. The municipality estimated that 180,000 people will take part in the parade, among them 30,000 tourists. – haaretz.com
Which is the best course of action. Should Tel Aviv Pride planners roll up the rainbow carpet and say no to the government profiting off of their celebration?