Late last month the Gay Liberation Network and others took the Legacy Project to task for sponsoring a forum at the Center on Halsted meant to excuse and obfuscate the deadly oppression of Palestinians by the Israeli government. That exchange can be viewed here.
The last few days’ brutal murder of at least 18 Palestinians protesting their virtual imprisonment and blockade in ravaged Gaza Strip have only made this propaganda for the Israeli government that much more deplorable.
An exchange of letters on the topic with the Legacy Project’s Victor Salvo took place in the Windy City Times here. GLN’s Roger Fraser responds in kind below:
“It is all well and good that there are Israeli Jewish LGBTQs who are reaching out to Muslims and Christians. But it is wrong to employ these good deeds to help ‘pinkwash’ the daily atrocities and humiliations the Israeli government commits against Palestinians” —Bob Schwartz.
Not once in his response does Victor Salvo address GLN’s charge of pinkwashing at his upcoming forum, either to challenge the concept itself or to defend his forum against it.
And this is what makes his response so slippery and disingenuous: He’s convinced, in his own mind, that there’s nothing wrong with separating the wider issue (about which he is silent) of political oppression against Palestinians in Israel—including Palestinian LGBTQs—from a celebration of a group of Jewish LGBTQs in Israel calling for interfaith unity. The closest he comes to touching this hot issue of Palestinian oppression is to call the Middle East “a very troubled part of the world.” But why is it so troubled, Victor? Might it have something to do with Israel and the Palestinians?
Posing at his urbane forum on the 26th as someone discussing interesting “questions” that are “difficult to ask and answer” while engaging in polite “conversations” the foregoing of which “miss[es] the opportunity to learn anything new,” Victor Salvo—cloaked in the mantle of courage and tolerance—will be guilty of pinkwashing at its most cynical. For his forum, we can assure you, will be absent—both on the panel and in the audience—the very people who would otherwise have given it point and urgency—oppressed Palestinians advocating their cause.
It will be like having a forum on immigration without immigrants; poverty without the poor; racism without blacks; misogyny without women.