Activism and BDS Beat 25 July 2017
The video above shows the activists unfurling a Palestinian flag and a banner that reads “No Pride in Israeli Apartheid” from the top of the Victory Column – a signature monument and tourist attraction in the city.
It also shows a counter-protester at Saturday’s march assaulting activists and forcibly pulling down a banner protesting Israel’s efforts to pinkwash 50 years of Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“The action comes as a response to a number of pride-related events held in the city over the last week in which the Israeli state has had a disproportionate presence,” the activist group Berlin Against Pinkwashing said in a press release. “The group recognizes this as the apartheid state’s attempt to promote an image of Israel that ignores its war crimes and human rights abuses in Gaza and the West Bank.”
Activists protested those events too, with posters and graffiti in other parts of the city.
Pinkwashing is the public relations strategy that deploys Israel’s supposed enlightenment toward LGBTQ issues to deflect criticism from its human rights abuses.
It often involves gross exaggerations of Israel’s progressive policies, accompanied by outright lies about Palestinians.
A recent example was the national US tour of Israel’s “first trans officer” which aimed to present the Israeli army in a favorable light to LGBTQ – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer – communities, neglecting to mention the officer’s role in Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Bedouins.
“Despite this PR campaign, we know that queer Palestinians are daily subjected to discriminatory and racist policies. This undermines any notion that Israel is LGBT friendly. We are not fooled, and that’s why we are here today,” Alice Rodgers, an activist with Berlin Against Pinkwashing, stated.
“I’m saddened that the Christopher Street Day parade, a parade that was born out of a need to resist persecution, has been hijacked in this way,” Margot Goldstein, also of Berlin Against Pinkwashing, said. “Israel is guilty of some of the most horrendous human rights violations, and we will not allow our parade to be used to distract from that.”
Beaten with Israeli flag
In 2015, activists heckled a speech on Christopher Street Day – as Berlin’s pride event is called – by Israeli ambassador Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, protesting Israel’s attack on Gaza the year before. Hadas-Handelsman hastily wrapped up his talk.
Last year, activists also peacefully protested a speech by Hadas-Handelsman but according to Berlin Against Pinkwashing they were “subsequently attacked by a small pro-Israeli group, which included a member of the Berlin Senate, Oliver Höffinghoff.”
A video from the 2016 parade shows one counter-protester attacking the activists using a stick with an Israeli flag attached to it.