Activists accuse Israel of ‘pinkwashing’ to attract tourists while neglecting LGBT groups

Israeli Pride tel aviv

The Israeli Government has been accused of ‘pinkwashing’ to attract tourists, while neglecting LGBT groups.

Tel Aviv held its pride parade last week and spent $2.86m on advertising to attract tourists from around Europe to attend the event.

LGBT campaigners criticised this move stating that the sum was 10 times the annual amount spent on LGBT associations.

Imri Kalman, co-chair of Aguda, Israel’s largest campaign organisation for LGBT rights said: “Spending 1.5 million shekels to paint a rainbow on a plane full of tourists, that’s ridiculous.

“We finally understood the hypocrisy of this Government and this Prime Minister, who boasts in English abroad about the freedom enjoyed by homosexuals in Israel but never utter the words in Hebrew when he gets home.”

After campaigners threatened to cancel the annual parade, the finance ministry agreed it would give 11 million shekels (the amount spent on publicity to tourists) to LGBT groups over the next three years.

Although Israel is considered one of the more progressive countries in the Middle East, tolerance for LGBT people has shrunk to a small area surrounding Tel Aviv. Last year, a 16-year-old girl was stabbed to death by an ultra Orthodox man in Jerusalem’s Pride parade.

Although, same-sex marriage can not be performed in the country, but Israel does recognise civil unions and same-sex marriages if couples are married in a different country.

The army also allow gay and transgender soldiers to serve openly.

Canada’s Jason Kenny was accused of ‘pinkwashing’ in 2012. The Citizenship and Immigration Officer sent out an email to thousands of Canadians about LGBT refugees in Iran. The move was criticised for trying to paint an LGBT picture over war with Iran that Conservative ministers were encouraging.

Celebrities such as Lea Delaria attended the LGBT celebration in the capital.

A recent poll in Israel revealed the 76% of Israeli’s support same sex marriage in the country.