Socialist Worker

LETTERS - Boycott shows there’s no Pride in Israeli apartheid

Issue No. 2609

Protesting in London to show solidarity with Gaza earlier this year

Protesting in London to show solidarity with Gaza earlier this year (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The streets of Tel Aviv were filled with rainbow flags alongside Israeli ones as thousands took to the streets for their 20th annual Pride march recently.

Israel has declared itself the “gay capital of the Middle East”, in an attempt to appear a tolerant and open society.

“Brand Israel” is trying to promote the country as a LGBT+ tourist hotspot.

But Palestinian LGBT+ activists have adopted the slogan “no Pride in apartheid” and organised a boycott of the parade.

They said Israel is “pinkwashing”, which means the government is adopting a LGBT+ friendly facade as a way of covering up its crimes against Palestinians. Many on the Pride march didn’t see any connection between the event and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Someone on the parade said, “We have dropped all politics for this parade, why can’t they?”

But Palestinians aren’t allowed to travel freely, and don’t have the same rights as people in Israel.

And most Palestinians are denied visas to Israel—including LGBT+ people going to Pride. So for Palestinian people, there is no option to drop the politics.

But not everyone has bought into the Israeli government’s “pinkwashing”.

At the side of the march I met a group of protesters holding placards saying, “End the occupation” in Hebrew, English and Arabic.

The move to boycott Pride in Israel is spearheaded by Arab LGBT+ activists, and is part of a BDS movement that aims to put international pressure on Israel to stop apartheid.

Last year about £29 million was made from the 3.5 million visitors to Pride. Removing this would be a significant blow to their economy.

The boycott is about solidarity with Palestinians and if Israel really cared about LGBT+ rights, it would recognise the struggle of LGBT+ Palestinians.

Let’s be clear—there is no Pride in apartheid.

Name and address supplied, South London 

Curious case of a dog on a fracking site

A guard dog “poisoned” by anti-frackers at Third Energy’s well showed no sign of poisoning, says a police report obtained through a Freedom of Information request.

The vet only kept the dog in the surgery as a precaution. So why the police investigation?

Why were two men arrested, including a 61 year old pulled off a bus?

It’s because the state will plumb any depth to discredit those who fight back, and a dog “poisoned” by campaigners is too enticing a gift to reject on the grounds of mere fact.

Anti-frackers should remember this as we debate “correct” protest behaviour following a 650-name petition by Ryedale Residents Against Anti-Social Protest.

Whether we’re fighting against fracking, for justice for Grenfell, or striking to protect pay and conditions, we’ll never be good enough for our enemies.

So our job is to defend everybody fighting back, while, or course, debating what tactics can win.

Kim Hunter, Scarborough

We can win against the cruel benefit slashers

The Tories cut my PIP disability benefits in February.

The privatised “health expert” challenged my medical diagnoses because I maintained eye contact and gesticulated with my hands.

I lost my motability car and the money I relied on for healthy ready meals and help at home.

Life has been very difficult since. Challenging the decision meant risking losing what little benefits I had left.

Last week, after 14 tortuous weeks of waiting, I opened the envelope and learned that my benefits will be restored and back paid.

I am over the moon.

We can’t give up. Each individual needs solidarity and support to fight their corner in the big battle for the welfare state.

Nicola Field, South London

In defence of heckling

The Norwich Tory North MP, Chloe Smith tried to prosecute me for heckling her. I am pleased to say this completely backfired and was highlighted on many websites and media outlets. The case was then dropped.

I suffer from stress and anxiety and this fiasco had a detrimental effect on my health.

But I’ve received tremendous support from Disabled People Against Cuts and many other people for which I am extremely grateful.

Mick Hardy, Norwich

South Korea credit is due

I was surprised that the editorial about the Korea “peace deal” (Socialist Worker, 13 July) made no mention of the role of the South Korean working class in creating the conditions for progress.

There are shortcomings of the Singapore summit, and Donald Trump has cynical motives.

But the deal could not have come about without the mass anti-corruption movement in 2016-17 which brought down right wing South Korean president Park Geun-hye.

The movement was dominated by the labour and trade union movement.

It led to a centre left government which has reversed the hawkish approach to North Korea. If anyone deserves credit for moves towards peace on the Korean peninsula, it is the South Korean working class.

Mark Brown, Glasgow

Unions should fight for more

On reading that health workers have accepted a below inflation pay deal (Socialist Worker, 13 June), I thought, what is wrong with the union leaders?

Too much money at the top and they forget who put them there.

The unions fought tooth and nail in the past. And now the national officers give up and return everything. For god’s sake, wake up.

Ian Connon, on Facebook

An eye for stereotypes

Are you a gay man failing to live up to stereotypes of yourself as a fashionable socialite?

Well fear not, the Guardian newspaper is here to help.

Editors got Owen Jones to write an article called “straight eye for the queer guy” because he’s been voted one of Britain’s worst dressed men.

This dubious accolade is presented as 100 times more embarrassing because Jones is gay.

Because if there’s one thing LGBT+ people need in 2018, it’s straight people helping us live up to stereotypes more successfully.

Bethan Turner, East London

Freedom for Palestine

The Palestinian yacht Freedom recently called in at Brighton Marina for five days.

It took a message of hope and solidarity from the people of Sussex to the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The vessel was given a tremendous send off. Speakers called on the British government to end its support for the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Steve Guy, Brighton

Labour needs to shape up

Labour is failing because it hasn’t adapted.

It also lacks a straight forward message like in the days of Keir Hardie and the infighting strengthens the right.

Peter Morgan, on Facebook

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