Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Israel: A Free Holiday in Other Peoples' Misery

Benjamin Cohen is the founding publisher of Pink News.
He rarely writes for the site now, but this week filed a "travel" piece; "Tel Aviv - Bursting With Pride".
"Four nights in Tel Aviv, for the city’s LGBT pride celebrations has changed me in a way no holiday ever has before," Cohen gushes. "My attitudes and perceptions of Israel have changed dramatically and it’s also changed the way that I reconcile my sexuality with my religion..."
Cohen lovingly describes Tel Aviv's restaurants and gay bars, its nightclubs, a beach party and of course the Pride parade.
The political situation - meaning the tragedy of Palestine - is briefly mentioned, then disregarded as an irrelevance; "For all that you might disagree with that Israel does in regards to the peace process, it has an enviable record on gay rights and it's described by many as an oasis of tolerance and acceptance in a region of virulent homophobia that unfortunately still involves the execution of gays including teenagers" (sic).
Meaning that Israel treats Israeli lesbians and gay men okay, so who cares what it does to the Palestinians.
This process has been dubbed "Pinkwash".
Cohen admits elsewhere he was one of a number of journalists "the Israeli government has invited" - and this is the line and the lie that the Israeli thug state was hoping its guests would spin.
There is no such thing as a free holiday.
Here are some words that didn't feature in Benjamin Cohen's article; arabs, flotilla, Gaza, massacre, occupation, Palestinian, Palestinians, West Bank.
The word "arab" appears twice; describing Jaffa as Tel Aviv's "arab neighbour".
"Palestine" is mentioned once - it "was the first place that the Jewish immigrations to what was then Palestine saw when they began to move to the region from Europe in 19th century." (Emphasis added).
It is acknowledged that Israel is a military state, maintained by a conscription army, but only cause some of those Israeli Defence Force boys are so hot; "I was probably one of just a handful of men at the club who kept their shirt on all night- it’s quite hard to compete with the buffed up bodies of Israeli gays fresh from three years in the army!"
But Benjamin Cohen was enjoying a holiday - why ruin it with mentioning how the Israeli government he was a guest of is responsible for so many other people's misery?
Why indeed?
Apart from a companion piece dated June 11th, 'Tel Aviv Pride Kicks Off', Cohen has written only two other pieces for Pink News in 2010.
The last article he wrote in 2009 was titled; "Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw criticised for Sri Lankan holiday."
Cohen quotes James Ross from Human Rights Watch who said "the minister should publicly condemn President Mahinda Rajapaksa's clampdown on Tamils."
Ross urged Ben Bradshaw to "travel around, all over the country, and then publicly express his disapproval of the fact that there are still tens of thousands of Sri Lankans who cannot do the same thing because they are being held in detention centres."
Perhaps then Benjamin Cohen should also have travelled all over Israel/Palestine, to the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, and then publicly expressed his disapproval of the fact that there are over 6 million Palestinians currently living as refugees.
Just a thought...

No comments:

Post a Comment