The Israeli gay soldiers photo bugs me
The viral Israeli gay soldiers photo above really irks me. Not just because it has been revealed to be fake (it was staged by the Israeli army; the soldiers are not a couple; only one of them is gay; gay Israeli soldiers have it tough - 50% of gay Israeli soldiers suffer from ‘violence and homophobia’) but because of the reason the Israeli army set out to fake it.
Israel often trumpets its pro-gay rights record as a way of contrasting itself to its Middle Eastern Muslim neighbours. It helps Israel push the image that it is more modern, equality-driven and nicer in comparison. So, when Israel and its Muslim neighbours butt heads, the former is made out to be the good guy, the latter is not. It’s all very cynical, and this photo was part of this PR push to soften their image and endear themselves further to Western allies.
It reminds me of United States right-wingers, who had always shown contempt for feminism, using feminism to defend the Afghanistan and Iraq wars - that they care deeply about women’s rights and that’s why the United States must invade. It distorts the issues at hand. It conceals the true motivations of those in power. It is throwing a few crumbs at equality-lovers (in this case, gay rights supporters) to distract them from even greater inequalities (in this case, the treatment of Palestinians).
I hope other gay rights advocates don’t fall for this stunt. When others cloak their warmongering with our civil rights movement, it’s an outrage.