While the International Tourism Fair in Berlin (ITB) claims to have an ethical commitment towards promoting socially responsible tourism, it is a disgrace that they fail to see the contradiction between that responsibility and hosting “Tel Aviv Gay Vibe” an Israeli government led campaign to promote gay tourism to the city of Tel Aviv.
While Israel continues its illegal occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, and continues its discrimination against Palestinians in Israel, imposition of an inhumane siege on more than 1.5 million people in Gaza, and continues to deny more than 5 million Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homeland, it is the International Community’s social responsibility to hold Israel accountable for these violations, not reward it by supporting it’s economy and whitewashing it’s image.
After Israel’s brutal attack on the Gaza Strip, and the Mavi Marmara Massacre, the ugly truth of Israel as an apartheid and a criminal state became even more obvious to the world. To remedy it’s image, Israel intensified its worldwide public relations campaign to re-brand it and whitewash it’s crimes. An essential part of this PR campaign is dedicated to re-brand Israel as a gay friendly country, and as the gay haven of the Middle East. Those who encourage and support Israel’s pinkwashing efforts are complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.
On the same level, dealing with Israel as a tourist attraction while ignoring these facts would not only be complicit in Israel’s war crimes, but also provide direct economic support for its ongoing crimes, racism, and system of apartheid. Instead of promoting economic support for Israel, pinkwashing and whitewashing it, the international community should adhere to the Palestinian call for boycott divestment and sanctions of Israel which was also adopted and supported by Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.
It is ITB’s responsibility to prevent and reject its platform being used to promote a state implementing apartheid policies, and stop Israel from pinkwashing its war crimes and unethical treatment of over 10 million Palestinians. Take apartheid and pinkwashing OUT of tourism.
Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions