College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date

8-2013

Document Type

Thesis

College/Department Conferring Degree

Women & Gender Studies

Keywords

brand Israel, Palestine, colonialism, Arab feminist theory, transgender theory

Abstract

Since the early 2000s, queer organizations have been at the forefront of exposing and challenging an Israeli government sponsored public relations campaign named Brand Israel. Brand Israel advertizing campaigns portray Israel as a safe-haven for gays and lesbians and Palestine as a regressive, violent and homophobic place as a way of justifying the Israeli occupation and colonial domination of Palestine. Activists have used the term "pinkwashing" to describe this rhetorical strategy. This thesis explores the intersections between gender, race, sexuality and settler-colonialism and their implications for anti-pinkwashing activism. I examine materials by Stand With Us and Blue Star, two prominent Israel advocacy groups that use Brand Israel techniques. Brand Israel materials themselves reveal that this discourse relies on orientalist discourses about Arab women and queer criminal archetypes that have held persuasive power for hundreds of years. I draw on the work of transgender and Arab feminist scholars and activists who have discussed how gender and race categories have been produced by colonial processes and have developed resistance strategies based at the intersection between gender, sexuality, and race. To resist Brand Israel campaigns effectively, activists need to understand how Brand Israel rhetoric is arise from a history of racist, colonial discourses.

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