As the news spread online that an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man had stabbed six people at Jerusalem
’s annual Gay Pride Parade on Thursday, accompanied by terrifying images of the attack, critics of Israel were quick to argue that the rampage undermined the country’s self-image as a bastion of tolerance in the region.
Although the episode was condemned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, the officials were accused of hypocrisy on social networks.
Some observers suggested that the Jewish attacker, identified as Yishai Schlissel, a fundamentalist who committed the same kind of attack during the same event 10 years ago, was treated far more leniently than a Muslim extremist would have been.
The Palestinian-American writer and activist Ali Abunimah has derided as “pinkwashing” Israeli efforts “to build up support for Israel among Western liberals and progressives” by drawing attention to the nation’s policies on gay rights. “Pinkwashing,” in Mr. Abunimah’s definition, “is a rhetorical strategy that deploys Israel’s supposed enlightenment toward LGBTQ issues to deflect criticism from Israel’s human rights abuses and war crimes.”
The term was invoked in relation to the attack on Thursday by Pauline Park, a transgender activist who supports the Palestinian cause.