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Pinkwashing: Another gay Middle Easterner who isn't on the level?

Move over Thomas McMaster. You've got competition from 'Marc,' who claims he's an LGBT activist jilted by the Gaza flotilla.

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Doherty's colleague Ali Abunimah found that one of the first people to distribute the video, via Twitter, was Guy Seemann, an employee in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office. Israel's government press office also pushed the video, citing Mr. Seemann. At the time that he tweeted the video, it was the only link in Seemann's timeline (since deleted).

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Who paid for the video? Unclear. But a propaganda effort unveiled by the fact it was so slick? Yup. The Internet and social media are powerful tools for distributing lies, rumors, and half-truths as much as they are for accurate information. If a lie could run round the world six times before the truth "got its boots on" in Mark Twain's time, it can do so now before truth is even out of bed.

Following Thomas MacMaster's cruel hoax (he'd faked the kidnapping of "Amina," causing distress to the blog's fans and lied to a Canadian woman, who believed she was in an online relationship with a Syrian lesbian, for months), I learned about the term "pinkwashing."

Amid MacMaster's pseudo-intellectual ramblings about Orientalism and narrative voice was the claim that Amina, a lesbian critic of Israel, was created as a counterbalance to pinkwashing. Intrigued by the term I went online and find there's a lively debate in activist circles on the matter.

In pro-Palestinian activist circles, the term refers to Israel and its supporters use of the lack of freedom for gays and lesbians in Arab countries as a way to paint the Palestinian cause as unworthy. Such activists say that while it's manifestly true that Israeli gays have more rights than those in neighboring countries, it's used to obscure the brutal facts of the economic blockade of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank.

As it happens, some gay activists are onboard a number of the boats hoping to get to Gaza. Whether they will make it there is another matter.


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