Although, one country in the region has taken giant steps to promote gay rights. Israel has become the most liberal and progressive Middle Eastern state towards gay rights, hence 1988 legalization of same-sex relations and has outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation (Whitaker). Regardless, many gay Palestinians feel they have not received the same benefits from gay rights compared to gay Israeli’s, and actually feel they have become easier targets of homophobic violence. For example, in Tel-Aviv two people were killed and fifteen were injured in a LGBT community center. Furthermore, in 2005 a religious extremist ‘in the name of God’ attacked a gay pride march in Jerusalem (Whitaker). Gay Palestinian’s seek asylum in Israel due to fear of prosecution in their territory, although most feel they are welcomed in Israel with hostility and limited rights. Stated before Israel is the leading state in the region regarding gay rights. Nevertheless, there is continued criticism of Israel’s pro-gay policies and practices towards the homosexual community. In other words, critics believe that Israel pro-gay campaign is to shield their internal conflict, especially amongst the Palestinian LGBT community.
Israel has created a marketing plan to ‘Brand Israel’ in which the Israeli government sought to establish a global image of Israel being “modern and relevant” (Schulman). One strategy of this marketing plan was to harness the gay community in Israel. For example, Tel-Aviv was marketed as “an international gay vacation destination” during a $90 million branding campaign (Schulman). Ultimately, the brand Israel campaign is to promote Israel as a progressive nation in “a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are ...
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... a new image of homosexuality as not only part of the religious context but as an expression of politics, cultural and especially as part of social identity. Civil society of every country should push their governmental institutions to allow personal choice; understanding that decisions regarding sexual orientation must be left to each individual. Basically, governments of free societies should not prescribe a sexual identity for their citizens.
"Gay Rights." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 May 2014. Web. 01 June 2014.
Schulman, Sarah. "Israel and 'Pinkwashing'" The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Nov. 2011. Web. 04 June 2014.
Whitaker, Brian. "The Paradox Of Visibility: Gay In The Middle East." Current History 109.731 (2010): 401-402. Academic Search Premier. Web. 2 June 2014.
"Who We Are." Aswat. Aswat Group, 2005. Web. 02 June 2014.