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#DontToyWithApartheid: LGBTQ groups demand boycott of Israeli singer's gay club concert Open in fullscreen

Florence Dixon

#DontToyWithApartheid: LGBTQ groups demand boycott of Israeli singer's gay club concert

LGBTQ and pro-Palestine groups accuse Netta of pinkwashing Israel's human rights violations [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 November, 2018

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Pro-Palestinian and LGBTQ groups will demonstrate outside a London gay club over a concert by Israeli singer Netta, calling out Israel's use of 'pinkwashing' to mask apartheid and occupation
A group of queer pro-Palestinian activists are to stage a "musical protest" outside the London gay nightspot Heaven, demanding the club cancel a planned gig by Israeli singer Netta Barzilai, this year's Eurovision song contest winner.

The demonstration will include dabke - traditional Palestinian folk dancing - as well as gay anthems with the lyrics re-written to cricise Israel's human rights violations of Palestinians, organisers London Palestine Action said.

The group have penned an open letter to the nightclub's owner, Jeremy Joseph, urging him to cancel the show over Israel's use of culture and gay icons to cover up and distract from its occupation of Palestinian land and apartheid rule over the Palestinian people.

"Netta's performance in your venue is inherently political. We ask that you cancel Netta's show, refuse to participate in the pinkwashing of Israel's apartheid regime, and stand on the right side of history," the letter read.

On the Facebook event for the protest, the group said: "Through its official 'Brand Israel' project, the Israeli government uses culture to distract from its serious and consistent violations of international law."

Read more: 'Next time in Jerusalem': Netta politicised her own victory and whitewashed Israel's brutal occupation

"Israel also intentionally diverts attention away from its human rights abuses by shamelessly portraying the state as a progressive, gay-friendly tourist destination," it added.

"This, despite Israel's brutal occupation and apartheid regime subjecting queer Palestinians to the same systematic oppression as all Palestinians."

It concluded: "As queers and allies, we say no to efforts to pinkwash and artwash Israeli crimes."

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refers to Netta as "the best ambassador of Israel", although rights groups accuse her of being at the service of the Israeli government.

Activist group Pinkwatching Israel also called for a boycott of Netta's shows in the UK due to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's own right-wing record and dealings with "homophobic" world leaders.

"We call on you not to party with Barzilai as she pinkwashes Israeli regime’s alliances with homophobic, right-wing leaders around the world, from Donald Trump in the US, to Hungary's Viktor Orban, Austria's Sebastian Kurz and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro," the statement read.

The issue of pinkwashing - using a pro-LQBTQ agenda to mask other human rights violations - has been a hotly debated in recent years, especially on the subject of Israel.

The Tel Aviv Pride Parade  - one of the biggest in the world - and the Tel Aviv LGBT film festival have also been subject to boycotts to draw attention to the issue of Palestinian rights.

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