Zionist Geographies: Neoliberal San Francisco, Pinkwashing, and Gay Palestine

By Tallie Ben Daniel.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

In June 2006, a poster depicting a rugged, pink-clad soldier appeared at San
Francisco bus stops. The posters, designed by BlueStarPR, a Zionist public
relations firm, read: “Where in the Middle East can gay soldiers serve their
country? …Only in Israel.”

Julie Abraham’s *Metropolitan Lovers* claims that the association of
queerness with the metropolis marks gays and lesbians as “model citizens of
the modern city and avatars of the urban.” San Francisco is arguably the
space in which the relationship between urbanity and queerness has become
the most sedimented. In this project, I will examine San Francisco as *the*
queer city, and will link this discourse to the Zionist focus on gay rights
in Israel. Zionism, once an ideology of national liberation for Europe’s
enduring minority, currently defends Israel’s brutal and dehumanizing
occupation of Palestine. Zionist interventions into queer San Francisco
symbolize a cosmopolitan turn within US Zionism-from asking US Zionists to
support the pioneer frontiersman to support for the avatars of the urban:
gay and lesbian soldiers. I see this intervention as part of a new kind of
Zionist urban geography, where cosmopolitanism colludes with neoliberalism
to reincorporate queers and Jews-at the expense of Arabs.

Keywords: Zionism, Gay Rights, Urban, Minority, Cosmopolitanism, City, Queer, Tel Aviv, San Francisco

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.49-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 800.812KB).

Tallie Ben Daniel

Graduate Student, Cultural Studies, University of California, Davis, Oakland, CA, USA

I am interested in the ways gay rights are used in conflict zones as a barometer for human rights, particularly in the Middle East. I am currently working on my dissertation, tentatively titled “Love Without Borders: Cosmopolitanism and Queer Politics in Israel/Palestine.”