Feb 7, 2012

#BDS: How Sarah Schulman managed to get ‘Pinkwashing’ into the New York Times

"One of the stars of the boycott conference at Penn was Sarah Schulman, the writer/professor who wrote the groundbreaking pinkwashing piece in the New York Times last November: How Israel uses gay-rights to launder its human rights violations.

In the Q-and-A, a man rose to ask Schulman how the piece had gotten into print. Schulman laughed and said, "Ok, here's the back story." And then told an astonishing story.

I'll relate that story in a minute. First you have to eat your spinach: Schulman's very wise ideas about the ways that the Palestinian solidarity movement can grow from "a vanguard movement to a popular movement."

Schulman only got into Palestinian solidarity two years ago. But she has been a "hard-core" activist all her life, chiefly about AIDS and queer freedom. You can ask, Where has she been, what about Gaza? but that's a stupid question, a question that blocks growth. And the beauty of Schulman's engagement here is that when she was told not to go to Tel Aviv University two years ago, and she said, "What boycott?" she didn't get defensive and nutty. No, she looked into the issue and saw that it was straightforward and simple-- and then she was in."

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