Two events at Brown University last week have unsettled Jewish students. First, a lecture having nothing to do with Israel was called off after students petitioned the lecturer to refuse to participate in any event co-sponsored by Hillel, as the lecture was to have been. Then anti-Semitic and homophobic graffiti appeared in a residence hall that includes a Jewish fraternity and a coed fraternity that is home to gay and lesbian students.
[T]he petition said that the activities of Hillel in bringing a transgender speaker to campus were part of a strategy of “Israeli advocacy organizations (like Hillel) … engaging in pinkwashing, a strategy that tries to improve Israel’s image and rebrand it as a liberal, modern and ‘hip’ country. By shifting the focus to a very narrow definition of LGBTQ rights (exclusively for queer Israelis and not for queer Palestinians), Israel uses pinkwashing to deflect attention from Israel’s colonization and occupation of Palestine and the violence that is being carried out against Palestinians.” (The lecture was not expected to focus on Israel.)