Wednesday 6 May 2009


Israel is stepping up its public relations effort to discredit Iran within the international community, and part of its new campaign focuses on Tehran's abuse of human rights and sponsorship of terrorism.

"We have to lay the foundation in the world, and particularly in Europe, in order to be able to take harsher steps against Iran, especially in the economic sector," said one senior political source in Jerusalem.

The new campaign, to be overseen by the Foreign Ministry, aims to appeal to people who are less concerned with Iran's nuclear aspirations and more fearful of its human rights abuses and mistreatment of minorities, including the gay and lesbian community.

The campaign plans to recruit the international gay community, which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed in 2007 when he said there were no homosexuals living in his country.

The campaign will also reach out to Jewish groups who want to bring more attention to Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial and some members of the Iranian regime's antisemitic and anti-Zionist views.

About NIS 8 million have already been budgeted for the new campaign, which also includes increased briefings for foreign journalists on the Iranian nuclear program and greater use of the Internet and sites such as YouTube.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman want to broaden the PR campaign on the subject of Iran in the wake of increasing international willingness to negotiate with Tehran over its nuclear program. One political source said there appear to be greater expectations in the U.S. and in Europe that diplomacy will solve the nuclear dispute.

However, the assumption in Israel is that dialogue will not lead to fundamental change in Tehran's stance and that the regime will not relinquish its nuclear aspirations, even in exchange for an incentives package from the international community.

The senior political source in Jerusalem said it is necessary to lay the groundwork now for the possible diplomatic failure. Despite talk of a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, the current campaign focuses more on harsh economic sanctions against Tehran.

Israeli gays take part in a parade as Jerusalem
hosts Israel's Gay Pride parade.

By Amal Amireh
Israel is so worried about the International community's willingness to talk to Iran before bombing it that they are launching a new "bomb-before-you-talk" public "relations" campaign.

Gay rights in Iran are at the center of this public "tarnation" campaign. Israel is planning to use Iran's treatment of its homosexuals to convince the world that Iran deserves to be bombed to smithereens.

They are planning to recruit western gay rights activists to do their propaganda for them, according to Ha'aretz. T
his is bad news for homosexuals in Iran and for those who care about them.

Ask the women of Afghanistan. Not long ago, they were mobilized for another public relations campaign that wanted to sell the war on Afghanistan to every American household. This is when CNN, Fox, and Oprah discovered Afghan women and were so moved by their plight that they decided to bomb them to free them from their misery.

And look at the result! The Afghan government that was produced by years of war has just decided that a husband has the legal right to have sex with his wife every four days. No ifs, buts or headaches are acceptable. In other words, the Afghan constitution legalizes marital rape now.

Afghan women, those who survived the bombing, had taken to the streets to protest this new legislation and were pelted with stones for their immodesty. But, hey, stones are better than bombs. So there is progress after all.

You can also ask the gays of Iraq, who have been tortured and assassinated by one militia or another after years of mayhem that brought them a new "democracy."

And while you are at it, talk to the women, those who are starved, raped, sold, and beheaded in the new Iraq.

The lesson from Afghanistan (and Iraq, and Gaza, and wherever the bombs are falling) is that bombing a country does not improve human rights in that country. Bombs do not make progress. In fact, the weakest groups will be the ones to suffer most: the poor, children, women, gays, minorities.

They will pay the heaviest price of war and militarization. Even if war does not take place, using gays in Iran as pawn in the war rhetoric will increase their vulnerability to violence and prejudice.

Israel knows this very well. But it doesn't give a damn about Iranian gays. Israel is on the war path. But for those of us who do give a damn, our work has just got harder.

International LGBT groups must distance themselves from the Israeli agenda because it is the kiss of death for Iranian gays. And we all must find ways to continue to advocate for human rights and at the same time expose the cynical manipulation of these rights by politicians and generals.
It is the only way.


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