Israel used "pinkwashing" to "legitimise" human rights abuses against Palestine, an online website used to train Citizens Advice Bureau staff on diversity says.
“Woke” guidance documents urge the charity’s staff to educate themselves about the “key concepts” such as alleged pinkwashing of Palestinians, microaggressions, privilege and toxic masculinity.
Mandatory equality and diversity training, seen by The Telegraph, is being rolled out for staff to demonstrate “good allyship” when helping members of the public on issues such as benefits, debt and employment.
But MPs condemned the guide’s “anti-Israel propaganda”, while sources warned the training is creating a culture of fear for those in the charity’s workforce who do not subscribe to the “woke creed”.
In between diversity sessions, which are run by an external agency, consultants give Citizens Advice staff a self-help library with 26 key terms they should familiarise themselves with.
One is “pinkwashing”, which links to an external webpage that defines this as “an attempt to mask and legitimise Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians”, adding: “They are not exempt from marginalisation under Israeli apartheid”.
The cited webpage adds: “Perhaps the most noted example of pinkwashing is Israel’s public relations campaign to promote itself as the ‘gay mecca’ of the Middle East. This campaign emerged in direct response to ‘bad press’ it received for human rights violations, particularly following global media coverage of the Sabra and Shatila Massacre.”
It says Israel “positing itself as the saviour of Palestinian and Arab queers” is an “inherently orientalist and Islamophobic rhetoric” that ignores the “settler colonialism” they suffer.
Andrew Percy, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism, told The Telegraph: "If the Citizens Advice Bureau really wanted to educate their staff, instead of spreading misinformation and falsehoods about the Middle East’s only liberal democracy, they would do better reminding their staff of how few rights women, gay and trans people have elsewhere in the Middle East.
"This is not ‘training’ material, it is anti-Israel propaganda which will spread hate against gay Israelis, of Jewish and Arab backgrounds, who are rightly proud about their country’s record in this region on gay rights issues."
Other key concepts in the guide include whitewashing and double consciousness, described on an attached webpage as an inward “twoness” that is “experienced by African-Americans because of their racialized oppression and disvaluation in a white-dominated society”.
The glossary also cites the TERF “trans exclusionary radical feminist” – a derogatory term used by activists towards gender-critical feminists who defend the sanctity of biological sex – along with “slut shaming” and misgendering.
A source close to the charity added: “It’s deeply troubling for an organisation that receives millions of pounds from the Government to advise people without fear or favour.”
The guide includes reading lists and progressive social media accounts to follow, such as Reni Eddo Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race and links to a webpage titled Explaining White Privilege To A Broke White Person.
In separate internal guidance, Citizens Advice urges staff to wear pronoun badges, rainbow lanyards and stick rainbow flags in shop windows, and add their pronouns to email signatures to demonstrate “good allyship” towards the LGBT+ community.
Helen Pluckrose, the founder of Counterweight, an advisory service for employees silenced in workplaces, said the guidance was “alarming but not surprising”.
“We hear frequently from people within the public sector and charitable and humanitarian aid fields. It’s astonishing how often ‘diversity training’ looks like ‘uniformity training’,” she said.
Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive at Citizens Advice, said she was “committed to creating a service where everyone is comfortable coming to us for help, and a workplace where everyone belongs”.
She added: “Our learning programme has been designed to help staff and volunteers build their knowledge and have open discussions about equity, diversity and inclusion. This includes a library of additional resources to encourage staff to think critically.
“These are challenging issues. That’s why we’ll continue to listen to the views of our staff, volunteers and clients to ensure that we’re an inclusive organisation for all.”
A Citizens Advice spokesperson said on Saturday night that there are plans to remove parts of the library guide following a review, but could not confirm when they would be removed.