Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is catching flak from activists who say he will be taking part in “pinkwashing” and violating a boycott when he travels to Israel in June for an LGBTQ-related conference and to lead a trade delegation there.

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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is catching flak from activists who say he will be taking part in “pinkwashing” and violating a boycott when he travels to Israel in June for an LGBTQ-related conference and to lead a trade delegation there.

The activists say Israel and pro-Israel organizations engage in pinkwashing by representing the Jewish state as gay-friendly to take attention away from how it treats Palestinians.

Murray, who is gay and who as a state senator was a leader in the successful push to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington, is slated to deliver the closing keynote address at the 40 Years of Pride Conference in Tel Aviv.

The June conference is being organized by The Aguda, an Israeli nonprofit that works for LGBTQ rights and acceptance, and A Wider Bridge, a San Francisco-based pro-Israel advocacy entity that aims its message at LGBTQ North Americans.

Murray said the trip doesn’t conflict with his stance on Israel.

“I respectfully disagree with those who are attempting to characterize my trip to Israel as an attempt to ‘pinkwash’ Israel’s relationship with Palestinians. The situation in the Middle East is complicated, but my position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been both clear and public,” he said.

“I am a strong supporter of the state of Israel’s right to exist and the right of its people to live safely and without fear of violence. I also just as strongly believe in a two-state solution … On my trip to Israel, I will make both of those positions clear. I also intend to visit with Arab members of the Knesset and arrange a visit to the West Bank.”

Israel’s foreign-affairs ministry is footing the bill for Murray’s trip to the conference, his spokesman told The Seattle Times last month.

“The Israeli government is paying him to come be part of a propaganda conference that promotes Israel as a gay-rights haven in order to cover up the realities of apartheid,” said Dean Spade, an activist and associate law professor at Seattle University.

Spade is part of the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Seattle, which has a message on its website encouraging people to write letters asking Murray to cancel his trip. Spade, who is Jewish, is also behind a new documentary film, “Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back!”

The film focuses on the controversy that erupted in Seattle three years ago when activists, including Spade, persuaded the Seattle LGBT Commission to cancel an Israel-LGBTQ event with A Wider Bridge.

Spade said activists are planning a May 15 demonstration against Murray’s trip.

Wendy Somerson, who belongs to the Seattle chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, said the group is opposing Murray’s trip partly because the visit will violate the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement.

“(Murray) has talked about boycotting Indiana around LGBT rights, but he’s not willing to honor the boycott of Israel,” Somerson said.

A Wider Bridge’s executive director, Arthur Slepian, pointed Wednesday to a piece he wrote for The Huffington Post last month.

“We hope that having this conference in Israel will begin to move our global LGBTQ community away from the self-defeating strategy advocated by those who insist that we need to shut down the voices of those with whom we may disagree,” Slepian wrote.

He added: “The Israeli LGBT community is not a creature of the Israeli government. The progress that Israel has made in LGBT rights was achieved through years of struggle on many fronts, not granted by the government as part of a branding or tourism campaign.”

Murray said he’ll be honored to speak at the Tel Aviv conference.

“The struggle for LGBT equality is the great civil-rights struggle of our times, and that struggle knows no borders,” he said. “To the extent that I can help advance the cause of equality in Seattle, in Israel … or in any other places, I welcome the opportunity to do so.”

But Somerson believes the activists may succeed in convincing Murray to cancel his trip. “Stranger things have happened,” she said, citing the 2012 event cancellation.

“I think the understanding of Israeli apartheid has grown drastically,” Spade added. “Opinions are changing.”

This story has been corrected. The original version said the Seattle Human Rights Commission canceled an event in 2012. It was the Seattle LGBT Commission.