When commentators, politicians, and journalists pose questions as to the potentially dangerous aspect of regime change in the Arab world, they are pointing to the possibility that Islamist governments may be formed in Tunisia, Egypt, or Syria. American and European fears of Islamists are certainly not because they represent a threat to personal freedoms (just look at the record of personal freedoms in Saudi Arabia, America’s strongest Arab ally) but because Western powers are afraid of what an Islamist-inspired foreign policy might look like. Simply put, the fear is that Islamist governments may realign themselves against the US/Israel camp, although, looking again to Saudi Arabia, there is little evidence to suggest that Islamism is inherently at odds with the foreign policy objectives of the United States and of Israel. In this way, gay Arabs are only the latest fodder used to fan the flames of Islamophobia in political, media, and public discourse. The idea is that Islamist governments are inherently intolerant of non-normative sexual behavior, and that that intolerance is unacceptable to the international community today. This statement, in turn, rests upon several assumptions: 1) Secular authoritarian regimes have been the protectors of women and gays in the Arab world, and 2) The international community, via the discourse of human rights, can cherry pick injustices and politicize them within a liberal discourse of tolerance. Under the twinned discourses of “tolerance” and “Islamophobia”, a state’s treatment of its gays and its women is used as a marker for “backwardness” or “civilization”. As Wendy Brown reminds us, the use of human rights abuses to justify the War on Terror speaks this violent logic; that those who are intolerant do not deserve to be tolerated [by those who both set the standard and are tasked with upholding it, when it suits them]. Homophobia within Palestine, for example, which is bizarrely presented as unique and exceptional, becomes a justification for why Palestinians are less deserving of justice, equality and a state than the liberal, tolerant and democratic Israelis.It is significant that populations such as gays, women, and Christians are being harnessed to promote fear of what will emerge post Assad, for example. In part, we should not be surprised; if the pinkwashing campaign has taught us anything, it is that Israel, by promoting itself as the protector of gay Palestinians, successfully cleaves human rights from political engagement and uses the ideological capital of “tolerance” to promote itself as a protector of freedom in a sea of intolerant, backwards, and dangerous Arabs/Palestinians. One could ask, as one Palestinian queer activist is fond of saying, is there a secret doorway in the apartheid wall visible only to gay Palestinians? In the context of the Arab Spring, this separation of human and political rights accomplishes many of the same objectives. It posits the Assad, Mubarak, or Ben Ali regime as preferable in terms of human and minority rights to the Islamist governments that may follow them. And it renders the political rights and will of all Arabs, gay and straight, male and female, old and young, citizens and non-citizens, Christian and Muslim and Jewish, a prospect that we, the secular and the liberal, should be weary of.