According to the Pride Toronto website, the board of directors voted today to rescind its previous promise to restrict the use of anti-Israeli slogans during the annual parade celebrating the LGBT community [LGBTTIQQ2SA if you want to use the full acronym].
Instead, Pride Toronto will require participating groups to read, sign and agree to abide by the City of Toronto’s Declaration of “Non-Discrimination Policy.” The organization will now work with the city of Toronto to determine whether “Israeli Apartheid” slogans during the parade would constitute a violation of the Non-Discrimination Policy, and how this can be applied to future events.
Driving for the freedom to criticize Israel during the parade is the group “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid”, an incendiary name for an LGBT group who today proclaimed victory against “censorship.”
“This is a victory for the Palestine solidarity movement, which has faced censorship and bullying tactics from the Israel lobby for far too long,” says Tim McCaskell, a member of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. “The Israel lobby learned a tough lesson today about our community’s proud history of standing up to censorship and human rights abuses.”
Based on this press release, one would assume that QuAIA is fully expecting to march in the parade promoting their anti-Israeli message.
Toronto Pride originally banned the group when the board of directors voted in May to disallow them based on the principles of non-discrimination.
QuAIA has marched in the Pride parade for several years already, bringing an intolerant message to a parade that is supposed to be based upon the acceptance of differences and plurality. The name itself is strongly worded, since the use of the “apartheid” term is entirely sympathetic to the intifada and the concept that Israel is an illegal occupier of Palestinian lands.
Comparing Israel to the South African regime that discriminated against blacks until the early nineties, is offensive to Israelis and many Jews. What’s particularly ironic about this is that radical Islamic groups who support Gaza, Palestine, and Hamas, believe that homosexuality is an abomination punishable by death.
QuAIA’s website acknowledges that “homophobia” exists in Palestine, but says it’s an international problem that transcends borders. They believe that “queer Palestinians face the additional challenge of living under occupation,” and are subject to Israel’s definition of rights, which they allege is based on race.
The group will now be forced to sign the City of Toronto’s Declaration of Non-Discrimination, and it will be up to the city to decide whether QuAIA violates that policy by their inclusion in the parade. Given that many Jews, Israelis, and those who support Israel will be at the Pride Parade, it seems logical to assume the City will find QuAIA in violation. But then again, discrimination against Israel has gained widespread acceptance under the guise of free speech, so it may be too difficult to predict just which way the City will swing on this one.