Main | Friday, April 23, 2010

Toronto Threatens To Pull Gay Pride Funding Over Anti-Israel Group

The city of Toronto is threatening to pull their funding for Pride Toronto if the organization allows an anti-Israel group to participate in the parade.
The city believes that its anti-discrimination policy was violated by the participation of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in the 2009 Pride Toronto parade, to which the city gave $121,000, the Toronto Star reported Monday. The city reportedly received complaints about the use of the phrase "Israeli apartheid." Pride Toronto officials told the newspaper in an interview hours before the city's general manager of economic development and culture made the funding cut threat that it had not been decided whether the group would be allowed to march in the 2010 parade. The threat follows the announcement and cancellation last month of a Pride policy that would have parade signs reviewed by an ethics committee. Elle Flanders, a Jewish member of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, objected to the city comparing a political opinion on apartheid to hate speech. "They're trying to compare it to hate speech, and I find it deeply offensive, as somebody who's been fighting human rights battles for a really long time, to hear that criticism of the State of Israel is somehow hate speech. No way," Flanders told the Star.
RELATED: Last night a group called Israeli Queer Activists protested outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. Via press release:
The rally was to protest against "Israeli LGBT Festival" in San Francisco called "Out in Israel", which is funded by the Israeli consulate and Jewish organizations' together with support from the Israeli foreign affairs ministry. Activists held signs and shouted slogans saying "Stop Pinkwashing of Israeli Apartheid", "Racism = Homophobia", and "No Pride in Apartheid" Elinor Sidi, Queer activists and produced the Jerusalem Pride Parade, 2008 and 2009, says, "Israel is using this festival to rebrand itself as a liberal and open state. We as human rights activists, refuse that gay rights will be used as whitewash for human right violations against the Palestinians. Israel is not liberal and not open."

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