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Canada, Israel and the Gay Pride

Saturday 26 June 2010, by siawi2

Source via Women In Black: http://networkedblogs.com/59MSD

Under pressure, Pride Toronto reverses censorship of “Israeli apartheidâ€

We’ve written extensively about the pressure campaign led in part by
Canada’s B’nai Brith to ban the group Queers United Against Israeli
Apartheid (QuAIA) from all Pride Toronto events including the LGBTQI
pride parade, the Dyke and Trans marches.

B’nai Brith boasted in a May press release:

B’nai Brith Canada has contacted the organizers of Toronto’s Pride
Parade to urge them ensure that the agenda of the annual Pride Parade
is not allowed to be hijacked by the propaganda of anti-Israel
agitators. The Jewish human rights organization has also contacted the
Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of Ontario, and the Mayor of
Toronto, all contributors to the Pride Parade, asking for a review of
the funding in light of the stated agenda of Queers Against Israeli
Apartheid.

And after Pride Toronto remarkably agreed to censor the two words
“Israeli apartheid†from the parades (while it’s perfectly legal to
utter the phrase in Israel or write it in Israel’s most prestigious
newspaper), it seemed as though B’nai Brith and friends won. But after
a massive backlash, Pride Toronto has just announced it has overturned
the ridiculous decision. Xtra reports:

Pride Toronto (PT) has reversed its May board resolution banning the
term “Israeli apartheid†and will instead require all participants to
sign and abide by the City of Toronto’s non-discrimination policy.

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) — the target of the ban — has
declared a victory and congratulated the queer community for pushing
PT to reverse its censorship decision.

“This is a victory for the Palestine solidarity movement, which has
faced censorship and bullying tactics from the Israel lobby for far
too long,†said QuAIA member Tim McCaskell in the release.

Of course, QuAIA now owes a debt of thanks to their opponents who have
done more than anyone to make sure the phrase “Israeli apartheidâ€
would be on the lips of just about everyone in Canada following the
story. Plus, before the ban was rescinded, QuAIA didn’t waste any time
in offering an alternative free speech track for pride events. This is
creative organizing.