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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid? Seriously?

Barbara Kay has an editorial in today's National Post about the disturbing appearance of anti-Zionists at Toronto's 2009 Gay Pride Parade. They were protesting the only country in the Middle East where gays & lesbians can live openly, in favour of regressive Arab regimes which support the total suppression if not outright killing of homosexuals. Kay writes:
Consider, for example, the human cuckoos, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA). For the past three years, exploiting resources and an audience they have no legitimate claim to, QuAIA and Dykes Against Israeli Apartheid (DAIA) have been "laying their eggs" -- marching and monotonously messaging their loathing for Israel to throngs of gay-supportive spectators -- in the "nest" of Pride Toronto.

Seeing is believing. Lawyer Martin Gladstone filmed QuAIA 2009 in action to produce a short, damning documentary called Reclaiming our Pride. In it the hatred on the faces of many QuAIA and DAIA marchers is palpable. One sees swastikas on T-shirts characterizing Israel as a Nazi state, and hears menacing chants like "Fist by fist, blow by blow, apartheid state has got to go." The film offers persuasive evidence that QuAIA aren't ordinary political protesters with specific grievances, but Israel exceptionalists, gripped by an irrational obsession with the Jewish state's allegedly fathomless evils, while utterly oblivious to horrific human rights abuses elsewhere.

Over a million people from Canada and abroad took part in Pride Week 2009. Pride creates $100-million in direct economic impact, supports 650 jobs and brings the Ontario government $18-million in tax revenue. In 2014 the World Pride Congress is coming to Toronto. The economic and civic stakes around such a huge event are high.

Pride has traditionally been a boisterous but peaceful event. Yet ominously, in 2009 policing was tripled, in large part a response to crowd volatility provoked by anti-Israel activism. If the parade continues to evolve as a tension-filled, divisive forum where one minority feels singled out for guilt by association, Pride's reputation will suffer, with material losses to the city.

It's no good pretending the vicious anti-Zionism of the apartheid crowd is free of anti-Semitism. Many Jews do feel threatened by it, and rightly so. Some will no longer attend the parade out of discomfort. Typically of others I interviewed, lesbian Denise Alexander told me that the 2009 parade was "the first time I've ever felt unsafe as a Jew in Toronto." It wasn't only the words, "Down with Israel" or "The end of Israel": "It's the tone ... and the veins sticking out in their necks, like in Nazi Germany."


Pride's cultural mandate is to celebrate alternate sexuality, its political mandate to promote the human rights, social acceptance and environmental security of gays and lesbians. Political activism for human rights wherever gays are imprisoned, deported or executed makes sense. So does acknowledging gay-friendly jurisdictions. Kulanu, a Jewish social group, legitimately holds signs saying, "We're proud of Israel because Israel's proud of us." But anti-Israel protest and support for Israel's homophobic enemies belong in demonstrations on Parliament Hill or at the Israeli embassy, not in a forum where Israel's impeccable credentials on gay rights and social integration are second to no other nation.


Anonymous said...

The tragic irony in this is that Gaza is known for freely murdering gays in public with a slow and painfull stoning or torture,Hamas also uses children as human shields and stores Military weapons in Mosques that risk massive colateral damage to locals.
It's no secret that the gay Muslim NDP in the Parade has been living a lie about islam and his oppression. I say this because on a PBS TV show about Faiths he was one of 4 people that grilled a Christian guest with hate filled slurs of Homophobia as if Islam embracing gays, but during the closing bumpber music and video credits I saw this man refuse to shake hands with the Christian or the female jewish person on the show.
How sad that even the Muslim Queers bashing Israel don't see the irony that they it's Canada that allows them to do this and be openly gay, plus they mock out values since Muhammed had a child wife that he raped while in his 50's which Muslims avoid talking about and still exalt Muhammed as the Perfect man to emulate.
Muhammad would be refused entry to canada if he was alive today as the creator of islam.

Anonymous said...

Israel is not the "only country in the middle east where gays and lesbians can live freely".

And even if it was, gay rights are being denied to gay Palestinians. In the occupied territories.

Until these Palestinians have full rights in their homeland, we'll be at every gay pride until Israel isn't an apartheid state that is using ethnic cleansing and threatening genocide to make entire Palestinian state-land Jewish owned.

So get fucking used to it.

Eric said...

Anonymous 10:43

Excuse me? "Get fucking used to it"? That's the level of dialogue that I expect from your side of the debate.

And name one other country in the middle east where it's perfectly OK to live openly as a gay or lesbian citizen like it is in Israel.