R Conrad

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid turning up the heat on Pride Toronto

Filed By R Conrad | June 08, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: gay pride, gay shame, Israeli Apartheid, Palestine Solidarity, Pride Toronto, QuAIA, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, shame award, Toronto

Over twenty Pride Toronto honorees from the last decade have returned their awards in response to PT's banning of the term "Israeli Apartheid" (and thus the group QuAIA) from the upcoming pride march and festivities. Pride Toronto claims the decision to ban the term comes from pressure from the city, one of Pride's main funders. saknowsapartheid.jpgThe city somehow understands (likely due to some serious lobbying efforts on behalf of Israeli state supporters) any criticism of Israel as synonymous with hate speech and thus both discriminatory and illegal in Canada.

This massively public award returning ceremony was also complemented by the giving of an additional Shame Award similar to the ones the group Gay Shame used to give annually at Pride in San Francisco in the early 2000's. The Shame Award from QuAIA to Pride Toronto was explicitly for caving to political pressure and effectively de-politicizing historically political pride events.

This event was captured on video and is posted after the jump along with more details and reflections about QuAIA's battle with Pride Toronto's censorship.

Preceding these events by a few weeks was the delivery of a signed letter by the founding members of Pride Toronto urging the current organizing committee to not censor pride stating:

"As founding members of the Toronto Lesbian and Gay Pride Day Committee, and people involved in organizing the first Pride event in Toronto at the end of June in 1981, we stand totally opposed to the decision of the current Toronto Pride Committee to ban the use of "Israeli Apartheid" at Toronto Pride events. This banning of political speech is clearly an attempt to ban the participation of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) and queer Palestine Solidarity supporters from the parade and from participation in a major event in our communities. This sets a very dangerous precedent for the exclusion of certain political perspectives within our movements and communities from Pride events. We call on the Pride committee to immediately rescind this banning and to instead encourage QuAIA's participation in the pride parade."

I guess the question remains, do we continue to try and resuscitate pride events by injecting them with a good dose of sex and politics, or do we let the corporate machines of late capitalism devour the hollow bodies of most pride events while the rest of us work to start new events and new traditions to celebrate our sex and politics? When Pride has more corporate floats, like Home Depot and Budweiser who have little to do with queerness let alone a sense of pride, while political groups like Queers Against Israeli Apartheid are essentially banned from participation, one has to ask what's really at stake? Perhaps it's time to kill pride, or maybe encourage its implosion and irrelevance, so we can start something new, useful, relevant, political and sexy.

The emergence of groups like Pervers/cité (Montreal's answer to the boring corporate pride model, Divers/cite) and other similar alternative projects looming in Toronto seem to point to new roadmaps and better organizing models that would be worth more exploration.


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SkepticalCidada | June 8, 2010 9:05 PM

Um, without expressing a view on the topic of corporate influence in pride events, let me point out that the censorship in Toronto seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with corporate influence. The excerpts clearly explain that the censorship resulted from lobbying by pro-Israel ideologues and pressure from the City of Toronto. Neither are "corporate influences." What you're trying to do, frankly, is exploit the political censorship here to advance your separate agenda regarding corporate influence.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 8, 2010 9:36 PM

Speaking to corporate influence there is far too much of it at Pride events. But there is a lot of other things that are just too much as well. I do not think these events have any redeeming value any more. They are as passe as "coming out" books.

When we learn to ally the sensible middle of the "Gay Agenda" (Like we can identify one) with other injustices around the world and in America we will have made real progress. When it is demonstrated to the majority that these minorities have inalienable rights shown through their obvious merits, positive deeds and actions we will discover that walls we thought were brick were made of paper.

This is sorely disappointing. I don't understand why Israel gets so much hate, it's an awesome place with a very smart people. That group probably should have been allowed to march, just like the queer anarchists that I disagree with, but their message is awful. Israeli apartheid? Really? 1 of the 7 million people in Israel are Israeli Arabs (with citizenship!) and are ruled by the same Democratic rule as the Jewish Israelis and probably have a higher standard of living than they would in any other Arab country. People need to just let Israel be and there would be less fighting.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 9, 2010 2:31 AM

Good for the refusniks.

Toronto Pride made a huge error spinelessly kowtowing to the anti-democratic demands of rightwing zionists and prowar racists. Like many bureaucratized LGBT groups including HRC and EQCA in the US, their goal is to accommodate, assimilate and take things at a snail's pace.

Events in Palestine won't permit that and Toronto Pride found themselves up shit creek without a paddle. Like HRC and ECQA after Prop 8 passed because of their bungling and Obama's bigotry.

The zionist colonial regime in Palestine routinely practices ethnic cleansing, apartheid and a policy of slow but sure mass murder through blockades, starvation and the denial of medical care. Since last December they've relentlessly increased their military attacks on civilians, and added many children to their endless roll of victims.

How Palestinians liberate themselves is a question only Palestinians can solve. The best thing that GLBT groups overseas can do is to support their fight and not try to impose conditions on them. We can have all the opinions we want but theirs are the only opinions that matter.

My opinion is that the situation cries out for a secular, socialist Palestinian State. There's no room for a European born colonial state in that equation.

Calls for compromise, whether a two state formula or pretending that both sides are aggressors or equally belligerent are merely calls to preserve the colonialists regime based on apartheid and ehtnic cleansing. The zionist colony has no hint of legitimacy.

The mostly European zionist colonialists have one of two choices. They can adapt like the mostly European colonists in South Africa adapted to ANC rule. Or they can await their fate, which, if they're lucky could mirror the fate of French colonialists in Algeria or the American mafia, criminal, corporate and otherwise in Cuba in 1960.

Nothing is going to stop the march of Palestinian anti-colonialism, not even zionist nukes. And certainly not the self appointed 'leaders' who run Toronto Pride.

Palestine for the Palestinians.

Rick Sours | June 9, 2010 12:43 PM

This posting contains alot of outstanding valid points which needed to be said.

PanoramaIsland | June 10, 2010 3:09 AM

Zionism has no hint of legitimacy? Really?

You know something? This sort of rhetoric - Zionism as the tool of the evil white colonialist oppressor, no reservations, no ifs, ands or buts about it - reminds me quite a lot of the "queerness and gender variance are subversive tools of the foreign colonialist oppressor" meme that queers and trans/genderqueer people have to face down in many conservative third-world countries - places like Uganda and Jamaica. It's not that different from the idea of the "homosexual agenda" here in America - that "we real Americans," here in the Heartland, face down an eeeeevil imported threat from the great Other, the Liberal Elites, the crazy Marxist Nazi city folk who want to recruit our children to this frightening and unnatural cult of The Gay.

You know, it's not a perfect comparison, but to say that the Jewish claim to a homeland in Israel has not one iota of legitimacy, to speak of it as though it oughtn't even to be considered, is to forget the diaspora. It is to forget that Jews, whatever we have turned into now (and I'm not saying it's bad - I'm a lefty queer trans atheist city Jew, after all), were once a Middle Eastern people who originated from Israel.

I am not a crazy nationalist right-winger. I do not believe that the current condition of Gaza and its inhabitants is just A-OK, or that the Israeli government is reasonable in its actions. I do not assert that criticizing the Israeli government is antisemitism - but depicting us as eeeevil foreign invaders at the hand of The Oppressor, categorizing us as an Other, saying that we have no claim to Israel-as-homeland?

That's going beyond saying that Zionism as practiced is wrong-headed, or was a mistake, or that religious states are bad. It's going beyond rebuffing militarism, or claims to land based on lines from religious texts, or attacks on peaceful people, or settlements, or blockades. It's denying Jewish peoplehood.

Unlike Abraham Foxman and others, I do not sling about the term "antisemitic" casually. To do so cheapens it. However, I would suggest that you, Mr. Perdue, reassess your seeming claim (contained in your slogan "Palestine for the Palestinians") that only Arab Muslims and other native non-Jews can have any valid claim to being Palestinian or living in Palestine. Have you forgotten that the Wailing Wall is there in Israel/Palestine, right next to the Dome On The Rock?

It beehoves us as social justice-minded people not to run away from one oppression so fast that we trip and fall into another oppression, just as bad, and worse in fact in that we worked to cause it.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 10, 2010 6:02 AM

Zionism is the contemptible racist notion that mainly European colonists have the right to dispossess Palestinians of their nationality, steal their homes and land, starve them and deprive them of medical care, murder them at will, practice apartheid and engage in ethnic cleansing.

The descendents of zionist settler colonists, like their racist European descended counterparts in South Africa are going to have to adapt to the continuing victories of anti-racist, anti-colonial revolutions or face their fate. Given their long history of murder and pillage I fear for them.

For whatever it means Palestinians are Semites. The only anti-Semitism I've seen in this discussion comes from Eurocentric anti-Palestinians.

You can find online books about history of zionism by goggling The Hidden History of Zionism by Ralph Shoenman of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation and Zionism in the Age of the Dictators by Lenni Brenner which includes a review by the London Times.

For an examination of the abuse of the term anti-Semite by islamophobes, racists and zionists to smear anti-racists and people from muslim cultures see The Misuses of "Anti-Semitism" by Norman Solomon, Anti-Semitism or Ultra-Semitism? by M. Junaid Alam, and Smear Mongers by Paul de Rooig all available at Counterpunch dot org.

Palestine for the Palestinians

Allow me to explain: The reason why Home Depot and Budweiser have floats at pride events is because they help to sponsor them. Now, I would rightfully invite accusations of naivety if I didn't acknowledge that their sponsorship was equivalent to buying advertising space, not to mention a big PR effort. But it's also worth noting that the companies that have floats at pride parades generally have a history of catering to GLBT customers and providing generous benefits to GLBT employees, and they have no qualms about possibly dampening their profits by pissing off religious bigots in the process.

On the other hand, like most other "radical queer" groups, QuAIA is simply a pack of hangers-on trying to exploit pride in order to push a far-left political agenda that has little or nothing to do with GLBT rights and is now making a big stink over its inability to use an inflammatory and divisive phrase in a forum where it is patently irrelevant in the first place.

SkepticalCidada | June 8, 2010 11:27 PM

No, Israeli apartheid is an inflammatory and divisive PRACTICE.

You're welcome to that opinion, and I'm not debating its merits. The main issue here is: What the fuck does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have to do with a Gay Pride parade? If somebody wanted to have an "Israeli and Palestinian GLBT unity" float or something that'd be wonderful. But just because you put the word "queer" in front of some political issue, that doesn't automatically make it a GLBT issue, whether it's the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, animal rights, a ban on plastic shopping bags or the overabundance of potholes on Mulberry Lane.

This isn't to say things like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict aren't important or to dismiss criticism of corporate influence at Gay Pride events, but it's important to remember that "radical queers" are basically just hangers-on trying to commandeer the GLBT rights movement into supporting their far-left utopian fantasies, as evidenced by their indifference toward laws and policies that constitute very real and very damaging discrimination against GLBT people like DADT and marriage bans.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 9, 2010 3:00 AM

The main issue here is: What the fuck does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have to do with a Gay Pride parade? Gosh, Alaric, have you noticed that the bigots who run the St. Paddys day parades in New York and Boston ask the same question about us.

The answer to both questions is that all these struggles are organically linked and that they have everything in common.

Everything.

We have the same enemies. The looter class in North America is invested in homohating bigotry. Paying us discrinminatory lower wages (except when unions enter the picture) increases their already bloated wealth. One of the pillars of their rule are the sorry collective of cult leaders who make their living preaching hate and promoting violence.

Those are the same people who support US-Brit-Canadian wars of agression against Palestine. Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It's important to remember that people like the directors of TorontoPride and their US counterparts like HRC many of the state Equality groups are simple minded lap dogs of the right; pampered, self-appointed, overpaid bureaucrats who put partisan and personal interests ahead of the needs of the fight for equality, here and abroad.

Bill, if you use your imagination, you can take any two things in the universe and create the impression that they're inextricably connected. Conspiracy theorists have been doing it for centuries.

To echo what Eli wrote below, whatever my opinions about the Israel-Palestine issue, war or wages might be, they simply have no direct connection to gay rights. They're only GLBT issues to the extent that they're issues for people in general. In other words, that means there's a time and a place for them, but a Gay Pride parade isn't it.

And St. Patrick's Day parades? That's not at all a comparable issue. That's a case of parade organizers excluding GLBT people who wanted to celebrate their Irish heritage simply because they're GLBT. In the case of Toronto Pride, organizers excluded a group that wanted to turn a Gay Pride parade into a forum for advocacy on a political issue that, while important, has no intrinsic connection to GLBT rights.

As for Eli's "absurd" claim about the situation of GLBT people in Palestine, it's a well-documented fact that anti-GLBT violence and abuse are pervasive in the P.A. territories, inflicted both by families and the government, and many GLBTs end of fleeing to Israel. Read this: http://www.indegayforum.org/news/show/27154.html

the group of folks involved in QuAIA are almost like a who's who amongst queer canadian activists. hangers-on?

didn't you go to journalism school alaric? you could at least google their names...

I don't care who they are. The bottom line is, they're using gay pride to advance a political agenda that is, at best, tenuously related to gay rights in general. To paraphrase my earlier comment, why not invite a group called "Queers for Filling Potholes on Mulberry Lane" to march as well? You could easily make the case that the potholes are a GLBT issue because hey, we run over those potholes too!

It's hard not to see a pattern here. You "radical queer" types basically want to take your own pet issues and try to tack them onto GLBT rights. I'm not knocking on your for caring about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, gentrification or what-have-you, but when I go to pride, I want to see tacky floats, Dykes on Bikes, hot guys in Speedos and advocacy of ACTUAL GLBT issues like same-sex marriage, ENDA and bullying in schools. Go have your Far-Left Bummer Fest elsewhere...

Here's a very brief history lesson for anyone who claims that Pride is not political: June 1969. One of the most queer, political, and revolutionary moments in queer history. Anyone who claims that Pride is not political is right only in one sense: it has had its political history erased in the last couple of decades.

Fortunately, as Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer's recent piece on Bilerico points out, many are now reclaiming Pride as a political event:

http://www.bilerico.com/2010/06/long_live_queerbomb.php

As for: "I want to see real GLBT rights issues promoted, not the pet issue of some far-left politico who happens to be "queer.""
Translation: "I only want MY politics represented. Anything else is rubbish."
If Pride is to be truly political - and some of us seem to be in agreement about that here - why not let *everyone's* politics be expressed? There are Christian gay groups that march in Pride, there are gay synagogues that march in Pride, there are sex workers' rights groups that march in Pride - how is any of that *not* political? How are marriage and the military - the MILITARY - and hate crimes legislation - all of which are advocated for by queers and politicians sitting on the floats and looking for an easy vote - not political?

Perhaps it's best to cease plunging our heads in the sand. Let the discussions finally begin - perhaps then we might actually have real political discussions about issues like marriage and the military.


First of all, I hope you're not implying that I said pride isn't or oughtn't be political.

I'm all for having various GLBT religious, racial and ethnic groups march in the pride parade, as well as GLBT sex workers, GLBT people with HIV/AIDS, GLBT people with disabilities, GLBT veterans and so on.

But notice how I put "GLBT" in front of each of those items. Why? Because pride events are supposed to recognize and celebrate GLBT people and culture, not provide a forum for the airing of grievances about political issues that have no direct or intrinsic relevance to GLBT people.

No, you're clearly among those who think that pride should be political - I made that clear, if you read carefully.

But here's where you differ from others - your definition of what counts as queer politics. You can't hope to divorce someone's national identity or regional politics so easily from their sexual identity. Lots of people have forbidden queers from entrance into events on the grounds that sexual orientation is too "political" for them. Queer Palestinians would, according to the logic you've set forth, be allowed to march but only as long as they promised to be very, very good and not mention that icky little conflict. The same could be said for Kashmiri queers marching and making their politics on Kashmir clear. But queer Kashmiris and queer Palestinians are, like it or not, defined by what is going on in their homelands - you cannot ask them to be merely gay for the event and to forget about their political lives.

Let's take the example of St. Patrick's pride, raised earlier. Here's your summation of the issue: "That's a case of parade organizers excluding GLBT people who wanted to celebrate their Irish heritage simply because they're GLBT." So, I assume you think that's wrong, correct (maybe I'm wrong there)? But let's look at it from the perspective of the St. Patrick's parade organisers: Being gay has nothing to do with being Irish. If you're gay, you can't be in the parade - as visibly gay people - because that would be a distraction, un-Irish, immoral, whatever. You're taking away from the dignity etc. of the parade by showing up as queers.

Most queers who protest the St. Patrick's parade for not including queers argue that queer Irish should be allowed in. On what grounds would that be justified, if we were to go with your logic? So, why shouldn't we allow a group like QuAIA
in?

All of this of course evades the real issue pointed to by Alex and Ryan in their blog posts - that TP caved in to very specific POLITICAL interests in determining that "Israeli apartheid" could not be used. Given the manifestly political intentions of those who brought about the ban, given the threats of yanking corporate sponsorship, it's fair to say that this whole fine mess is a GLBT political issue.

I suspect this same issue would not have raised nearly as much attention in the US - we've managed to erase any links between sexual and political identity and remain mired in the idea that those are somehow separate. Much of that has to do with the fact that most Americans don't know what it's like to be queer in a political situation that's different from our relative safety and our separation of the political and the personal.

Hence the erroneous idea there are actually any "political issues that have no direct or intrinsic relevance to GLBT people." All political issues have direct or intrinsic relevance to queers - and if you are going to attempt to refute that, please don't repeat or mimic your previous statement about "Queers for Filling Potholes on Mulberry Lane." Anyone claiming a political identity would do so on much more serious grounds. If we are going to argue about politics, let's not descend into childishness.

But we're not talking about an organization of GLBT Palestinians, Kashmiris or Irish marching in the parade and using it as an opportunity to call attention to the situations of Palestinians, Kashmiris or Ulster Catholics. We're talking about an organization of people who basically take a political issue and try to make it a GLBT issue by slapping a "queer" label on it, even though that issue does not have any significantly greater effect on GLBT people than it does on straight people, any more than gentrification, global warming, animal rights or the potholes on Mulberry Lane.

The effort by QuAIA and the facile notion that "all political issues have direct or intrinsic relevance to queers" are little more than attempts to hijack the GLBT rights movement and use it as a vehicle to push an outside political agenda.

Seriously, if things like gentrification and the supposed Apartheid afoot in Israel bother you more than the legal second-class citizenship of GLBT people in the United States, then fine. If you're so consumed by opposition to the military-industrial complex that you're indifferent to the suffering of a woman who joined the Army because it was the only job available in her economically depressed town and risks being discharged if anyone discovers she's a lesbian; or if you're similarly indifferent to the plight of someone who was denied the right to see his dying partner in the hospital or had to split up with a foreign-national partner because the two are unable to marry; and you're sufficiently self-absorbed to think they derive comfort from your socialist eschatology and dreams of a future Candyland utopia, then you're welcome to your views. By all means, fight for your causes.

But please don't try to convince me that every single little issue out there is inherently a GLBT issue or that laws and policies that are specifically designed to discriminate against and oppress GLBT people and cause visible and tangible harm to us are mere "distractions," as you once put it.

As mildly amusing as it is to watch this game of rhetorical hopscotch, where someone skips indelicately between one point and another in a futile effort to not be pinned down within flagrant contradictions, I'll just end here by noting that the above comment makes the points for the rest of us.

Rather than going through every word of the comment, all of which simply proves my point, I'll simply alight upon this and then flit away:

"If you're so consumed by opposition to the military-industrial complex that you're indifferent to the suffering of a woman who joined the Army because it was the only job available in her economically depressed town and risks being discharged if anyone discovers she's a lesbian.." Right there is exactly what several of us have been saying in opposition to queers who fight to be in the war and the military, and why we so oppose the military-industrial complex - uncritically supporting the same deflects attention from the economic reasons that people, including many vulnerable queers, are in fact pushed into war.

It's also *either* the reason why the group should in fact be allowed to be in Toronto Pride *or* the reason they should be excluded. Which is it? You can't choose to politicise some issues, and only in the way *you* want to, and expect to get away with it. Once again, with feeling: you cannot separate the issues of gentrification and Palestine from the issues of queers because, contrary to popular American sentiment, there are plenty of queers who are being gentrified out of their neighborhoods (now being replaced by the very "gay ghettoes" through which Pride makes its way in large urban centres) and plenty of queer Palestinians who cannot separate their political lives from their sexual ones.

Clearly, my previous comment stands unrefuted.

As to the issue of partners in hospitals, I urge you to remember that that has significantly changed in recent weeks. The beautiful thing is that no one need be denied visitations from friends, not just romantic partners.

I can see that you are now reverting to the failed practice of yanking out old quotations out of context and throwing out non sequiturs. Not to mention the old standby - accusing the opposition of ill feeling or lack of emotions because one no longer has any actual points to make. So I shall step away before further vituperation is hurled in my direction. And, besides, I think all sides in this matter have made their points - some in less contradictory fashion than others. I'm just glad this topic is finally being discussed in the open and readers can make up their own minds.

Adieu.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 9, 2010 4:24 PM

Alaric, I can't imagine why you'd deny it but the US wars against Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghanis and Pakistanis have a direct and terrible connection to the deaths of our LGBT brothers and sisters over there. "We are them and they are us" in the most fundamental aspects of our lives. We have far more in common with our brothers and sisters around the world than we have with our fellow citizens. "We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately..." (B. Franklin)

Palestinian gays mistakenly fleeing the islamists to the colony are arrested and blackmailed by the zionist police and if they refuse to cooperate handed over to the P.A. or Hamas to be killed as spies. Why Varnell pretends to be unaware of that policy after it was exposed by the Jewish Forward(1) is something he'll have to account for.

Police and militia of the US run Iraqi quisling regime(2) routinely torture and butcher hundreds of GLBT folks annually. The killer ayatollahs(3) of Iran use US belligerence as an excuse to murder LGBT folks, students, feminists and trade unionists to maintain their theocratic dictatorship.

1 http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/jewish-forward-admits-not-a-word-dershowitz-says-is-true/
2 http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/
3 http://www.irqr.net/

Wages are directly tied to the need for anti-discrimination laws like ENDA. If you can't see that connection you must be very 'well off' indeed. I see it every day of my life.

Eli's absurd claim, aping the zionist 'party line', is that all Palestinians are anti-gay bigots. Your response has nothing to do with that. Varnell is an apologist for the zionist colony who either ignores the reality there or is totally uninformed.

What links the bigotry of the St. Pat's Day Parade catholic bigots and that of the 'leaders' of Toronto Pride is their anti-democratic approach. I can understand banning government and corporate floats or making them pay huge fees but not those of bona fide GLBT organizations. The fact that they identify as Queer is a good thing, not a bad thing.

Palestine for the Palestinians.

QuAIA is simply a pack of hangers-on trying to exploit pride in order to push a far-left political agenda that has little or nothing to do with GLBT rights

Are you seriously arguing that corporate sponsored floats that you admit are little more than huge purchased advertising is more appropriate to a gay pride event than a political group marching in the parade? When did Pride become as non-political as possible?

I remember when showing your Pride was important because we had gains we needed to make as a community instead of being important so companies can shill to sell us alcohol and cheap powertools.

Are you seriously arguing that corporate sponsored floats that you admit are little more than huge purchased advertising is more appropriate to a gay pride event than a political group marching in the parade? When did Pride become as non-political as possible?

Yes, I am. Don't get me wrong: I'm no fan of garish corporate advertising or its pervasiveness, and I'm way too snobby about alcohol to let a drop of Budweiser pass my lips. But one reason why these parades are able to happen is because of funding by companies like Budweiser. Plus, a lot of these companies are big donors to GLBT organizations and have strong protections in place for GLBT employees. And besides, how is Budweiser's or Home Depot's presence at a pride parade any different from the corporate presence you see at any major parade?

Pride parades are ultimately political, but I want to see real GLBT rights issues promoted, not the pet issue of some far-left politico who happens to be "queer."

Bill, this sort of ideologically masturbatory blather is both unbearable in its own right and is irrelevant to the essential purpose of Pride events. Your excessive use of "movement" jargon aside, the torment I suffered, first as a gay teenager and then as a gay man, has not been at the hands of "the looter class", nor could I identify the teenagers and later grown men who spat "faggot" at me as "the same people who support US-Brit-Canadian wars of aggression against Palestine, Irag, Afghanistan and Pakistan." Frankly, I don't think they could have found those places on a map. Sorry, Bill, but the Palestinian struggle, whatever I may feel about it, is not my own, and the tortured attempts of people like you to hijack the gay movement and leash it to your own pet causes do not make it so. By all means, march yourselves from here to Inner Mongoloia waving your "QuAIA" banners as you go, but don't attepmt to drag me and other gay people along with you. We don't have this desperate need to feel "relevant" in your terms. Oh, and by the way: the overwhelming majority of Palestinans, the ones with whom you feel we have so much solidarity? They think that all of us, including you QuAIA-ers, are a bunch of disgusting faggots.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 9, 2010 7:52 AM

You don't have to be relevant and you don't have to oppose ethnic cleansing and apartheid if you don't want to, Eli. Nobody cares.

Just don't try to stop people who can connect the dots.

Please don't make remarks like "the overwhelming majority of Palestinans... think that all of us, including you QuAIA-ers, are a bunch of disgusting faggots." Unless of course you have polling data to back up that absurd claim. And does that data include druze and christer Palestinians or is the affliction limited to islamists or has it spread to all muslims and what about secular Palestinians?

Rick Sours | June 9, 2010 9:47 AM

Bill, thank you for your extremely timely and insightful posting. The silence regarding this issue is unbelievable.

The connection to corporate sponsorship, as I understand it, is that Pride Toronto lost federal funding this year, was threatened with losing city funding over this, and there were rumors that corporate sponsorship was going to be pulled over this. I don't know how true those rumors are.

Anyway, I'd just point out that the connection to Canada's hate speech laws (which are actually provincial, if I'm not mistaken) don't apply here, which is why a process against QAIA was never formally started. Instead, the city said that it would pull its funding from Pride because of its own anti-discrimination policy. That never happened since Pride Toronto kicked QAIA out before the city could decide on the matter, probably because the feds dropped funding for the event in the interim for unrelated reasons (they cite budgetary, some accused them of homophobia, I don't know who's right).

The connection to hate speech laws, as I wrote in my post on this topic a few weeks ago (so thanks, Conrad, since I just didn't have it in me to post an update!), is the nonchalant acceptance of censorship by the people on both sides of this equation. The question there isn't whether speech should be censored (or whether only PT should be deciding who to censor instead of the city), but who they should censor. You've got to wonder if years of hate speech legislation has normalized that reaction.

And Rick, it's Conrad who wrote this, not Bil. Thank him!

Side note: The same thing happened, but in the opposite direction, in Madrid:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3901785,00.html

Let them in the parade and let people along the parade route judge for themselves. I've booed and shouted opinions at a few organizations in gay pride parades.

Do we have to act as if everyone with a sign in a gay pride parade has to follow a certain script?

Marc Paige | June 9, 2010 8:00 PM

Bil Perdue's "Secular, socialist Palestinian state" would be a state that torments and demonizes LGBT people. There are a lot of bad things that both the Israelis and Palestinians have done, and are doing. Both peoples have blood on their hands.
That said, it would be really weird to have a group at a gay pride parade marching against Israel (which is better than the US, but not as good as Canada, in terms of LGBT rights), and for the Palestinians, who at the moment terrorize and murder people because they are gay.
Toronto Pride IS NOT the place for the complicated debate over how to settle the Israel/Palestine crisis. Two peoples, two states remains the only solution. Bil Perdue gets the Helen Thomas hate award!

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 10, 2010 5:01 AM

Page is dead wrong.

Out of nowhere comes a prediction that a secular state would be religiously anti-LGBT, a claim as silly as any I've heard since Eli's absurdity. When the ANC was given the reins of power in SA they added LGBT protections to their Constitution, putting to rest the racist lie that independent African states are backward (unless American hatemongers like Rick Warren are in play.)

Then we are treated to a deliberate distortion of history designed to justify the monstrous assaults of zionist thugs on civilians. Page tries to equate the terrorist activities of the Palmach/Irgun/IDF gangsters with the self defense efforts of Palestinians. It's like saying that the African National Congress, the Algerian Jabhat al-Ta?r?r al-Wa?an? or the Vietnamese Quân Gi?i phóng had 'blood on their hands' because they killed invading, occupying soldiers of European or EuroAmerican colonial armies.

The few civil rights laws passed in Canada don't cut it. However well intentioned they are pretty much meaningless in societies ruled by an economic elite, a looter class. Real political democracy is not possible without real economic democracy, or workers power or socialism. We won't get our rights from laws.

In terms of its treatment of GLBT folks the zionist bunkerstadt is more on a par with Turkey than any North American or European state. Except that fewer

Palestine for the Palestinians

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 10, 2010 5:04 AM

Helen Thomas is a hero for telling the truth. And so is Desmond Tutu, who says: "People are scared in this country (the US), to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful - very powerful. Well, so what?

"The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists.

"Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust..."

Apparently Helen Thomas' 'hate crime, in the eyes of those who routinely ignore the crimes of the IDF thugs was to suggest emigration to Germany. However, Jewish emigrants from the CIS, the former USSR, are flooding into Germany, wary of getting caught in a deathtrap in zionist occupied Palestine.

The zionists are not happy about it.

From EJP, the European Jewish Press:"Since the fall of the Berlin wall, about 200,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union have come to Germany as contingency refugees, those who could prove Jewish ancestry and therefore gained a status that almost guaranteed a visa to Germany... An Interior Ministry source confirmed the accepted belief that Germany has become the country with the fastest growth rate of a Jewish population since 1990.

“Jews from the former Soviet Union have only two places where they can go to relatively easily. That is Israel or Germany...”

From the New York Times:
"This change (a German tightening of immigration laws for Jews) was welcomed by Israel, which has complained for years that Germany's encouragement of Jewish immigration had the effect of discouraging former Soviet Jews from going to Israel itself. Indeed, last year for the first time, more former Soviet Jews, many of them no doubt attracted by Germany's generous social services network, settled in this country than in Israel.

"It shouldn't come as a surprise that at the end of the day Israel would like to see the Jews immigrate to Israel, not to Germany," Shimon Stein, Israel's ambassador to Germany, said in an interview."

Helen Thomas has 200,000 very relieved Jewish accomplices in her 'hate crime.'

Palestine for the Palestinians

Rick Sours | June 10, 2010 7:38 AM

very well stated!!!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 9, 2010 10:49 PM

Having marched in my first Gay Pride Parade in 1972 in Chicago let me give you some perspective. Ours is no more, no less, than a civil rights movement. When we can logically align with overseas allies in areas of common interest (or influence our government to use their leverage to assist all human rights abuses of every type) is should be done.

But, this is Canada, they have their GLBT civil rights and we do not. The need for these parades at all is questionable there or here. I find no source of "pride" in what the local TV stations choose to air. Whatever is most outrageous will be on Fox with a worldwide audience.

What we need are rallies and speakers not glitter, six foot head dresses, floats and general party time. We need ideas exchanged and legislative plans coordinated. If you do not wish to lead or follow get out of the way. I believe I last attended a GLBT Pride march in Chicago in 1985 when I found it was all glitter and no substance. It has become too corporate and vacant of ideas.

Well, since Bill Purdue is still seething over "Eli's absurdity" two days on, let's give him something else to chew on. Bill's linguistic contortions are right from the playbook of the extreme anti-gay religious right. Groups like the AFA and the FRC never use the term "gay" because, as they inanely point out, "homosexuals aren't happy." And when they write about homosexual "marriage" and homosexual "adoption", they always use quotation marks, because not to do so, even in print, might somehow grant legitimacy to the concepts they suggest. And then we have Bill, similarly speaking of gay Palestinians escaping from islamists to the "colony" (meaning: Israel), being blackmailed by "the Zionist (meaning: Israeli)police", and other abuses by the "zionist colony" (meaning: Israel). "The European colony" is another contortion Bill uses to signify "Israel."
Well, Israel is a big, fat reality in spite of Bill's silly refusal to refer to it as such. Such nonsense is meat and potatoes for doctrinaire extremists. Left-wing or right-wing, an ideologue is an ideologue is an ideologue. If the Israel/Palestine nightmare is ever resolved, it will be done by hard-nosed Israelis and Palestininians hammering things out, people who at least have enough respect and realism to call each other what they call themselves, not by absurd cause-mongering doctrinaire foreign dilletantes who can't even to bring themselves to call Israelis Israelis, people more in love with their own ideological purity than with an actual solution. I mean, I actually have no problem with you and the QuAIA demonstrating at Pride Toronto. You can flounce around in your Kaffiyehs and wave your strident signs and afterward bask in the afterglow of your magnificent doctrinaire purity. Just realize that you won't affect realities on the the ground in Israel/Palestine one iota. Only Israelis and Palestinians can do that.

Well, I'm just being sarcastic and snotty as hell, Bill, so you have no reason to pay any attention to me all. However, I would suggest your paying close attention to the sincere, beautifully written piece above by PanoramaIsland. He explores some of the complexities of this issue from the Jewish side in a cogent and respectful way. Yes, I know you dissed it anyway, but you might want to take another look. You might also want to be aware (I'm sure you already are, actually) that about half of Israel's Jewish population consists of Jewish refugees from Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa. This makes your "European colony" locution not only silly and disrespectful, but also inaccurate.

Well, I've been snarky enough for one day. Peace.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 10, 2010 8:31 PM

Emo is wrong.

The zionist bunkerstadt has no legitimacy. If was founded by terrorist thugs and is run by their descendents.

The zionist colony is a parasitic client state of the United States. To date US military and other backing for the zionist bunkerstadt amounts to well over $100 billion dollars.

That will continue under Obama who "affirmed at the June 2008 AIPAC meeting that he's 'a true friend of Israel,' felt he was 'among friends,' stressed that 'the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable today, tomorrow and forever,' and, in fact, 'as president, I will work with you to ensure that this bond is strengthened.' He hasn't disappointed." (Stephen Lendman, www.progressiveradionetwork.com/stephen-lendman )

The only thing that will save the lives of the zionist colonists and their dependents is to learn to accommodate like the South African racists and colonists did.

Palestine for the Palestinians