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Pride Toronto bans use of “Israeli apartheid”: Rae

UPDATE: “Pride has voted to ban the use of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid and will make the announcement at a press conference on Tuesday,” city councillor Kyle Rae told the Toronto Sun.


EARLIER: In the Friday-before-a-holiday-weekend’s oddest news leak, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid may or may not have been banned from the Toronto Pride parade on July 4.

Artist Chelsey Lichtman broke the news on Twitter around 3pm, but QuAIA complains that they haven’t actually even applied to be in the parade yet, which makes rumours of a 4-3 vote against them by the Pride board premature.

Today’s news follows threats against city funding for Pride Toronto by city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, defending Jewish groups who consider the “Israeli apartheid” label offensive.

Speaking for QuAIA, educator Tim McCaskell says, “I’ve been involved in Pride since 1981 and this is unbelievable. Who has ever heard of Pride telling groups they can’t march in the parade? Pride Toronto has become more of a creature belonging to a city that wants to sell tourism and corporations that want to sell to gay people. They’ve lost any connection to the community or diversity,” McCaskell says, “but I for one intend to march regardless."

Pride Toronto did not return Xtra’s requests for clarification, but anonymous sources say that only the phrase “Israeli apartheid” is to be banned, not the actual marchers themselves, and that Pride Toronto will hold a press conference on Tuesday.

Writer David Demchuk, one of the first to criticize Pride Toronto’s aborted sign-vetting policy back in April, says the issues QuAIA has raised remain, whatever label is or is not attached to them. He jokes, “I’m going to start working on my sign: ‘Queers Against Apartheid in, You Know, That Country.’"

(Photo: Participants in the 2009 Toronto Pride parade. Credit: Peter Bevan)

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