Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) say they plan to take part in this summer’s Toronto Pride parade, according to the Toronto Star.
Last year, QuAIA decided not to march after Toronto Mayor Rob Ford threatened to defund Pride week should the group participate. Ford has gone on record calling QuAIA’s message, “hate speech.”
“Rob Ford wants to use us as an excuse to cut Pride funding, even though he has always opposed funding the parade, long before we showed up,” QuAIA spokesperson Elle Flanders said last year.
On Tuesday, QuAIA member Tony Souza told The Star, “We decided we didn’t want to be the scapegoat for Pride not getting funding from the city. But this year, we feel, well, it’s time to go back.
“We are a queer group in the city. It so happens that the issue we’re talking about is controversial, but that doesn’t mean that the work that we do, which is basically for justice for people, should not be celebrated.”
QuAIA’s website explains that the organization was formed to “work in solidarity with queers in Palestine and Palestine solidarity movements around the world.
“Today, in response to increasing criticism of its occupation of Palestine, Israel is cultivating an image of itself as an oasis of gay tolerance in the Middle East, a practice that is called pinkwashing. As queers, we recognize that homophobia exists in Israel, Palestine, and across all borders.”
The website states “the struggle for sexual rights cannot come at the price of other rights...Maybe not, but in kvetching about something that does not exist--apartheid in Israel--instead of something that does exist--the oppression and state-sanctioned murder of queers (for being queer--a criminal offence) in parts of the Muslim world--"the struggle" does come at the expense of sanity and common sense.