Toronto’s Pride parade began as a strategy in attracting widespread popular support, in a time-honoured, peaceful, way, for gay rights — not only in Canada, but everywhere. As time went by, social acceptance and legal parity became a reality here. The tone of the parade and the surrounding spin-off events then became celebratory for most participants, and a source of vast entertainment for spectators from near and far — not to mention an important source of revenue for Toronto coffers.
That changed some years ago when a rabidly anti-Israel group, Queers Against Israel Apartheid (QuAIA), seized the occasion of the parade to showcase its political hostility, and to cast an ugly shadow over the whole parade. Gay rights activist Martin Gladstone made a documentary of the 2009 parade, called Reclaiming our Pride. In it the hatred on the faces of many QuAIA and D[ykes]AIA marchers is palpable. One saw swastikas on T-shirts characterizing Israel as a Nazi state, and heard menacing chants, like “Fist by fist, blow by blow, apartheid state has got to go.” The film offered persuasive evidence that QuAIA were not 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...Memo to QuAIA: back in the day a group was gripped by an irrational obsession with Jewry's allegedly fathomless evils. You might want to think about that before donning its symbol.
Update: Do you think a group called Ku Klux Klanners Against Israeli Apartheid (KKKAIA) be allowed to march in the Pride parade?