***image2***Overcoming attacks by Zionist groups like B’nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) marched in Toronto’s Pride and Dyke March held on June 29th. Leading the QuAIA contingent were several original members of the Simon Nkoli Anti-Apartheid Committee, a gay activist group that fought South African apartheid in the 1980s.
The Pride parade is the city’s largest tourist event of the year, attracting over one million people.
Zionist groups also personally attacked Pride Grand Marshall El-Farouk Khaki for alleged anti-semitism. However, according to the Toronoto Sun Pride executive director Tracey Sandilands said Khaki was elected parade marshal in a majority vote — honoured for “humanitarianism” and helping many gay refugees get into Canada. “We’re thrilled to have him,” added Sandilands.
Toronto’s Pride parade is usually peaceful, but there were some minor incidents this year. Rabble TV reported that while the majority of onlookers were supportive and joined in chants against the occupation, at one point a glass bottle was thrown at the anti-apartheid contingent, shattering on the ground and leaving some members of the group with injuries. One member of the group had her camera smashed by a pro-Zionist observer.
A public struggle had taken place in the months leading up to the march, with Zionist organizations lobbying Pride’s leadership to exclude QuAIA. In addition to blatant accusations of anti-Semitism, those advocating exclusion argued that Pride should be a “nonpolitical” event. These views were echoed by some of the march’s organizers and an internal debate appears to have ensued. At one point mainstream media reported that the Pride organizing committee had agreed to ban QuAIA. But in the end Pride Toronto refused to exclude the group. A Zionist contingent was also allowed to march.
Rinaldo Walcott, a queer professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, spoke to CBC Radio: “This year the theme of Pride is global human rights,” he said. “So Pride itself has made a political claim. If we’re going to think about global human rights, that means thinking about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”