Sunday, June 27, 2010

"QuAIA" Controversy Continues: City Councillor Threatens To Revoke Funding To Toronto Pride

June 26, 2010

[Toronto, Ontario, Canada] Several prominent Jewish organizations struck back angrily yesterday at Pride Toronto's decision to reverse its ban on the phrase "Israeli apartheid" and allow Queers Against Israeli Apartheid to march in the parade next weekend, calling the decision shameful, shocking and appalling. "Pride is on its way to becoming a battleground, not a celebration," said Martin Gladstone, a gay Jewish activist and filmmaker who spoke at a news conference this morning held by the Canadian Jewish Congress, the UJA Federation and the Canada-Israel Committee condemning the hateful message they say QuAIA is spreading. "The inclusion of these groups turns Pride into an anti-Israel gong show that creates a punch-counterpunch culture," Mr. Gladstone added.

Mayoralty candidate and city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti called for Pride Toronto to reimburse the city its $250,000 funding for associating with a group that "spreads hatred," and said the board's decision to reverse a ban against the phrase "Israeli apartheid" was planned all along. He says he will bring forward a motion to council on July 5 to revoke Pride Toronto's funding in the future and ask organizers to reimburse this year's grant retroactively if they allow QuAIA to march in this year's July 4 Pride parade.

Earlier this year, Pride Toronto banned the phrase "Israeli apartheid" from the parade, which meant QuAIA couldn't march in the parade. After a backlash from the community, calling for free speech and the abolition of censorship in the parade, Pride Toronto's board lifted the ban on Thursday and said it wasn't up to them to decide if groups violated the city's antidiscrimination policy.