Toronto threatens gay parade’s funding over anti-Israel group
(JTA) — The city of Toronto has threatened to withdraw funding from a gay pride parade if an anti-Israel group is allowed to participate.
The city believes that its anti-discrimination policy was violated by the participation of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in the 2009 Pride Toronto parade, to which the city gave $121,000, the Toronto Star reported Monday.
The city reportedly received complaints about the use of the phrase “Israeli apartheid.”
Pride Toronto officials told the newspaper in an interview hours before the city’s general manager of economic development and culture made the funding cut threat that it had not been decided whether the group would be allowed to march in the 2010 parade.
The threat follows the announcement and cancellation last month of a Pride policy that would have parade signs reviewed by an ethics committee.
Elle Flanders, a Jewish member of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, objected to the city comparing a political opinion on apartheid to hate speech.
“They’re trying to compare it to hate speech, and I find it deeply offensive, as somebody who’s been fighting human rights battles for a really long time, to hear that criticism of the State of Israel is somehow hate speech. No way,” Flanders told the Star.