Toronto Pride receives funding despite Queers Against Israeli Apartheid participation
The term pinkwashing generally refers to the use of Israel’s “gay-friendly” image to distract from human rights abuses in Palestine. But it can also describe the censoring of Israel/Palestine discussions within queer communities, claiming the issue is too divisive or overly political. The events unfolding recently in Toronto are an example of the latter.
After the Toronto Pride festival refused to ban Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from its parade, City Council attempted to deny funding for the event. But as the Toronto Star reported in May, City Council has no legal grounds on which to refuse funds. The Star cites a report by city solicitor Anna Kinastowski:
The term ‘Israeli Apartheid’ does not violate the city’s human rights policy, does not appear to violate the Ontario Human Rights Code, and does not appear to constitute ‘hate’ as the (Supreme) Court has interpreted it and would therefore appear to fall within the realm of potentially ‘offensive’ yet protected speech.
Councillors from the Israel lobby have tried desperately to exclude the group, even proposing a “diversity bonus” to Pride if it agrees to remove QuAIA from the upcoming parade. But today, in a 32–3 vote, the Council agreed to fund Pride in full, even raising its funding to $140,000 (a $16,000 increase from last year). Mayor Rob Ford was one of the only three to give a dissenting vote.