The Hypocrisy of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid...
Jonathan Kay was there yesterday to have a look...
Anyone expecting some sort of massive gay protest against the police, stemming from last month’s G20 fracas, would have been disappointed. The officers on duty were all smiles. And there was a line-up of parade-goers getting their pictures taken with them. Some of these folks leapt into the officers’ arms, cabaret-style — without any fear of brutality. The only scintilla of anti-cop militancy came in the form of a small group bearing “F*ck the police” signs and — more memorably — a group member wearing a police outfit, gimped out on all fours. The activist holding the gimp-cop’s leash was herself wearing a Balaklava (see photo, below).
This last black-blocesque detail seemed to offend some of the onlookers — which is saying something, given the anything-goes spirit of the parade. When I stumbled on the black-clad group shortly before the parade start at 2pm, they were milling about like lost souls: Apparently, the “Queers Against Israeli Apartheid” (QuAIA) folks had asked them to get out of their contingent — because the balaclava sent completely the wrong message. (So much for QuAIA’s ostensibly puritanical dedication to “free speech.”) At the time I came by, a confused parade marshal was trying to send the blocistes back into the QuAIA mix. “We can’t,” responded one of them. “Apparently, they don’t like masks …”
Speaking of QuAIA, my general impression is that, for all the overheated rhetoric deployed on both sides, the forces of Zionism and anti-Zionism fought themselves to a draw on Sunday. Yes, QuAIA brought out a few hundred Israel haters — marching under a variety of CUPE, Trotskyist, and dissident-Jewery banners. But just a hundred yards away, an equally large, somewhat noisier contingent of unabashed Zionists were marching under the banner of Kulanu (Hebrew for “all of us”), with Israeli flags aplenty, as well as placards listing (in great detail) all the ways in which Israel is one of the world’s gay-rights leaders. They were joined by a few more militant types from the Jewish Defence League, including a woman dressed in a faux-Burqua.
I’m guessing that the vast majority of the people who came to Gay Pride really had no appetite for Middle East geopolitics. But QuAIA started this fight, and good on the organized Jewish community for taking up the gauntlet. In an ideal world, government and corporate subsidies wouldn’t be going to fuel anti-Israeli bigotry. But the next best scenario is for anti-Israeli hysteria to be rebutted directly and forcefully. And that’s exactly what happened on Sunday. A harbinger of Gay Pride parades to come, no doubt.
Despite the noisy show of support for QuAIA from some gay activists, the group has a small constituency thanks to its extremely radical posture. (A few days ago, the group declared on its web site that Canada is a “colonial” country, “which the apartheid state of South Africa was modeled after” — and urged QuAIA supporters not to celebrate Canada Day). The primary effect of its campaign likely will be to strengthen gay-straight solidarity within the Jewish community (aside from certain very noisy anti-Israel Jewish lesbians, such as 9/11 conspiracy theorist and Islamist sympathizer Diana Ralph, and her pals at Independent Jewish Voices). On Sunday, gay and straight Jews alike bonded as they sang the national anthems of those two notorious “apartheid” states — Canada and Israel. All thanks to the unifying power of the Gay Pride parade.