We are Israeli queers trying to bring about an end to Israel’s apartheid and occupation of the Palestinians in any legitimate non-violent way open to us, including supporting the Palestinian-led BDS campaign. We are appalled by attempts made at the City of Toronto to use censorship measures against the pride parade’s participation of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA). We wish to pledge our support to QuAIA in this time of unjust political persecution for their courageous standing for Palestinian rights and against any form of oppression.
It has become custom among pro-Israelis to falsely accuse BDS promoters of practicing censorship, while actually all BDS promoters do is ask artists and intellectuals to act on their own conscience and political motivation. On the other hand, BDS promoters and other human rights solidarity groups and activists are the ones who face real threats and acts of censorship, directed against them, involving authority and budgeting mechanisms. Perhaps people at the City of Toronto are taking their lead from the Israeli Knesset, who recently has passed another one of its apartheid laws against Palestinian citizens of Israel, known as the Nakba law. The Nakba law prohibits government budgets or sponsorship for organizations who commemorate the 1948 ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by Israel.
In this atmosphere of silencing and denial, in Israel and across the Western world, it is of vital importance to remind people the atrocities that are performed by Israel and encourage them to get involved, as done by QuAIA. Israel still rejects the Palestinian refugees’ right of return as stipulated by UN resolution 194. It violates numerous international laws and court of justice decisions in its settlements and apartheid wall enterprises, confiscating Palestinian lands and resources and segregating populations. Israel applies a cruel siege on Gaza which puts the population on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. It executes Palestinians without trial, imprisons thousands, destroys homes and terrorizes communities.
It is due to these crimes and atrocities that QuAIA is desperately needed in Toronto’s pride parade, doing their indispensable solidarity work against all forms of censorship and oppression. QuAIA’s work is in line with queer struggles going on also within Israel. These struggles join the struggle of the Palestinians, a struggle that should be shared by all queers to end oppression and injustice.
Israeli Queers for Palestine