Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Retiring

February 26, 2015

After seven years of Palestine solidarity work in LGBTQ communities, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid will officially retire at the end of the month.

QuAIA was formed in 2008, after a public forum during Israeli Apartheid Week at the University of Toronto where concerns were raised about “pinkwashing”: Israel’s use of gay rights to divert international attention away from the state’s violation of Palestinian human rights. The small activist group was propelled into international celebrity after the pro-Israel lobby attempted to have Pride Toronto’s funding revoked in order to silence Palestine solidarity voices at the 2010 festival.

Over the last seven years, QuAIA’s accomplishments include:

*Educating Canadians about the conditions of occupation and apartheid policies in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

*Winning rulings under the City of Toronto’s Anti-discrimination Policy, Pride Toronto’s Dispute Resolution Process (under Ontario Arbitration Act), and at an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, that the term Israeli apartheid is a legitimate form of political expression, despite aggressive attempts by the Israel lobby to brand criticism of Israeli government policy and actions as hate speech.

*Making the terms “Israeli apartheid” and “pinkwashing” household words in queer communities in Toronto and around the globe.

*Fighting attacks by several city politicians and lobbyists on Pride funding.

*Sparking a community discussion about freedom of expression, censorship and politics at Pride, which led to a major rejuvenation of the festival and challenged the move to turn Pride into a corporate-driven spectacle geared to tourists.

*Hosting forums, screenings and educational events that built connections and coalitions with other movements for social justice (feminists, anti-Tar Sands activists, First Nations, etc.)

*Inspiring the formation of other QuAIA groups in queer communities around the world, and promoting dialogue and action on transnational queer politics.

Over the past year, however, the deteriorating situation in the Middle East, Canada’s involvement in attempts to suppress the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel and other pressing issues have pulled activist energies in many directions. Most of the original members who came together during QuAIA’s formative years are now working within a variety of fields and organizations within Toronto and internationally, stretching the small group’s resources to continue in its current form.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make,” explained group member, Tim McCaskell. “But we decided that retiring QuAIA allows us all to develop new strategies for supporting the Palestine solidarity movement and to make new links across oppressions in our communities.”

“QuAIA did exactly what an activist group should do,” said early spokesperson Elle Flanders. “We organized, we shifted public opinion, we raised awareness, we stood in solidarity and created a space for people to talk about Palestine. We did so through targeted campaigns and endless hours of research and outreach.”

“QuAIA has been a trailblazer in building solidarity with Palestine in Canada,” said Ali Abunimah, author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine. “As Israel launched its effort to ‘pinkwash’ its oppression of the Palestinians and falsely market itself as an LGBTQ haven, QuAIA’s work provided an important political analysis that has educated me and many others about what principled solidarity looks like.”

The QuAIA website will be archived and remain on line as a community resource.


QuAIA at World Pride Toronto

July 5, 2014

The Disappearing Map from Albino Squirrel Channel on Vimeo.




Come March With QuAIA

June 26, 2014

2014 World Pride Parade. Please join QuAIA as we put politics and Palestine front and centre!!! Please meet us at the Parkette at 77 Huntley (at Bloor) at 1:45pm. We will be assembling on Bloor St E. and Ted Rogers Way by 2:30pm at 19 K. Please look for our QuAIA Banners. Thanks!!!


xtra publishes the ad that the TTC wouldn’t

June 26, 2014

xtra publishes the ad that the TTC wouldn't

QuAIA has placed this ad in Xtra’s 2014 World Pride Toronto edition. On stands June 26 to July 10. Pick one up if you are in town.


Apartheid Then and Now: Queer Struggles, Queer Solidarities

June 12, 2014

A panel discussion on the possibilities and challenges of queer solidarity.

Prabha Khosla
Sara Matthews
Ghaida Moussa
Phumi Mtetwa

Moderator: Natalie Kouri-Towe
Updates: Tim McCaskell

Date: Tuesday 24 June, 7pm
Location: Tecumseh Auditorium, Ryerson Student Centre, 55 Gould Street, Toronto
Accessibility: This event is held in a wheelchair accessible building and space.
ASL is available upon request by emailing quaia.toronto@gmail.com by Friday 20 June.
Please avoid using scented products and perfumes.
Free Event: No tickets needed.

Special Thanks to the Ryerson Student Union.

Speaker Bios:
Prabha Khosla is an urban planner who focuses on women’s rights. She was involved in southern Africa solidarity from 1976-1990. Solidarity work led her to South Africa, the Occupied Territories and the liberated areas of Eritrea, as well as to live and work in socialist Mozambique. She is currently writing a booklet on trade union support for LGBT rights.

Sara Matthews is an Associate Professor in the Department of Global Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research and political work is interdisciplinary and considers the dynamics of violence, war and social reparation in the global context. She was involved with QuAIA from 2011 to 2013 and her teaching at WLU draws on cultures of global activism.

Ghaida Moussa is a scholar, educator, and deejay. Completing a Ph.D. in Social and Political Thought at York University, Ghaida has also co-edited Min Fami: Arab Feminist Reflections on Identity, Space and Resistance.

Phumi Mtetwa was a youth anti-apartheid activist in the 1980s in South Africa and has been actively involved in LGBT organising since the early 90s in both South Africa and internationally, including a collective calling for the Return of Africa: http://mayibuyepledge.org/


QuAIA presents Ali Abunimah at the 519: How Israel uses sex and marketing to distract from apartheid

June 6, 2013

Abunimah Flyer 6-3-13


Pride Toronto DRP dismisses further complaints against QuAIA

June 6, 2013

The Pride Toronto Dispute Resolution Panel has released reasons for decisions dismissing two additional complaints filed against QuAIA in 2012.

2013-06-06 Clark PTDRP decision

2013-06-06 Berner PTDRP decision



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