Call for solidarity with Queers Against Israeli Apartheid

June 12, 2010

The members of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) are heartened and deeply grateful for the tremendous solidarity and support shown by the LGBT community and allies since the words “Israeli Apartheid” were censored by Pride Toronto, excluding our group and our message as a result of pressure from external lobby groups.

Many people have asked us what we are calling on supporters to do. To perfomers and artists at Pride, we repeat our earlier call: please get in touch with us at quaia.toronto@gmail.com to let us know what you are prepared to do, so that we can make a call for coordinated action that will have the greatest impact. We are not at this time calling for a general boycott of Pride, though we are very thankful to all artists and speakers who have withdrawn from the festival on principle.

For the Pride parade, QuAIA is asking supporters to do whichever of the following actions they are able to do. We recognize that people have different pressures on them, and different levels of comfort with these actions, and respect the choices that people will make.

1 . Join the QuAIA contingent

As of yet, QuAIA’s application to march has not been formally rejected. Whether it is rejected or not, we will be marching with our message. Pride belongs to us as much as to other queers.

We call on all those who are able to join with us in our contigent at Pride. We will release further details as these become available. If you would like to march with us, send us an email at quaia.toronto@gmail.com.

2. Carry our messages. Make your own placards, wear our stickers, t-shirts, and buttons

If you are marching in another contingent, or performing, speaking, or participating in other Pride events, we ask you to carry our message. We will have stickers, buttons, and t-shirts available for distribution. If your group would like to wear our materials, or make a contribution to help us produce them, please contact us at quaia.toronto@gmail.com.

We are also calling on people throughout the parade to make their own placards, t-shirts, and materials using our messaging, for example:

  • Queers Against Israeli Apartheid
  • I’m out against Israeli Apartheid
  • I stand with queers in Palestine
  • Free Speech! Free Palestine!

3. Defy censorship and support free speech by using the banned words “Israeli apartheid” in the Trans and Dyke Marches, the Pride Parade, and throughout Pride week.

QuAIA’s view is that the most powerful way to defy the ban is by using the banned words, preferably by carrying QuAIA messaging. But we recognize that many people may wish to demonstrate their opposition to censorship, while being undecided on QuAIA’s political message. In this case, we still believe the most powerful protest is to use the words in creative ways that defy the ban. For example:

  • Let’s talk about “Israeli Apartheid”
  • I’m offended by “Israeli Apartheid”

4. Carry a general message about censorship and free speech

We are asking those who are not comfortable using the banned words in any way to carry an anti-censorship message or symbol.

  • Fuck the ban
  • Free Speech!
  • Tape an “X” over your mouth