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Jewish Defense League holds protest at Pride Toronto

Jewish Defense League holds protest at Pride Toronto

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'We'll be back, fags': JDL member
By the end of the protest at the offices of Pride Toronto (PT) on April 15, members of the Jewish Defense League of Canada (JDL) were throwing anti-gay slurs like “fag” at a small, mostly silent group of rainbow flag-waving gay people.

On one side of the street were about 20 JDL supporters with Israeli and Canadian flags and signs with statements like “Palestine is a disease, a plague.” On the other side were about 12 PT supporters, smiling and trying not to be drawn into the JDL debate. “We’re protecting ourselves against fascist, racist homophobes,” said queer activist Ashleigh Ingle when asked about the fracas by a pedestrian.

“Go be gay in Saudi Arabia,” one JDL protestor shouted. Others chanted, “We love Rob Ford. Get it straight.”

JDL is an international organization dedicated to "protect Jews from anti-Semitism by whatever means necessary." It has chapters in several US states, Canada, South Africa and a few European countries. The US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) describes the JDL as “a rightwing terrorist group” and says it has been involved in plotting terrorist attacks in the US. There is nothing to suggest that is true of the Canadian chapter.

The Toronto protest was a response to the April 12 city manager’s report that states, "City staff have determined that the phrase ‘Israeli apartheid’ in and of itself does not violate the city’s anti-discrimination policy.” The JDL is calling on the city to strip PT funding if it does not “denounce” Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA).

A JDL Facebook posting that circulated on April 12 states, “During the Nazi era, many high-ranking Nazis were gay.”


Prior to the protest, QuAIA released a statement announcing that it would not enter a contingent in this year's Toronto Pride parade. Some of the JDL protesters hadn’t heard the news that QuAIA had already pulled out of the parade. Others call QuAIA “liars.”

Meir Weinstein, national director of JDL Canada, says he doesn’t believe QuAIA will stay out of the parade. “They’ve lied before, and they will lie again. They can’t be trusted.”

Weinstein vows that the JDL will protest regularly until PT issues a “guarantee” that QuAIA will not be included in any Pride Week events. “Right now, we can’t differentiate between Pride Toronto and that hate group.”

The protest lasted about an hour and a half before the JDL group packed up and left. But just before going, one protester yelled, “We’ll be back, fags.”

Former PT board member Mark Smith shrugs. He says the QuAIA debate is quickly becoming “a non-issue.”

“This is a straight organization trying to tell Pride what to do,” he says. “This is homophobia. These people are anti-gay and racist.”

At one point a JDL supporter, who identified himself as Naresh Patel from the Canadian Hindu Advocacy group, threatened this reporter in hushed tones, saying, “You’re lucky there’s cops here.”

When a delivery truck pulled up in front of PT and a person of colour got out with a package, a JDL protester shouted, "Getting your shipment from Hezbollah?" No PT staff were inside to take the delivery.

The PT supporters responded by chanting, “Racist, sexist, anti-gay: JDL go away!”

One JDL demonstrator, yelling into a megaphone, expressed frustration with the anti-gay slurs and told the PT supporters that "Some of us aren't saying what we're supposed to be saying."

PT co-chair Francisco Alvarez says he hopes the JDL reconsiders protesting regularly at PT. "We're taking QuAIA at their word. We are proceeding as if they are not in the parade. I wish other people would take them seriously. If the JDL is protesting gays, that's a whole different issue. If that's the case, we will have to create a strategy around that."

Queer Ontario (QO) member Davina Hader says she’s not surprised the JDL is pledging to step up demonstrations. “Who’s to say another group with the phrase ‘Israeli apartheid’ in its name won’t try to march. And if they do, [QO] will support their right to free speech.”

Comments

Islams usefull idiots
i dont blame the JDL for standing up to Islamofascists like QUAIA. If they can preach hate why cant JDL defend ISrael. IF Palestinians really cared about gay rights, they would be targeting their own governments. It is clear to me that they are using gay pride as a forum to spread their B.S
What happened to PT?
I don't understand the Canadian gays? Why are they Pro-Palestinians? The Arab Palestinians, as the all Arabs, executing gays for being gays. Israel is full democracy and doesn't discriminate against people for any reason. The gay community in Israel is free and open and gays are not oppressed or persecuted at all.
Stop the fight!
Pride Toronto should not have involved itself in this issue to begin with. It is supposed to be a celebration of what it means to be LGBTTQQI2S (which I believe is somewhat lost in the commercialized fashion of what PRIDE has become to what it started out as). Instead of being a celebration it has turned into a battle by including one group and calling it "free speech" and excluding another. Now I don't know about you, but it shouldn't be free speech if it isn't free of bias and can harm or create hate. Then another group comes in and wants the same rights to try and educate the other side of the story because we only allowed one part to speak. I am not saying that the way they did it was appropriate but everyone has a view and they were pissed off. People just need to know that there are two sides to EVERY story and to become more educated on an issue before jumping into anything. If we had just celebrated Pride and not used it's platform for a protest statement for anything inclusive to hate than this wouldn't have happened. As a person that has had my fair share of being hated and discriminated against I would rather spread love and celebrate life than protest something and create issues that could have irreversible ramifications. Just sayin...
Homos and Queers Oh My
Queero re your points " Well Micheal, JDL claims it was members of the hate group themselves that were using PT property during that demonstration." FALSE FALSE FALSE..I was there and insured that no one other the neutral parties were allowed on Pride property. If you question the people with banned and responding to JDL commentary they were asked and heeded the request to stay outside of Prides fence. O am so tired of arguments being made up...
again?!?!?!?!?
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=164473383611289&ref=ts didnt they make total hateful asses of themselves enough last time? they like "sorry that most of our members are homophobic monsters... we'll try to limit their hate speech to just racism next time"
Gay Community not Hateful
Hey Warren Brown, Please don't paint our entire community with one brush. There are bigoted gays like those in QuAiA, but for the most part we are more tolerant than other commnities because of our marginilized status. The Jewish experience is very similar. You may be getting the wrong impression beacuse this "news" source "Xtra" has been working very hard to make it seem as if QuAiA is more supported than they are, The vast majority of Gays in Toronto, dont care about middle East politics and dont want the inclusion of that hate group
Go JDL!
Finally a group has the balls to stand up to Pride and QuAIA. Who would have thought that the gay community would be so hateful and discriminatory. DISGUSTING!
Homophobes and antisemites
Wow Reuben Sariel Isaacs, relax man, I am not calling any of those groups antisemetic. I am calling Quaia and those that defend them antisemtic! If I have to explain why they are antisemetic then you are proabably beyond reason. I am also not defending JDL's homophobia. I am pointing out that at least their leader has distanced themselves from it. Pride Toronto has not yet properly distanced themselves from Quaia
Homophobes and antisemites
Queero, it's time for you to put your politics where your mouth is. I want you to tell me in reasoned, logical and consistent discourse, exactly how I, a proud, observant Jew and a scream-from-the-rooftops homosexual who studies Torah, Talmud and Kabbalah every single day of my Jewish life, is a "gay antisemite". On the contrary, I charge you with throwing around slurs, slurs that you cannot possibly in any way rationally justify, for no other sake than that of being deliberately malicious. Or are you really saying that attacking the JDL is "antisemitic"? Are you saying that all the Jewish organisations that deplore the JDL are "antisemitic"? Are you saying that Bernie Farber is "antisemitic"? Are you saying that criticising this tiny extremist group which is not representative of Jewry is "antisemitic"? Are you saying that Jewish members of the Israeli Knesset who distanced themselves from Kahane and his group are "antisemitic"? Are you saying that Jewish members of the Israeli Knesset who refused to work with Kahane because they believed he was a fascist to be "antisemitic"? Are you saying the U.S. is "antisemitic" for listing the JDL as a terrorist group? As a Jew, all I have to say is that if the designation of Kahane and the JDL as fascists is good enough for Jewish members of the Israeli Knesset, then that's good enough for me. And I double-dog dare you to call them "antisemitic". I have no problems with the JDL's religion or their race, both of which I am. I have a problem with their politics, which is right-wing extremist, and there is absolutely nothing in Judaism which says that you have to be a right-wing extremist in order to be a good and observant Jew, which I most certainly am.
Homophobes and antisemites
Well Micheal, JDL claims it was members of the hate group themselves that were using PT property during that demonstration. I dont't hear anyone apologizing for that.

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