The Jerusalem Post reports:
The mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford – and leading gay leaders and activists in North America and Europe – have slammed the anti-Israel focus among groups within the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities in New York and Toronto.
According to a report in Thursday’s Canadian Jewish News, Ford announced that his administration plans to pull the plug on more than $100,000 in city funds for the Toronto Gay Pride week events slated for late June, because of the participation of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.
“Taxpayers dollars should not go toward funding hate speech,” said Ford.
After New York’s LGBT center in Manhattan’s West Village denied space to Siege Busters – a group that compares Israel to the former racist South African regime and sought to hold a “Party to End Apartheid” at the center early this month – LGBT activists staged a demonstration and initiated a petition campaign against the center’s decision.
On Sunday, the center’s management will host a community forum to discuss its decision to ban the anti-Israel group from its premises.
Siege Busters is currently raising funds to send a new flotilla to break Israel’s blockade of Hamas.
In an interview on Saturday with The Jerusalem Post, Frank van Dalen, former head of the Netherlands’ LGBT federation (and currently an Amsterdam city council member for the Liberal Party), said people “can disagree with Israel’s policies, but it is wrong to say it is apartheid.”
Groups invoking LGBT labels to equate Israel with apartheid have “nothing to do with the LGBT cause,” van Dalen said. The LGBT community “should be careful about entering global themes of politics.”
According to van Dalen, LGBT groups should direct their energies to fighting to end homophobia, and secure same-sex marriage rights.
Van Dalen, a former chairman of the Amsterdam Gay Pride, expressed disbelief about the presence of the anti-Israel queer group at Toronto’s parade. While stressing what he said were the mixed up priorities of the anti-Israel LGBT groups, he said fighting for same-sex marriage in Israel as well as in the Arab world is important.