Israel banned from Madrid gay pride parade


MADRID, Spain (JTA) — An Israeli float was banned from participating in a gay pride parade in Madrid. 

Following Israel’s interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla, Spain’s Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals decided that their Israeli counterparts in Tel Aviv would not be invited to the event, which took place late last week.

"After what has happened, and as human rights campaigners, it seemed barbaric to us to have them taking part," Antonio Poveda, president of Spain’s Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals, told the British daily The Guardian. "We don’t just defend our own little patch."

Poveda told the French news agency AFP that because Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai had not condemned the attack, the invitation would be withdrawn. The float was sponsored by the Tel Aviv municipality.

The withdrawn invitation drew an angry response from Israel.

"I don’t recall Madrid’s gay organizations condemning any of the Palestinian terrorist attacks on cafes or buses," Tel Aviv municipality spokesman Eytan Schwartz told the Spanish paper El Mundo. "Islamist fundamentalists don’t just want to finish off Israel, but they also believe homosexuals should ‘cure themselves’ or die."

Schwartz added that the Spanish federation should speak to the gay Arabs who flee Palestinian territory and other countries for Tel Aviv.

"They would be murdered at home if they revealed their sexuality," he said. "It is shameful that [the LGTB federation] should join with pro-Palestinian and fundamentalist groups, which are not exactly tolerant of homosexuality."

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