City funding OK for parade including Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, says Toronto official


TORONTO (JTA) — A decision by Toronto’s city manager would permit city funding for the Toronto Pride Parade regardless of the participation of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.

The city manager’s report was in response to a motion put forward last year by the City Council to determine whether city funding for the parade should be withdrawn in 2011 because of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid’s participation, which some say violates the city’s anti-discrimination policy.

The report found that the group’s participation does not violate the policy. The city’s executive committee is scheduled to consider the report next week, on the second day of Passover.

Pride Toronto received $123,807 from the city last year. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has said he will withhold city funding from the parade if the controversial group marches.

The Canadian Jewish Congress disagreed with the city manager’s conclusion.

"The comparison paints anyone who supports the Jewish State of Israel, namely Jews, as supporters of racist regimes, and thus as racists themselves," CJC CEO Bernie Farber said. "Using the Criminal Code of Canada and the Ontario Human Rights Code as the basis for this decision is employing too narrow a standard.

"The very definition of discrimination is when you treat one group of people differently from another based on their ethnicity, religion or country of origin. QuAIA are attempting to do just that."

CJC’s Ontario Region director, Len Rudner, said that "Pride Toronto has created a dispute resolution process, on the recommendation of the Community Advisory Panel, which is precisely the tool through which decisions about QuAIA’s participation in the parade should be made. We believe Pride Toronto has its own values and standards regarding this hateful comparison.

"We hope this dispute resolution process will clarify and uphold those values, and that Pride Toronto will not abandon its core values, which include honoring the past, protecting the future, valuing diversity and respect."

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