In a recent Toronto mayoral debate, leading mayoral candidate John Tory reopened the debate about whether the controversial Toronto group, known as Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) should be permitted to march in the very popular annual summer Toronto Pride Parade.
On the other hand, Ms. Chow in the same debate, supported QuAIA’s right to protest in a publicly-funded Pride Parade, on the basis that the Toronto City solicitor opined that the use of “Israel Apartheid” was “protected speech” and that the Toronto City Manager Penachetti believed that the participation of QuAIA, did not violate the City of Toronto’s policies against hate and discrimination.
Again, to Tory’s credit, he stated emphatically at the debate, that he believed the city’s position was wrong and such anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish views had no place in a Pride Parade which celebrates human rights, tolerance and inclusivity.
I agree with John Tory’s view and here is why I believe Chow’s support of the anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic QuAIA, is unprincipled, immoral and contrary to Canadian values.
Anti-Israeli Apartheid movement is funded, financed and sponsored by Hamas
According to Hamas’ constitution, it wishes to kill all Jews and to eliminate Israel from the Middle East. These views are clearly anti-Semitic and hateful.
For Hamas, the anti-Israeli Apartheid movement is an attempt to delegitimize the state of Israel and destroy it diplomatically. Hamas wants to do to Israel diplomatically, what it cannot do, to date, militarily.
Accordingly, the then Federal Liberal leader Ignatieff, labelled the anti-Israeli Apartheid movement as anti-Semitic.
This view has been endorsed by current Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. I also believe that this is the view of Thomas Mulcair, leader of the federal NDP.
Conservative Prime Minister Harper’s public condemnation of the anti-Israel Apartheid and BDS movements as blatantly anti-Semitic, is also very well known and has been widely reported.
Furthermore, the Ontario Legislature has unanimously condemned Israeli Apartheid week as “odious and unacceptable”.
So we have two levels of government that have condemned the Israeli Apartheid movement.
In the subject debate, Chow argued that her pro-QuAIA position was based upon her reliance upon expert opinion.
Interestingly, Chow is a bit selective when she relies upon experts. The very same City Manager Pennachetti in the past issued a major report praising the Scarborough subway extension, which Chow chose to ignore, because such a report undermined her pro Scarborough bus and LRT view.
It seems once again, Chow is hiding behind selective experts’ opinions and is refusing to take a principled and moral stand.
The Canadian federal government (together with US, Britain and the EU) has also publicly maintained that the anti-Israeli Apartheid movement, which singles out Israel ( while ignoring the human rights abuses of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Iran etc) is more than mere opposition to Israeli government policies, but is in fact Jew hatred and hence anti-Semitism.
This is a view also held by a majority of the members of the Ontario legislature.
In view of these facts, Chow appears on shaky moral ground to support QuAIA’s right to march in a publicly-funded parade.
John Tory stated that he respected the right of QuAIA to protest , but it can protest anywhere it wants, just not in a Toronto taxpayer and publicly-funded Pride Parade.
Another point Chow should consider is that Hamas, the key backer and beneficiary of the anti-Israeli Apartheid movement – kills, tortures and discriminates against the Gazan LGBT ( lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender) community.
Contrast that with the fair and equal treatment of the LGBT community in Israel.
So why is Chow putting herself on the same side of Hamas, which kills, tortures and discriminates against the Gazan LGBT community?
Since the Pride Parade is about tolerance, the celebration of the LGBT community and inclusivity, why does Chow not take the position that the anti-Israeli QuAIA ( which many Jewish and non Jewish Torontonians believe to be a hateful, Jew-hating, anti-Semitic organization) has no place in the Pride Parade?
By Chow failing to take a clear and principled stand against the anti-Semitism of QuAIA, Olivia Chow risks being tarred with the same toxic brush.