Monday, June 29, 2009

Harassment & Intimidation at Toronto's Pride Parade

Harassment & Intimidation at Toronto's Pride Parade 2009 from josephinejosephine on Vimeo.

As I was videotaping groups in the parade line-up, no one complained until I reached a keffiyah-wearing, Palestinian-flag-waving group. I recognized a few members of "Queers Against Israeli Apartheid" as well as NION and was shocked to see a man with his head & face wrapped in a keffiyeh like a terrorist and wearing a bracelet made of bullets.

They saw me videotaping and quickly moved, in a well-rehearsed manner, to physically prevent me from seeing and taping. After I moved at least 15 feet away, they crossed the wide sidewalk, climbed a brick wall mounted by a low iron fence and stood directly in front of my camera... then told me not to photograph them!

They denounced me as a Zionist and told me I was not welcome in the Pride Parade which was being held in my own city of Toronto, in my own country of Canada, where my ancestors have lived since 1750.

The sponsors of Pride should think twice about having their names associated with an event that includes such groups.

Thanks to the organizers of the Pride Parade for allowing a group that uses Hamas-style tactics to poison the formerly open and free atmosphere of Pride.
Update: Welcome, fellow readers and fans of Five Feet of Fury and Halls of Macadamia!
Update #2: And a hearty welcome to fellow readers and fans of Girl on the Right!
Update #3: Hello & welcome to readers of another one of my favourite blogs, Blazing Cat Fur! As usual, the title of his post is much funnier than mine!
Update #4: From the comments: "It's impossible to believe that the traditional Gay Pride chant has become 'We're here, we're queer ... hey, what the f*** are you lookin' at, asshole? Put the camera away!'"

More pics - Toronto Pride Parade 2009 - 1


Click the photos to enlarge.

Most of my photos were taken while waiting in the parade line-up on Bloor Street between Church and Jarvis. A few were taken elsewhere before and after the parade.

Re. the person with the yellow and orange headdress: I blurred his chest area a bit and cropped the pic. Yes, he still has his dingly-dangly bits, and they were on display. He was very popular. When I walked by, a lot of people were asking to have their photos taken with him.

The "ladies" in pink were also very popular; lots of people had their photos taken with them.

More pics - Toronto Pride Parade 2009 - 2

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Toronto Pride Parade 2009 - 1 of 5

I'm told that these two signs enraged the Palestinians. The truth hurts, eh, fellas?

An estimated 150 people marched with Kulanu Toronto in today's Pride Parade, up from their usual number of 30-35 participants. Kulanu Toronto is a Jewish queer group that decided to fly the Canadian, Israeli and rainbow flags this year.

Everything went smoothly, although there was an attempt at intimidation by the pro-Palestinians when someone videotaped their group. We're not in Gaza, guys and gals, so stop trying to enforce Hamas's rules on Canadian soil.

More on that later (probably tomorrow).

Part 2 of 5
Part 3 of 5
Part 4 of 5
Part 5 of 5

As always, click on the photos to enlarge them.

Toronto Pride Parade 2009 - 2 of 5

Toronto Pride Parade 2009 - 3 of 5

Toronto Pride Parade 2009 - 4 of 5

Toronto Pride Parade 2009 - 5 of 5

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Israeli Apartheid Week 2009 Round-Up

Phew, it's finally done: I've finished writing about my experiences at this year's "Israeli Apartheid Week" (IAW).

I attended two nights in Toronto. On the first night (a Monday), I couldn't get into the auditorium, so I stayed with the crowd inside the lobby and outside. On the Thursday night, I arrived early, got a seat and listened to the anti-Israel lectures.

I wrote about my experiences here:

March 2nd: Part 1
March 2nd: Part 2
March 2nd: Part 3
March 2nd: Part 4
March 5th: Part 1
March 5th: Part 2
March 5th: Part 3
March 5th: Part 4
March 5th: Part 5
March 5th: Part 6

Keep in mind that Leila Farsakh will be one of the guest speakers at the anti-Israel bash being held as part of York University's 50th anniversary party.

These people have one goal in mind: the conquest and dismantling of the only Jewish state in the world.

The arguments don't matter much to them: they're trying every tactic they can think of to convince the world that the Jewish people are not entitled to their ancestral homeland, that of all the UN-mandated countries in the Middle East, somehow Israel is illegitimate while all the others remain legitimate.

They don't actually care about "apartheid" or the living conditions of the perpetual "Palestinians". If they did, they'd be protesting against Hamas, Fatah and Hezbollah.

Jews have lived in Israel for more than 3,000 years.

Israel is the legal and legitimate homeland of the Jewish people.

Facts don't matter to these people (who include in their number Muslims, communists and socialists, all with their own anti-Jewish and/or anti-capitalist agendas).

They can call it anti-Zionism all they like and pretend it has nothing to do with anti-Semitism: but Israel is the Zionist project. To be anti-Zionist is to be anti-Israel.

They want to end Israel, "the Zionist project". They want to transform it into another Muslim country: that's their bottom line.

All the rest is just window dressing.

"The End of the Zionist Project"

"Israeli Apartheid Week" 2009

Thursday, March 5th: Part 6: Q&A with Leila Farsakh
University of Toronto

Such mild, pretty language glosses over the hoped-for destruction of the only Jewish state in the world.

57 Muslim countries. One Jewish country.

During the Q&A, a woman asked Leila Farsakh:

"Ms. Farsakh, you said: 'The two-state solution has been killed by Israel; the only solution is a one-state solution.'

"What would that one state look like? What would it entail?"

Ms. Farsakh responded that, among the proponents of the one-state solution, people were considering two options: a binational state such as Belgium or Switzerland or a secular, democratic state.

In a binational state, she explained, Israeli Jews would be able to keep their own communities, religious institutions and schools, and so would Muslims.

She did not explain how the binational state would differ from the current situation in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank or how the communities would be apportioned.

She did not say that the three areas would be melded into one.

Nor did she mention that the outrageous perpetual "right of return" – of not only people who had once lived in Israel but including their descendants through every generation for all time – would cause the binational state or the secular, democratic state to instantly become a Muslim-majority state.

Ms. Farsakh did not give one example of a secular, democratic state in the world with a majority Muslim population. Past history and current trends demonstrate that, in most or all cases, a country in which Muslims make up the majority will become a country that is ruled by Sharia (Muslim religious) law. In most or all Muslim countries today, right now in 2009, Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and non-religious people, as well as Muslims, are being persecuted and murdered either because they are not Muslim or because they are deemed not Muslim enough.

None of this was brought up by Ms. Farsakh. Perhaps it does not concern her; I do not know.

It seemed to sadden Ms. Farsakh that "the international community is not on board and that is key" to their success.

This is precisely what she will be working toward this month at York University.

Ms. Farsakh ended with the following:

"Jews and Israelis are worried that it would mean the end of Judaism and Israel. It would be the end of the Zionist project but not the end of the Jews or 60 years of Israeli culture."

"The Zionist project" is Israel.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

He-man Communist Israel-haters Club

"Israeli Apartheid Week" 2009

Thursday, March 5th: Part 5: David McNally
University of Toronto

David McNally's IAW bio states:

"David McNally is Professor of Political Science at York University and author of four books, including Another World is Possible: Globalization and Anti-Capitalism. He is active with the New Socialists and the Popular Education and Action Project in Toronto."

He began his "Israeli Apartheid Week" lecture by railing against Michael Ignatieff who, he said, had "joined the chorus" of those who had spoken out against Israeli Apartheid Week. He said that Mr. Ignatieff is a professor and "a shoddy one in my view."

He was so angry at Mr. Ignatieff for "defending the crimes of Israel" that he read aloud from one of his own books in which he criticized Mr. Ignatieff.
I wrote, and I quote...
A plug for his book or an onan-homage to his superior critiquing skills? One hand washes the other...

With that out of the way, Mr. McNally said the focus of his talk would be "globalization and social responsibility in the context of oppression, occupation and war and human rights violations against the Palestinians."

It didn't take long for Mr. McNally's socialist/communist leanings to become glaringly obvious. He talked about "relations of domination", "anti-capitalism" and "a high-tech war economy".

He said, "Canada is a thoroughgoing partner in the Israeli war machine... utterly complicit in the crimes, murders, human rights violations..."

Since 1977, Canada and Israel have had a free trade agreement, he said. (As if it were a bad thing.)

"Don't let anybody tell you that Canada is a peacemaker," he said.

He listed the following companies as being "completely tied into the Israeli war machine." He didn't explain how or why, he just rattled off their names.

Bell Canada (they make phones and provide email and internet service)
Air Canada (an airline)
Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (they make fertilizer)
Nortel (Can someone translate their mission statement for me? They used to make phones.)
Bombardier (they make planes and trains)
Pratt & Whitney (they make engines for airplanes and other systems)
Frontline Robotics ("Autonomous Perimeter Security")
Diamond Aircraft (they make airplanes, too)
Virtual Defense Canada (I can't find this online)
Vanguard Response System (they make counter-terrorism equipment)

According to Mr. McNally, Vanguard Response System works closely with the Israeli police.

Their website says, "Allen-Vanguard Corporation is Canada’s first publicly traded company offering proprietary counter-terrorist equipment systems for defeating and mitigating conventional and unconventional terrorist devices of all kinds."

That sounds like a good company to me but not to David McNally! How dare they work with Israeli police to defeat terrorists!

I felt like writing each company a supportive email but what would I say? I might start with, "Hey, thanks for being part of the Canadian and Israeli war machine against terrorists!" but would they even know what I was talking about? I mean, a fertilizer company, for heaven's sake?

Mr. McNally continued to beat on his drum: "Canada is complicit in colonialism, occupation and war."

He then quoted Marx on capitalism, which forced me to break my pencil in two because I draw the line on quoting Marx. How many millions of people have been murdered, and how many more have lived terrible lives in hellholes, thanks to that communist's manifesto?

I cheered up when Mr. McNally said there are two main reasons why some people on the left are not convinced regarding the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

First, they balk at the issue of academic freedom. Mr. McNally said the solution is to emphasize that they are boycotting institutions and to ask, "Where is the academic freedom on the Palestinian side?"

[To which I would respond: 1) You can't boycott an institution; and 2) the citizens of Gaza are not Israeli citizens, so their academic freedom is the responsibility of their elected government, headed by Hamas.]

Second, some leftists ask why Israel is being singled out for a boycott. Mr. McNally said it is not a question of ranking injustice but rather identifying where it exists and supporting calls for action.

[In other words, don't ask why we want to boycott only Israel: we're not being unfair, so just support the boycott for the sake of supporting the boycott, and stop asking questions.]

David McNally clearly holds a dim view of Canada and of capitalism. I think he would be happier living in a nice communist country such as... such as...

Wait, it'll come to me. In the meantime, perhaps he could move to Gaza; surely he would feel more comfortable living among friends. They could sit around a Palestinian work accident bonfire and read aloud from his books.

Up next: Leila Farsakh and the gender-and-race-equality-Q&A.