Thursday, May 28, 2009

The National Post is having another one of its "Iran Eyes Badges for Jews" moments

You remember that one, no?

This time round the headline goes : Toronto Pride organizers ban anti-Zionist group
By Joseph Brean, National Post

"Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA), an anti-Zionist protest group that made corporate sponsors squirm by flying banners at last year’s Toronto Pride parade, has been banned this year, along with any other group that would advance a political agenda.
“We will be very much more careful this year. We will make sure that we have a presence to ensure that people don’t slip into the parade,” Pride Toronto executive director Tracey Sandilands said today.

Her announcement came with a warning to grand marshall El-Farouk Khaki not to use his ceremonial position as a pulpit to promote an anti-Israeli boycott.

Frank Dimant, executive vice-president of B’nai Brith Canada, today called for disciplinary action against Mr. Khaki, a founder of the national support group Salaam: Queer Muslim Community, because he spoke to a QuAIA event on the weekend."

Yeah, whatever, Frank.

But what's this? In the comments section below the NaPo article, Pride Co-Chair Mark Singh shows up :

"In response to concerns about political messaging in the Pride Parade, Pride Toronto released a statement outlining its position on this issue. This article incorrectly claims that Pride Toronto has banned political messages from the Pride Parade. [snip]

We have asked the National Post to correct the inaccurate statements in this article to no avail.
We invite any who are concerned to read the statement posted in the Press Room of our website (
Mark Singh
Pride Toronto"

followed a few comments further on by a letter copied from Pride director Tracey Sandilands, source of the quotes for NaPo mischief :

"WE WILL NOT BE TAKING SIDES IN ANY POLITICAL ISSUE AND WILL NOT BE BANNING ANY GROUP that participates within the boundaries of the laws of Canada and our anti-discrimination policy. [snip]

Also, at no time in our interview did I say anything about ‘warning' El Farouk.
I would appreciate it if you could amend this before final publication.

Tracey Sandilands,

Executive Director

Well that would seem clear enough.
However, undaunted by requests from both a Pride Co-Chair and the Pride director he interviewed that his bogus article be fixed - and the picture gracing the front page of the Pride Toronto website clearing showing the "End Israeli Apartheid" banner, NaPo reporter Joseph Brean replies in his own comment section that he stands by his article :

"I am the author of this article. It was my decision, approved by editors, to use the term "ban" to mean that QuAIA, which marched in last year's parade, will not be permitted to do so this year.
Anonymous accusations that this article, which presents comment from people on all sides of this issue, is "false" and that I am "intentionally spreading lies" are silly and wrong."
So there you have it - accusations from the source of his interview that his article is "false" are "silly and wrong".

Well done, NaPo. Some traditions die hard, don't they?

Bring on the Transparent Badges for Atheists !

h/t Rabble, Mycroft in comments at the NaPo article, and the divine Ms Z posting at BreadnRoses, who promises a column on this at The Star tomorrow.
Update : From Antonia Zerbisias column today, as promised.

"So it's pretty rich when the language of gay oppression is used against Toronto's Pride parade, to be held June 28, by another group that purports to champion human rights.
Especially a group that is openly aligned with anti-gay rights Christian fundamentalists such as Charles McVety, Canada's most vocal lobbyist against same-sex marriage, and John Hagee, who claimed God sent Hurricane Katrina to stop "a homosexual parade."
This is what happened last week when B'nai Brith issued a news release asserting that the gay community's "agenda" was being "hijacked by anti-Israel agitators."
So Napo got caught out carrying some editorial water for Dimant. Somehow I suspect this is not over.
Antonia also blogged the background story : Banner Day

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another update from Brean, again in the comments section of his article and with no correction from NattyPo :
"I seem to have misunderstood some of the upset about this story. The first sentence is incomplete and could be misleading. Of course not all groups with political agendas are banned. Pride itself is political, after all. The ban applies to those groups promoting messages that are not "supportive of the LGBTTIQQ2S community." I leave it to Pride Toronto to clarify whether advocating a boycott of Israel meets this standard, and I regret causing any confusion."
Joseph Brean
National Post


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