Friday, May 28, 2010

Alan Li rejects appointment as Pride Toronto's grand marshal

Pride Toronto's choice for grand marshal of the 2010 Pride Parade has refused his appointment, citing the organization's censorship of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA).

Dr Alan Li says he was flattered to be chosen, but "after serious reflection" he decided to decline the title.


“I have been actively involved in many social justice movements locally and internationally for more than thirty years,” says Dr. Li, a co-founder of Gay Asians Toronto, Asian Community AIDS Services, the multicultural Coalition Against Homophobia, and the first openly gay president of the Chinese Canadian National Council. “I thus remember very clearly our community’s battles against censorship that attempted to invalidate our concerns, minimize our struggles and silence our voices.”

The complete text of Dr. Li's letter is available at QuAIA.

ADDENDUM: Who is Martin Gladstone? by Tim McCaskell
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  1. On one comment board, someone suggested that legitimate criticism of Israel is acceptable. I did reply by asking what the difference between legitimate and illegitimate criticism was. I also asked who would determine the difference. B'nai Brith? The Harper régime?

    I congratulate Dr. Li for his decision to decline the offer of being the grand marshal of the parade.

  2. Thanks for the comment SD. If people are to be prevented from speaking out about the policies of this or that country, then we are in sad shape indeed. Or is Israel to be carved out for special "kid glove" treatment?

    Marci McDonald's book mentions the connection between B'nai Brith and Charles McVety, a christian fundy who's quite homophobic. B'nai Brith used to be a human rights group. Now they are engaged in fear-mongering - which drives donations.

  3. This is slightly off-topic specifically, but on-topic generally:

    On someone's blog, that person wrote the following:

    "If the “QuAIA” are anxious to protest lack of human rights, why aren’t they demonstrating against Sudan? Or against lack of civil rights – against Zimbabwe? Minority rights in a dozen Arab/Moslem states; women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kenya, and many more; gay rights in Uganda, Malawi, the Palestinian Territories and many more? Because their aim to protest against democratic Israel is pure anti-Semitism, in its basest form."

    The blogger had commented that certain criticism of Israel was racist. My problem with his suggestion that we should criticize other countries is that we would be accused of being racist in the other situations. We would be anti-black if we criticized Sudan, Uganda, and Malawi. We would be anti-Arab and racist if we criticize any Arab or Muslim country. No doubt people should be criticizing injustices in different parts of the world. I would suggest that if the blogger were so concerned about human rights in Africa, and in Arab or Muslim countries, that he start a group to advocate for better human rights in those places.

    Does the blogger suggest that one is only a racist if one criticizes Israel?

  4. Thanks for the link SD. There's a popular line of reasoning among Israel apologists that goes like this: if you criticize Israel you are against Israel, therefore you want to destroy its very existence and you are an anti-semite. I'm sure if we were to apply that logic to criticism of any other state it would fall apart pretty quickly, although I do remember that was a tactic used against anti-war protesters of the Viet Nam war. "Commie pinko weirdo" was the epithet in those days.

    The second argument is why pick on Israel when there are human rights abuses elsewhere? Well, why protest the seal hunt when there's moose hunting? Why protest moose hunting when there are people being killed in _________ (fill in the blank). Why protest people being killed in X when the whole planet is being destroyed? At that rate no one would ever protest anything except the single worst crisis, which of course we could never agree on.

    I saw the Star covered a demonstration against Netenyahu's visit at

    Interesting that, front and center are several rabbis.