From a NYC Queers Against Israeli Apartheid! press release:
QAIA protesters at the Israel Day Parade.
LGBT activists protested at New York City’s “Celebrate Israel” parade today, objecting to Israel’s apartheid laws denying Palestinian human rights and its use of gay rights messaging to portray Israel as open and democratic. Signs reading “Support Palestinian Queers” and “Israel: Stop Pinkwashing Apartheid” dotted the sidelines of the Fifth Avenue parade. Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA) organized the protest.
“Israel is trying to repair its horrible human rights profile by painting itself as a gay mecca,” said Brad Taylor of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. “But having some gay clubs in Tel Aviv doesn’t make Israel a democracy. Israel builds separate roads for Jews and Arabs, separate schools, separate neighborhoods. Your rights to work, travel, marry, etc. — they all depend on whether or not you’re Palestinian. It’s apartheid, whether you’re gay or straight.”
“The Israeli government’s ‘Brand Israel’ PR campaign tries to sell a twisted message: Israel supports gay rights, so you must support Israel — you can’t oppose Israeli violence against Palestinians. What a disgusting abuse of the LGBT community! So much of the LGBT community is absolutely outraged at the Israeli government,” said Emmaia Gelman of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.
The protesters also planned to challenge NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn as she marched in the parade, calling on her to take action to stop Muslim-baiting at NYC’s LGBT Community Center and in NYC’s Gay Pride parade. The community center ejected and banned groups meeting in support of Palestinian LGBT organizations last year, at the demand of pro-Israel individuals. Shortly afterward, pro-Israel marchers in NYC’s 2011 Gay Pride parade beset and assaulted a Palestine human rights contingent.
“Speaker Quinn is constantly telling us how important Israel is to her. But she hasn’t uttered a word about the Arab-baiting and Muslim-baiting that pro-Israel groups are fomenting in the LGBTQ community — her own backyard. The LGBT community is in an uproar about this discrimination, and she’s giving it the all-clear,” said Leslie Cagan of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.