Pride Toronto reverses ban on "Israeli Apartheid"

Pride Toronto has announced they will "no longer restrict language in the Parade," rescinding on its controversial ban of the phrase "Israeli apartheid."

The decision to reverse the ban comes just one week before the 2010 Pride Parade. In lieu of a language restriction, all participants must now read, sign and abide by the City of Toronto's Declaration of a Non-Discrimination Policy.

Pride Toronto's flip-flop comes after members of the community threatened to boycott the parade. Award recipients also returned prizes and candidates turned down the grand marshal and honoured dyke titles in protest.

"I think this has been an incredible victory," Queers Against Israeli Apartheid member Elle Flanders told the Toronto Star. "I believe in this community and I'm glad to see that Pride has put its faith back in the community."

Pride Toronto initially banned the term "Israeli Apartheid" last month, fearing multiple sources would pull funding. In a statement released June 7, the group also stated "the use of the words 'Israeli apartheid' made participants feel unsafe."

I guess board members changed their minds on that. Was this capitulation a response to pressure, or a genuine change of heart?

"We have reached the understanding that it is not our job to implement the city's policies onto our participants," Pride Toronto executive director Tracey Sandilands said to the Star.

I don't think we'll get a real answer.

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