Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, or QuAIA, formed to work in solidarity with queers in Palestine and Palestinian resistance movements around the world. Today, in response to increasing criticism of its occupation of Palestine, Israel is cultivating an image of itself as an oasis of gay tolerance in the Middle East. As queers, we recognize that homophobia exists in Israel, Palestine, and across all borders. But queer Palestinians face the additional challenge of living under occupation, subject to Israeli state violence and control. Israel’s apartheid system extends gay rights only to some, based on race.
There is no pride in apartheid, and QuAIA is dedicated to fighting it wherever it exists. We work in solidarity with anti-colonial struggles and with queers leading their own struggles of resistance.
QuAIA works to:
- mobilize in solidarity with groups and individuals to advance these political goals
- engage in a queer analysis of colonialism and anti-colonial struggles
- build a queer, anti-colonial, anti-racist, feminist movement against apartheid through mutual education and dialogue
- foster a culture of radical queer organizing
QuAIA supports the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
A BRIEF HISTORY
At a public forum at Toronto’s Israeli Apartheid Week 2008, queer activists spoke from the audience about the use of gay rights as a propaganda tool to justify Israel’s apartheid policies. They agreed to start a coalition to fight against this appropriation.
In 2008, queer activists formed contingents in the Dyke March and Pride Parade, sending out the messages that queers do not support apartheid wherever it exists.
In 2009, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid held two forums, at the University of Toronto and at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Speakers included:
- El-Farouk Khaki, grand marshal of the 2009 Toronto Pride parade;
- John Greyson, prominent Canadian filmmaker who boycotted the Tel Aviv gay film festival;
- Tim McCaskell, co-founder of the gay activist group Simon Nkoli Anti-Apartheid Committee, which fought against South African apartheid in the 1980s;
- Rafeef Ziadah, leading member of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid;
- Members of Aswat, a Palestinian gay women’s group.
In 2009 we marched again at Toronto Pride, despite attempts by Zionist organizations to ban us. We assembled in the largest anti-apartheid contingents ever: 180 in the Dyke March and over 200 in the main Pride parade.
We also joined the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, which includes other allies such as Labour for Palestine, Faculty for Palestine and Students Against Israeli Apartheid.
Our movement is growing stronger every day, and we won’t stop until Israeli apartheid is dismantled, brick by brick.
QuAIA has no chapters or branches. QuAIA only organizes in Toronto and has no affiliated groups.