The City of Toronto’s revised anti-discrimination policy will be voted on at the City Council meeting on June 11 and 12. In recent months, pro-Israel groups have lobbied the City to use this policy to forbid any discussion of “Israeli apartheid” at municipally sponsored events. If implemented, such a measure would result either in the exclusion of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from the Toronto Pride Parade, or in the de-funding of Pride by City Hall. Multiple other municipally-sponsored institutions such as TIFF and the AGO – both of which have held open discussions of Israel apartheid in the past – would also be effected.
City staff have repeatedly advised that there is no legal foundation to do this, and that sentiment was reflected in the draft policy presented to the Executive Committee on April 9. Nevertheless, the Committee has proposed a number of redundant, confusing and vague amendments to the policy (such as a proscription of “partisan political activity”) that they still hope can be used to ban criticism of Israel.
These repeated attempts by the Mayor and other right-wing councillors to silence critics of Israel amount to suppression of free speech and bullying of the queer community. Please sign this petition to demand that City Council approve the new City Anti-discrimination Policy without amendments. This policy should not be used to shield foreign governments from criticism for human rights abuses, or to undermine freedom of expression.