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Unclear whether Israel will march in Pride

Fri 12 Dec 2014 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Protestors were removed from the parade route by security guards when they confronted the Israeli Embassy group. It remains unclear whether the Israeli Embassy will  march in the 2015 Auckland Pride Parade. The Embassy's float was halted by protestors from the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in this year's parade, in February. As it stands, the Embassy has not yet made a submission to take part in 2015, however entries don't close till mid-January. As for whether it would be allowed to march, Parade Director Richard Taki points to the Parade entry rules, which say if you are in the community, or a supporter of the community, you can take part, but ‘must communicate a clear, supportive and positive message relating to LGBTTIF people' and ‘must not be discriminatory, homophobic, racist or sexist'. “We will accept anyone who adheres to those rules. But they haven't, as yet, made a submission to march,” Taki says. The Israeli Embassy hasn't yet responded to Daily News over whether it plans to march in 2015. Queers Against Israeli Apartheid explained it took action this year because the event should be a “queer-positive space where our community can come together and celebrate who we are” and accused the embassy of “hijacking” queer struggles “in order to ‘pinkwash' its colonial violence towards Palestinians”. “We were not proud to see the Embassy of Israel included in Auckland Pride. This is why we had to take a stand, to protect queer spaces from being complicit in Israeli apartheid,” the group said. In turn, the Israeli Embassy said its presence was not to make a political statement, but was “not surprised” there was protest action against it. "We were just there because we are proud of who we are, the fact that we are the only country in the Middle East where gay people are accepted," an Embassy spokesperson told at the time. "We were also there to promote the Tel Aviv gay parade... Their pride parade is one of the biggest parties in the whole wide world... We weren't there to make any political statement. We were just there because we are proud of who we are. We were there to celebrate the gay community. We have a proud Israeli and Jewish gay community in New Zealand and in Israel." In the middle of this year, more than 2,000 people, the majority Gazans, were killed in a 50-day conflict in the Gaza Strip, sparking protests against Israel's actions around the world – including in New Zealand, with Queers Against Israeli Apartheid among the groups which took part. In a poll at the time, 69 per cent of readers who responded were in favour of the Israeli Embassy marching in the Auckland Pride Parade, with 31 per cent against.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Friday, 12th December 2014 - 6:39pm

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