Extremism makes strange bedfellows. The Jewish Defense League is trying to rally Toronto Jews to protest against the city’s Pride parade committee by comparing gay people… to Nazis.
Ironically — as the Forward reported in January — a right-wing fanatic named Scott Lively had floated the notion that Nazis were “a homosexual, pagan cult” in a widely discredited book.
This time around, Toronto lesbian/gay newspaper Xtra reports, the JDL is using the comparison to lure Toronto Jews to a demonstration at Pride Toronto’s offices. JDL’s Facebook invitation asserts, in part, that “during the Nazi era, many high-ranking Nazis were gay,” Xtra reports.
Pride Toronto has been embroiled in controversy over its decision to allow a group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid to march. Thursday’s Toronto Sun urged Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to pull city funding for the annual June parade — North America’s largest — if QuAIA participates.
A decision is forthcoming, but Xtra reports that an April 12 report to the executive committee of Toronto city council revealed “City staff have determined that the phrase ‘Israeli apartheid’ in and of itself does not violate the City’s Anti-discrimination policy.”
Canadian Jewish leaders immediately condemned the JDL’s language. The statement is “inane, meaningless and nonsense,” Canadian Jewish Congress CEO Bernie Farber told Xtra. “By throwing out ridiculous epithets, we will not accomplish what we need to accomplish, which is to disallow hateful statements in the Pride parade. This kind of statement turns people off.”
Meir Weinstein, national director of the JDL’s Canadian branch, countered that “we are taking the gay community that runs this parade to task… We are speaking out against this vile, anti-Jewish, anti-Israel group.”
Comments on Xtra’s web site mostly scorned the JDL, including “stevemd2” from Baltimore, who noted that “In the USA i just noticed that the jewish defense league is a hate group, per the Southern Poverty Law center.”