Spain bans Israeli group from gay parade

By Jennifer Lipman, June 9, 2010
A Gay Pride event in Tel Aviv

A Gay Pride event in Tel Aviv

Israel has been asked not to attend a Gay Pride event in Madrid because of the clashes on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

Organisers of Europe’s largest gay parade have withdrawn the offer for the Tel Aviv municipality to host a float at the event in July.

A Tel Aviv themed party featuring Israeli performers and DJs had been planned for the event in the Spanish capital, along with an appearance by a bus bearing the slogan "TLV Love Embassy".

Antonio Poveda, chairman of Spain’s Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals said the Israeli delegation has been banned from taking part because the mayor of Tel Aviv has not condemned the flotilla raid.

He added: “We see nothing wrong with Israeli organisations which are clearly in defence of human rights, taking part privately in Gay Pride.”

Mike Hamel, Chair of Israel’s Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender association in Israel called the cancellation “unfortunate”.

“There is a potential for dialogue, to understand each other, and it’s a shame that it’s lost.”

But he said the ban wasn’t a political decision.

“Spain has a large Muslim and radical left population and I think they were worried that the Israeli delegation would face violence.

“It was made because of security concerns.”

The ban was issued after Israeli businessmen were attacked and injured by pro-Palestinian protesters at a conference in Madrid.

Last updated: 10:55am, June 9 2010