A parade counterprotest sees "queerness as an ongoing engagement in the liberation of all people." (Aaron Levy-Wolins/J. Staff)
A parade counterprotest sees "queerness as an ongoing engagement in the liberation of all people." (Aaron Levy-Wolins/J. Staff)

Pro-Palestinian groups plan countermarch, boycott of SF Pride parade

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

Jewish Voice for Peace Bay Area, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT) and Brass Liberation Orchestra announced plans to boycott Sunday’s San Francisco Pride Parade due to the participation of organizations and politicians who have “supported Israel’s bloodshed in Gaza” and events they say are corporate-driven and ignore the plight of the Palestinians.

“In the spirit of Stonewall, this march will gather queer and trans people who understand queerness as an ongoing engagement in the liberation of all people — including and especially the Palestinian people, who are experiencing genocide and settler colonial state oppression, ” organizers said in a press release on Thursday. They will meet at Church and Market streets and march on an undisclosed route.

The press release named Sen. Scott Wiener, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey, Mayor London Breed, the Jewish Community Relations Council Bay Area, as well as Amazon and Google, charging them with complicity in Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza. Organized under the banner of “No Pride in Genocide: Queer and Trans March for Palestinian Liberation,” the activists also accuse SF Pride of facilitating “pinkwashing,” a strategy they allege Israel uses to divert attention from its military actions by highlighting its positive LGBTQ+ rights record.

“These are dehumanizing accusations that erase the experience of queer Israelis and ones that need to be rejected outright,” said JCRC CEO Tye Gregory. “To conflate the experiences of an LGBT community in Israel with that of its government’s policies is something we don’t do to queer people anywhere else in the world — not in Russia, or Myanmar, not in the Arab world. It seems like only Israel has this standard, and you have to ask why — and the reason is it’s motivated by antisemitism.”

The protest is endorsed by a number of organizations, including Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Bay Area Families for Ceasefire, Bay Area American Indian Two Spirits, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Teaching Palestine and Showing up for Racial Justice. 

SF Pride is the city’s largest annual event by attendance, and one of the largest LGBTQ+ celebrations in the world, with over 200 parade contingents and exhibitors and more than 1 million people expected to attend.

Conflict flared publicly earlier this month after questions circulated online about whether an “Israeli float” would be part of this year’s parade. SF Pride released a statement June 4 explaining that there would be “no Israeli float,” and released a subsequent statement two days later to clarify its position and address Jewish community concerns.

Several dozen Jewish groups are scheduled to march in the parade, with a large contingent led by JCRC Bay Area and JCCSF. JFCS/East Bay will march with immigrant and refugee-serving organizations highlighting their work to resettle LGBTQ+ refugees, and Congregation Sha’ar Zahav will march with a multifaith group of religious organizations called United in Spirit.