Report: Madrid Bans Israelis From Gay Pride March Over Gaza Flotilla Raid

Israeli gay delegates angry over ban, say Spanish gay federation should not mix politics with gay pride, The Guardian reports.

Madrid has banned an Israeli delegation from the city's gay pride paradein protest at last week's Gaza flotilla raid, British daily The Guardian reported on Wednesday.

Israeli gay pride marchers in Jerusalem, June 25, 2009

"After what has happened, and as human rights campaigners, it seemed barbaric to us to have them taking part," Antonio Poveda, of Spain's Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transexuals and Bisexuals told The Guardian.

"We don't just defend our own little patch," he said.

According to the Guardian, the Israeli group, all Tel Aviv residents, have reacted angrily to the notification, and said that the decision to mix the Gaza flotilla with gay pride was wrong.

Israel drew worldwide condemnation after nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed when navy commandos boarded ships Gaza-bound aid boats.

Tel Aviv municipalityspokesman Eytan Schwartz told the Spanish paper El Mundo that it was not the city's job to either support or condemn such issues.

"I don't recall Madrid's gay organizations condemning any of the Palestinian terrorist attacks on cafes or buses," Schwartz said. "Islamist fundamentalists don't just want to finish off Israel but that they also believe homosexuals should 'cure themselves' or die."

Schwartz added that the Spanish federation that made the decision should speak to the gay Arabs who flee their countries for Tel Aviv, where they live secretly, "because they would be murdered at home if they revealed their sexuality".

A well known gay activist in Israel, Mike Hamel told the Guardian that the group of Israelis were invited as individuals and not as the country's official representatives, and questioned "why do they mix politics with a gay pride procession?"