Councillor Pasternak has played a prominent role in the debate around whether Toronto Pride should ban the Queers Against Israeli Apartheid group participating in the annual Toronto Pride celebrations. Specifically, Pasternak introduced a motion that directed City Manager Joe Pennachetti to update Toronto’s anti-discrimination policy and to determine whether including QAIA in Pride events violated the anti-discrimination policy. James said "My intent is to block the funding on June 6 and wait until after the parade to make sure they [QuAIA] didn’t march. We believe that QuAIA is not there to support the Palestinian people; it’s there to bully and demonize Israel, its supporters and the Jewish community." The following year, in 2013, James Pasternak continued to lead the effort to de-fund Toronto Pride over the use of the term Israel apartheid by its participating members.