Claims of anti-Semitism are being made over actions yesterday by organizers of a “Dyke March” in Chicago to remove certain Jewish participants from the event because they carried a Jewish LGBT Pride Flag that had a Star of David in the Middle of a rainbow flag. The flag was alleged to be “triggering” to “pro-Palestinian” participants.

I’ll discuss the specifics below.

Was it anti-Semitism? Objectively, yes.

To single out Jews in this manner, and to apply unique standards to Jews, is anti-Semitism, regardless of subjective intent. See my lecture, When Does Anti-Israelism Turn Into Anti-Semitism?

By analogy, no one would hesitate to call actions racist if blacks were singled out for criticism using standards applied to no other group. The claim that the actions were merely “anti-Zionist” doesn’t hold up. There is no legitimate reason to single out the only Jewish-majority state, and apply standards not applied to dozens of Muslim-majority states and societies.

Yet those assertions of anti-Semitism miss the deeper issue. The objective anti-Semitism of these LGBT activists is based on a detachment from reality.  Those activists single out the most LGBT-friendly society in the Middle East (Israel) for criticism and ostracism, and celebrate one of the most homophobic societies in the world (Palestinian).

To understand what just happened in Chicago, accordingly, requires an understanding of how the anti-Israel movement, particularly the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has become pathological. It is an irrationality that is beyond reason, and it inevitably expresses itself in discrimination against Jews.

Anti-Pinkwashing and The Exclusion of Israel Supporters From Progressive Causes

What just happened in Chicago has been years in the making.

It’s hard to explain, because the theory behind anti-Israel LGBT activism is so maniacal. I tried to explain it in this March 2012 post, Another low for academia: Anti-Israel “Homonationalism and Pinkwashing” Conference at CUNY:

You need no better example of how twisted parts of academia have become than to look at an anti-Israeli conference being organized at The City University of New York devoted to the issue of “homonationalism and pinkwashing.”

I have posted before about the “pinkwashing” charge leveled by anti-Israel gay activists.

Israel, the only country in the Middle East with a humane record on treatment of gays, is singled out for scorn by anti-Israel gay activists who fear that giving Israel credit on gay rights may take away from the war on Israel launched by groups and countries openly hostile to gays.

The pinkwashing charge rightly is described as part of an attempt to exterminate any semblance of Israeli legitimacy:

To these sick people, it is literally impossible for Israel or Israelis to do anything admirable outside the context of the conflict. The conflict is everything…. Anything that could blunt the demonization of the Jewish state is by definition as evil as the Jewish state itself is.

I further tried to explain the phenomenon in this January 2016 post, Jewish Voice for Peace helps disrupt Israeli LGBTQ group Sabbath event, which has video and images, and explains the tactic:

The pinkwashing charge is essential for BDS on U.S. college campuses because BDS has trouble squaring its support for regimes (including Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, not to mention most Arab countries) which abuse and persecute gays with BDS’s attempt to co-opt the progressive movement.

Hence, the pinkwashing claim that Israel’s promotion of its gay-friendly policies is actually a greater evil than the abuse heaped on gays in areas controlled by Israel’s enemies.

Here is the video of that disruption of an Israeli LGBT group in Chicago in January 2016:

LGBT supporters of Israel seem to earn the particular ire of anti-Israel groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, which recently targeted at-risk LGBT participants in the Israel Day Parade for physical intimidation:

The targeting of the LGBTQ pro-Israel community is becoming an obsession for JVP. During the recent Israel Day Parade in New York City on June 4, 2017, JVP activists sought out and physically disrupted a particularly vulnerable group, Orthodox Jewish youth who had “come out” and were marching openly in the parade.

The attempt to exclude Israel supporters from any progressive movement is a key tactic of the anti-Israel movement, and is not limited to LGBT events. Most recently, Islamist activist Linda Sarsour demanded that Zionist women be excluded from the Women’s March movement.

There also has been an attempt to hijack other causes and turn them against Israel, as I explained in If you are surprised #BlackLivesMatter joined war on Israel, you haven’t been paying attention:

For years we have been documenting the efforts by anti-Israel activists to stoke racial hatred of Israel through the concept of “intersectionality” – the notion that all revolutionary struggles, particularly against racism, are connected.

The almost exclusive focus, however, is Israel.  Hence, Israel is falsely blamed for local police shootings of blacks in the U.S. based upon false and misleading claims I debunked in my post, Exposed: Years-long effort to blame Israel for U.S. police shootings of blacks.

The movement to connect Ferguson-to-Palestine launched after the Michael Brown shooting, and has been a singular focus of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists ever since.

Anti-Israel activists played an active role in stoking violence in Ferguson, as I documented in Intifada Missouri – Anti-Israel activists may push Ferguson over the edge and Anti-Israel activist still stoking fires in #Ferguson.

A good history also is in How The Black Lives Matter and Palestinian Movements Converged.

No other country except Israel is used as pervasively as the connector for intersectionality. It’s a seedy tactic meant to exploit domestic U.S. racial tensions having nothing to do with Israel, and to turn those tensions into racial hatred of the supposedly “white” Israel. Underlying it all are anti-Semitic stereotypes of omnipresent Jewish manipulation, such as those spread by Oberlin College professor Joy Karega.

There have been successes at the campus level, such as at Oberlin, of inserting anti-Israel language into list of Demands from Black Lives Matter protesters.

Many of the leading Black Lives Matters leaders are also anti-Israel activists. They receive encouragement and support from people like Marc Lamont Hill for linking Israel to problems of black in the U.S.….

What happened in Chicago this weekend did not take place in a vacuum. It took place as part of a movement which seeks to turn anything good about Israel into a vice, and to hijack social justice movement and turn them into anti-Zionist movements.

The Chicago “Dyke March”

The Windy City Times provides the key background on the Dyke March and the exclusion of Jews carrying the Jewish LGBT Pride flag, which looks like this flag from a different event:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Jewish_flags#/media/File:Capital_Pride_Festival_Concert_DC_Washington_DC_USA_57067_(18656020369).jpg

[Via Wikimedia Commons – cropped – Ted Eytan – Photo credit and license here]

More than 1,500 at Dyke March in Little Village, Jewish Pride flags banned:

… More than 1,500 LGBTQ individuals and allies gathered at Little Village Academy at Lawndale and 26th….

However, also asked to leave by Collective members of the Dyke march were three people carrying Jewish Pride flags (a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center).

According to one of those individuals—A Wider Bridge Midwest Manager Laurel Grauer—she and her friends were approached a number of times in the park because they were holding the flag.

“It was a flag from my congregation which celebrates my queer, Jewish identity which I have done for over a decade marching in the Dyke March with the same flag,” she told Windy City Times.

She added that she lost count of the number of people who harassed her.

One Dyke March collective member asked by Windy City Times for a response, said the women were told to leave because the flags “made people feel unsafe,” that the march was “anti-Zionist” and “pro-Palestinian.”

“They were telling me to leave because my flag was a trigger to people that they found offensive,” Grauer said. “Prior to this [march] I had never been harassed or asked to leave and I had always carried the flag with me.”

Another of those individuals asked to leave was an Iranian Jew Eleanor Shoshany-Anderson.

“I was here as a proud Jew in all of my identities,” Shoshany-Anderson asserted. “The Dyke March is supposed to be intersectional. I don’t know why my identity is excluded from that. I fell that, as a Jew, I am not welcome here.”

As of time of midnight Saturday, Windy City Times received no official statement from Dyke March organizers. However, social media posts in support of their decision claimed that a rainbow flag with a Star of David is a form of pink washing (a theory postulated by a City University of New York professor which claims that Israeli support of LGBTQ communities is designed to detract attention from civil and human rights abuses of Palestinian people.)

Supporters added that American flags were similarly not welcome as they too are considered signs of oppression. However, flags from other nations were present.

One Dyke Marcher, Ruthie Steiner, who witnessed the ejection, called the decision “horrific.”

“This is not what this is community is supposed to be about,” she told Windy City Times. “I’m German-born. Am I pink washing by being here and supporting my community? Is every nation which does not have a clean civil-rights record and also hosts a Pride parade guilty of pink washing? With all the people that so hate the LGBTQ community, for it to tear itself apart in self-hatred makes no sense at all.”

“People asked me if I was a Zionist and I said ‘yes, I do care about the state of Israel but I also believe in a two-state solution and an independent Palestine,'” Grauer said. “It’s hard to swallow the idea of inclusion when you are excluding people from that. People are saying ‘You can be gay but not in this way.’ We do not feel welcomed. We do not feel included.”

The Forward further reported:

One of the Jewish marchers, Laurel Grauer, Midwest manager of A Wider Bridge, a group that forges ties between LGBT Jews in Israel and North America, told the publication that she has carried her Jewish Pride flag in the same parade for more than a decade, and said that it “celebrates my queer, Jewish identity.” She also said she lost count of the number of people who harassed her over the flag on Saturday.

“People asked me if I was a Zionist and I said ‘yes, I do care about the state of Israel but I also believe in a two-state solution and an independent Palestine,’” Grauer said. “It’s hard to swallow the idea of inclusion when you are excluding people from that. People are saying ‘You can be gay but not in this way.’ We do not feel welcomed. We do not feel included.”

You can see in this Windy City Times video that there were many Palestinian flags carried by marchers:

Here are two screen shots:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia5m7gwNYkg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia5m7gwNYkg

Here are more images indicating the presence of anti-Israel activists in the parade:

Attempts to Justify The Discrimination

The organizers have been scrambling to deflect the charge of anti-Semitism. The official Dyke March Chicago Twitter account has been turned private, but I grabbed these screen shots of its explanation before it went private:

Chicagoist has an explanation from one organizer:

Iliana Figueroa, a Dyke March Collective member, spoke to Chicagoist Sunday afternoon about the mounting criticisms on social media that Dyke March is facing in the wake of the march for the decision to ask the three people to leave. She says the Dyke March Collective is not anti-Semitic, and the decision reflected the members’ desire to support pro-Palestinian participants who believed the flags symbolized Zionism.

“Yesterday during the rally we saw three individuals carrying Israeli flags super imposed on rainbow flags. Some folks say they are Jewish Pride flags. But as a Collective we are very much pro-Palestine, and when we see these flags we know a lot of folks who are under attack by Israel see the visuals of the flag as a threat, so we don’t want anything in the [Dyke March] space that can inadvertently or advertently express Zionism,” she said. “So we asked the folks to please leave. We told them people in the space were feeling threatened.”

Figueroa also said she gave the people her cell phone number and offered to discuss the decision with them more later. She added that they didn’t leave immediately, but stayed at the Dyke March rally for “a few hours.”

Figueroa added that the collective will release a statement on the incident after it finishes crafting one, and that members have asked pro-Palestinian organizations and others to release statements of solidarity with Dyke March as well. In the meantime, the collective is facing accusations of anti-semitism on social media.

Conclusion

It’s quite clear from the events and explanations that this was anti-Semitism, straight up. But it also was part of a deliberate strategy implemented by anti-Israel activists several years in the making based on a deep emotional and intellectual detachment from reality.

Exclusion of Jews, attacks on Jews, disruption of Jews all now are part of the plan. It’s up to the majority of the LGBT community to see to it that its desire for equality does not fall victim to another hijacking by anti-Israel activists.