“We stand 100%” with exclusion of Jews holding Jewish Pride Flag
We reported yesterday on the exclusions of certain Jews from a “Dyke March” in Chicago when they were spotted carrying a Jewish Pride Flag, the classic rainbow flag with a Star of David in the middle, Psychosis-laced anti-Semitism: Anti-Israel LGBT activists ban Star of David from Chicago parade.
In that post, we detailed the history of the anti-Israel movement embraced by some radical LGBT activists, despite the obvious detachment from reality of siding with one of the most homophobic societies on the planet (Palestinians) against one of the most enlightened (Israel). That detachment from reality is understood only by understanding how anti-Israel activists specifically have set out to hijack other movements and redirect them from the original cause to an anti-Israel movement.
Among the leaders of this tactic is Jewish Voice for Peace, which has targeted the pro-Israel LGBT community with physical disruption and intimidation.
The actions have been widely condemned in the LGBT community, including by The Human Rights campaign:
But by far, The Chicago Dyke March incident has received widespread media attention because of the anti-Semitic nature of the conduct. The local Chicago CBS News affiliate focused on this issue:
A Jewish woman said she was asked to leave the Chicago Dyke March for displaying a rainbow flag with a Jewish Star of David on it.
Jewish people celebrating Saturday’s march in Chicago were reportedly told not to display Star of David flags, as others found them “offensive.” …
CBS 2 reached out to a woman carrying one of the flags that set off the controversy. “They asked me to leave even before they asked if I was a Zionist,” Laurel Grauer said.
The person quoted in the CBS News report had already elaborated on that happened:
“You have to leave because you are making people feel unsafe. You are putting them in danger by being here.” I was told this by Chicago’s Dyke Collective organizers, volunteers, and even other marchers. Why? Because I was carrying a rainbow flag with a single Jewish star.
For over ten years, I have marched in Dyke March, carrying this same flag, without incident. This flag I received from my congregation, Congregation Or Chadash, which was founded over 42 years ago when the Jewish community still closed its doors to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews. While there is always work to be done as far as including and empowering LGBTQ Jews within Jewish spaces, the community as a whole has come a long, long way.
In part, by carrying this flag, it has allowed me to show the pride I carry for me and my identities, as well as my communities. “That may be what the flag means to you, but other people find it offensive. This march is a private event and you are offending the organizers of this event.”
Another participant who was asked to leave, Ellie Otra, wrote about it on Facebook. Her entry reads, in part:
During the picnic in the park, organizers in their official t-shirts began whispering and pointing at me and soon, a delegation came over, announcing they’d been sent by the organizers. They told me my choices were to roll up my Jewish Pride flag or leave. The Star of David makes it look too much like the Israeli flag, they said, and it triggers people and makes them feel unsafe. This was their complaint.
I tried to explain — no, no! It’s the ubiquitous symbol of Judaism. I just want to be Jewish in public. No luck. So I tried using their language. This is an intersectional march, I said. This is my intersection. I’m supposed to be able to celebrate it here. No, they said. People feel unsafe. I tried again to explain about the Star of David. I tried again to use their language, to tell them that not being able to be visibly, flagrantly, proudly Jewish on my terms makes *me* feel unsafe. This was what I said.
But it didn’t work. After some fruitless back-and-forth, during which more people joined the organizers’ delegation and used their deeper voices, larger physical size, and greater numbers to insistently talk over my attempts at explanation, at conversation, I recognized a losing battle and left sobbing.
The justifications for this action by the organizers, which we detailed in the prior post, are consistent with these accounts, though they reject being labeled anti-Semitic.
But what happened is classic anti-Semitism. People were singled out and treated differently because they displayed the Star of David. They then were subjected to a litmus test imposed on no one else, precisely because of the expression of Jewish identity.
That is what happened to American Jewish musician Matisyahu in 2015, when anti-Israel activists from the BDS movement singled him out and demanded he renounce Israel. When he refused, they pressured the music festival organizers to drop him from the lineup. When this became known, the actions were widely condemned in the Spanish press and by the Spanish government as religious discrimination. The concert organizers then relented, and Matisyahu was able to give his performance.
Yair Rosenberg of The Tablet Magazine made this point on Twitter: “… if you feel the need to interrogate every Jew & demand they denounce Israel before allowing them in your space, you’re an anti-Semite.”
The exclusion of these Jews from the Dyke March was even worse than what happened to Matisyahu, because this took place on public property. There has been a widespread condemnation of this anti-Semitism precisely because of the outrageous manner in which it took place.
The Algemeiner reports how this imposition of a litmus test was “even worse” than the normal, run-of-the mill BDS anti-Semitism:
The founder of the premier organization linking the LGBT communities in North America and Israel slammed on Monday the organizers of a gay rights march in Chicago for justifying the exclusion of Jewish participants.
Arthur Slepian — the founder and executive director of A Wider Bridge (AWB) — said the response of the Chicago Dyke March Collective to condemnation of its decision to ban the participation of Jews carrying rainbow flags embossed with the Star of David at its march on Saturday was “at least as heinous, or even more heinous, than original exclusion.” ….
Slepian said the decision to prevent Grauer and her friends from marching was “clearly antisemitism.”
But the organizers’ response to the condemnation — in which they stressed that “anti-Zionist” Jews were welcome at the march — was “even worse,” Slepian told The Algemeiner.
“They are saying, ‘only the good Jews need apply,’” Slepian said. “They want to impose a litmus test, have people swear an oath that they are not friends of Israel.”
Haaretz reports on other reactions:
The Anti-Defamation League said in a statement Monday that march organizers should apologize to the women for what it described as an “outrageous” action.
“The community of LGBTQ supporters is diverse and that is part of its tremendous strength,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO. “Both the act and the explanation were anti-Semitic, plain and simple. We stand with A Wider Bridge and others in demanding an apology. We appreciate the Human Rights Campaign’s support and we call on other leaders from LGBTQ and progressive communities to join us in condemning this exclusion.” ….
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights NGO, also denounced the banning of the Jewish Pride flags, saying it “brings disgrace to a movement that is dedicated to equal rights for all.”
“Equal rights that is except for Jews who dare to celebrate their ties to their people and the Jewish homeland,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the center, said in a statement.
He added: “The unbridled hypocrisy and anti-Semitism of these campaigners degrades the cause for equality for all in our society and for LGBTQ rights around the world.”
The AJC issued the following statement:
AJC is appalled that several Jewish participants in a gay pride parade in Chicago were told to leave the event because their flags had the Jewish Star of David.
“In the heart of our city one of the most blatant incidents of anti-Semitism took place today at the Dyke March,” said AJC Chicago Director Amy Stoken. “Where is the collective outrage over this despicable targeting of Jews?” …
“An annual march celebrating inclusion and acceptance was hijacked today by those who believe Jews do not belong to the LGBTQ community,” said Stoken. “Shame on the organizers of the Dyke March for not ensuring Jewish marchers can participate as freely as any other participant.”
The organizers, however, are getting support from Jewish Voice for Peace’s Chicago group.
JVP-Chicago tweeted out its support for excluding these Jewish LGBT persons:
JVP-Chicago also posted supportive messages on Facebook:
[Update: At some point on Tuesday morning, June 27, 2017, JVP-Chicago uploaded a statement justifying the exclusions of these Jews beause they represented Zionism. Their account differs from the accounts of the individuals excluded, and is not even consistent with the initial statements of the organizers quoted in our initial post, who emphasized that the flag with the Star of David made them feel uncomfortable and threatened.]
If you have followed our coverage of JVP, none of this would surprise you. JVP ran ads in support of convicted murder Marwan Barghouti, was one of the biggest supporters of convicted supermarket bomber and immigration fraudster Rasmea Odeh, and enables anti-Semitism by providing Jewish cover for anti-Semites, and twisting of Jewish holidays into anti-Israel events. The Chicago branch has been particularly active on behalf of Odeh.
When the Jewish community examines what happened at the Chicago Dyke March, it needs to consider not only how we got to the point that Jews are being singled out on the streets and subjected to litmus tests applied to no one else, but also how JVP encourages and supports such abuse.
[Featured Image via Chicago Dyke March Facebook Page]DONATE
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