oped: Can't y'all get along?
A gay pride march in Chicago ejected attendees for carrying flags emblazoned with the Star of David to signify Jewish pride and gay pride because the flags allegedly “made people feel unsafe.”
According to the Windy City Times, a paper for Chicago’s gay community, three people carrying the Jewish gay pride flags were forced to leave the Chicago Dyke March on Saturday.
A member of the Dyke March Collective, which ran the event, told the Windy City Times the flags “made people feel unsafe” and that the event was explicitly “anti-Zionist” and “pro-Palestine.”
The Chicago Dyke March Collective does not mention the words “Zionism” or “Palestine” on its “about” page.
Wider Bridge Movement Midwest Manager Laurel Grauer, who attended the rally, was said she was told to leave because her flag was deemed "triggering."
“They were telling me to leave because my flag was a trigger to people that they found offensive," Grauer told the Windy City Times. “Prior to this [march] I had never been harassed or asked to leave and I had always carried the flag with me.”
"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 explained.
Another attendee who was asked to leave, Iranian Jew Shoshany-Anderson said, “I was here as a proud Jew in all of my identities.”
"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,” she continued.
In a statement, Dyke March Chicago wrote, “Sadly, our celebration of dyke, queer and trans solidarity was partly overshadowed by our decision to ask three individuals carrying Israeli flags superimposed on rainbow flags to leave the rally. This decision was made after they repeatedly expressed support for Zionism during conversations with Dyke March Collective members.”
The flag featured a Jewish star and was rainbow.
According to Grauer, she was approached and asked if she was a Zionist.
“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 told the Windy City Times. “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.”
Dyke March Collective Member Iliana Figueroa told the Chicagoist, "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.”
The Dyke March Chicago has defended themselves from claims of anti-Semitism by repeatedly posting comments from Jews who are anti-Zionist on social media pages.