Why Did a Chicago Pride March Allegedly Ban Jewish Flags?
Three women carrying Jewish Pride flags (rainbow flags bearing the six-point Star of David) were reportedly asked to leave yesterday’s Dyke March in Chicago, Illinois by some of the march’s organizers. A member of the Dyke March collective said that the flags “made people feel unsafe” and that the march was “anti-Zionist” and “pro-Palestinian.” But the women who were ejected contend that their flags represent their intersectional identities as queer women of Jewish faith.
One of the women, Laurel Grauel, said that an organizer told her that her Jewish pride flag was “offensive” and “a trigger to people.”
Grauel told The Windy City Times:
“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.’ 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.”
Interestingly, Grauel is the Midwest Manager of a group called A Wider Bridge, a pro-Israeli group that has been accused of “pinkwashing” (in this case, using Israel’s LGBTQ rights record to distract from its human rights abuses against LGBTQ Palestinians). The group’s reception at the 2016 Creating Change national conference on LGBTQ equality was heavily protested by hundreds of queer and pro-Palestinian activists.
The Chicago Dyke March has not yet made an official statement about the alleged ejection, but commenters on the collective’s Facebook page have begun leaving one-star reviews accusing the organization of anti-Semitism and preferential treatment. Some commentors point out that flags of other nations were allowed at the march and that the Jewish pride flag is not an Israeli flag, although the two bear the same star at their center.
“This decision was made after they repeatedly expressed support for Zionism during conversations with Chicago Dyke Mark Collective members…. The Chicago Dyke March Collective is explicitly not anti-Semitic, we are anti-Zionist. The Chicago Dyke Mark Collective supports the liberation of Palestine and all oppressed people everywhere. From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go!!”
Another tweet of theirs reads: “AND EVEN THO THIS SHOULD BE OBVIOUS, QUEER AND TRANS ANTI-ZIONIST JEWISH FOLKS ARE WELCOME HERE ? ?? WE LOVE YOU AND NEED YOU.”
However, commenters continue to question their methods and motives regarding the incident.