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Chicago LGBT March faces backlash for ejecting “Zionist” attendees with Star of David Pride flags

“Dyke March Chicago”, a pro-LGBT event, is facing a backlash from much of the LGBT community and beyond after having ejected three attendees who were flying a pride flag with a Star of David for being “Zionists”.

The three Jewish attendees were told that the Star of David flags were “making others feel unsafe” and asked to leave.

One of the three, Iranian Jew Eleanor Shoshany-Anderson commented that “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”.

A tweet, which was retweeted by the March’s Twitter account, claims that the three Jewish marchers were “approached and engaged” by members of the march, who questioned them about the flag. After they established that the group were Zionists, they were ejected. The march’s organisers subsequently issued a statement in which they said that ” anti-Zionist Jewish volunteers and supporters are welcome at Dyke March”. This sets an incredibly worrying precedent. The Star of David, whilst it is associated with the State of Israel, is also a Jewish symbol which has existed for hundreds of years. The effect of the organisers’ actions is to establish a kind of test for Jewish attendees, who must meet a standard of ideological purity of being “anto-Zionist” to be “welcome at Dyke March”. Moreover, according to the Definition of Antisemitism, “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour)” is antisemitic.

Whilst Dyke March faced an outpouring of criticism on their social media, both from within the LGBT community and from Jews, as well as from others, they have hidden behind support for ideologically similar groups, for example sharing an article that claims that there is “there is no room for Zionism of any kind” in social justice movements, describing Zionism as a “racist and colonialist ideology that rationalizes violence against Black and brown people”. They have also shielded themselves from accusations of antisemitism by the presence and support of Jewish anti-Zionists. However, claiming that Jews can only be acceptable if they fit comfortably into an ideological box which has been pre-approved is antisemitic, subjecting Jewish individuals to a level of scrutiny which others simply do not experience.