During the 21st Annual Dyke March held one day before the main Pride March in Chicago, organizers ejected a small group of women carrying a rainbow flag with a Star of David. Dyke March organizer, John-Paul Pagano, sent out a press release detailing why the decision was made to expel Jews:
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. So we asked the folks to please leave. We told them people in the space were feeling threatened.”
Laurie Grauer, one of the women forced to leave told the Windy City Times that the flag was “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 continued, “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 is unfortunate at best that members of the queer community are confusing the making of spaces threatening-free and comfortable with fascism, confusing political astuteness with tyranny. Who decides which individuals and groups are considered the “in groups” and the “out groups”? Who elected these organizers as the Thought Police?
No matter how the organizers attempt to frame the issues, this is anti-Jewish oppression plain and simple! Shame on them and those who supported their decision!
Did the organizers throw themselves from the March by using the term “Dyke” in the title, a word that threatens many people?
Did the organizers expel all Republicans whose party has called for the exclusion of all Muslims from entering the United States?
Did the organizers eject practicing Catholics whose denomination in its official catechism describes same-sex sexuality as “acts of grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered”?
Who are these self-appointed purveyors of a demarcation line separating who is to be included and who excluded from our spaces? March organizers as well as several activists at last year’s annual National LGBTQ Taskforce “Creating Change” conference scared off those who supported the existence of the state of Israel. They did this in the complete absence of reasoned and respectful discussion and debate.