This past Pride weekend, Chicago Dyke March targeted two Queer Jewish women who were carrying a Pride flag with the Star of David on it. Chicago Dyke March proceeded to target, confront, shun, ban, and demonize them. They continue to do so online and in official statements. Today Trump’s Muslim travel ban has been reinstated and parts go into effect tonight at airports after being argued in the Supreme Court. No Grandparents and no fiancés are some of the family members not allowed to travel here in some of the more hurtful rulings of the ban. No out Jewish Dykes allowed to march at a Queer gathering on the streets of an American city either. Banning and shunning is an ancient form of punishment and we humans love to do it to each other because it hurts terribly. We are social creatures and we crave approval and belonging. We also fall into patterns of group think without critical analysis circumventing any intersectional truths to co-exist. This kind of censoring and shunning and targeting is damaging and deranged and we are at a scary tipping point.
The Chicago Dyke March has refused to issue an apology and has doubled down on their public statement that “Zionism is an inherently white-supremacist ideology.”– Chicago Dyke March Collective website and Facebook page. The Chicago Dyke March has decided that the women pose a threat to their way of life and ideals. We are living in very dangerous times when the Left starts acting like the Right.
The statement equating Zionism to White Supremacy ideology is inflammatory, horribly and historically wrong, incites fear mongering and violence and is just plain inaccurate. Using the word ‘Apartheid’ to describe the Israeli and Palestinian conflict is white-washing the pluralism of Israeli society, anti-Semitic, and historically minimizes the true suffering and total segregation under the colonial rule of the National Party in South Africa. The Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement (BDS) has done a good job marketing brand Palestine as freedom fighters and/or Social Justice Warriors who support Black Lives Matter and Trans Lives and only want a free and equal and Democratic society and that Israel is the great Satan and wholly to blame for everything. I believe concessions on both sides need to happen and ‘Generous Orthodoxy’ as referred to in Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, ‘Revisionist History Podcast’ needs to rule the day. I don’t believe in cultural boycotts and embargos. Just ask Cuba how that worked out for them. Artists and musicians and writers must talk and exchange ideas and collaborate for social change. I bristle at Orthodox religious dogma of all kinds. Shira Banki was murdered by a crazed zealot on the streets of Jerusalem while marching in the Pride parade there in 2015. She was 16 years old. Mahmoud Ishtiwi, a former commander in the armed wing of Hamas was executed by his own depraved comrades for being gay. Again, as a non-binary Queer I don’t support Orthodoxy on any side.
The organizers of Dyke March Chicago hate Israel. They hate most Jews or frankly anyone that believes that Israel has the right to exist. Dyke March Chicago have labeled some Jews ‘good Jews’ because they join in lock step with their rhetoric. Maybe some of us can wear gold stars or pink stars or black stars to separate us from ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ I say this somewhat facetiously but also sadly with some heavy irony and sardonic exhaustion. Kapos and Judenfrei are old fashioned words but I find them coming to mind these days and in during recent events. Ban Muslims from America. Ban Jews from Pride. Wait, what?!
Allies of Dyke March Chicago also hate anyone who tries to argue that Zionism can mean a belief in the ancestral homeland of Judaism as a religion and a race of people that existed long before 1948. Zionism has been corrupted by a large swath of the Left to translate into meaning colonialism and White Supremacist terror. But sometimes in the same breath, rhetoric used for condemning the Trump administration with is then inflicted upon their own members. Specifically the actions of targeting, banning, demonizing and slandering others in person or online. You may think you have a friend in the Progressive Social Justice movement who aligns with your beliefs but don’t ever dare be proud to be Jewish in public because you will be targeted and branded as an Islamophobe, a racist, a baby killer, a colonizer, and worse words that I don’t want to retype right now.
The frenzied act of perpetuating tenets of Blood libel is alive and well on most North American college campuses. You can literally waive the flag of ISIS at UC Berkeley, and you will be ignored or treated with a benign vague interest. But try waving the flag of Israel at the bastion and birthplace of the Free Speech movement and you are immediately verbally abused and targeted as evil. I have seen a video demonstrating this. It’s almost downright laughable except for the bone chilling reality of what it all means.
Trump’s racist dog whistle chant of ‘Make America Great Again’ has been inverted and transmogrified into a twisted and analogous drumbeat of ‘Allahu Akbar’ against people who support the State of Israel here in the United States. Look what happened at UC Davis in 2015 when the University was voting on a resolution in favor of Boycotting, Divesting and having Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Members of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) were waving Palestinian State flags and chanting and yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ at Jewish students at the meeting. A fight over Sovereign States turns into chants of God is Greater?! Again, Orthodoxy swinging its wide Backhoe to bludgeon and bury any discourse or dialogue. After the vote there was a fraternity house on campus that belongs to a Jewish organization vandalized with spray painted swastikas. Which God is Greater? Tolerance and ‘Generous Orthodoxy’ are desperately needed.
I support Free Speech and am against censorship but targeting and branding people and whipping up hatred and violence via bigotry is the most reprehensible act of mob mentality there is, after targeting and abusing a woman publicly that is.
It doesn’t matter to CDM that many flags were displayed at the Chicago Dyke March, many countries’ State flags, including Turkey where the cops and homophobic thugs disrupted and shut down the Pride parade in Istanbul. Other flags carried at the Dyke March were from countries that execute LGBT people and are some of the most xenophobic and racist places where Jews and ‘others’ have been subjugated, shunned, and banned for centuries. It seemingly doesn’t matter to many that social justice movements of groups like Black Lives Matter have been co-opted and appropriated by activists who have only one agenda- the ultimate destruction of the State of Israel and when they chant ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free’ this means the genocide and continued diaspora of the Jewish people and destruction of Israel. The river is Jordan. The Sea is the Mediterranean. Look on a map. Where does Israel go? Where do the Jews go? Israel has a population of 8 million people. 2 million are Arab and various races who worship and live freely. Not all the Arabs in Israel or Palestine are Muslim. Not all the Jews in Israel are White or have Ashkenazi ancestry. There are Druze populations and many other races and religions including Ethiopian Jews and MENA Jews (Middle Eastern/North African) as well as Yemenite Jews fleeing ravaged war torn lands. Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews along with many others make up Israeli society. To white-wash Israel as some offshoot of Dutch colonial Afrikaans is just plain propaganda.
The Chicago Dyke March has enlisted others to publicly support this heinous act of targeting, discrimination, and mob mentality that transpired on June 24th. What is disturbing is that while Muslims from six countries will be singled out and banned from traveling to the United States starting this week, an American Jewish Lesbian was targeted by her own so called community during a gathering on the streets of Chicago. What the hell is happening here? We are witnessing in real time the far right and the far left bend towards each other forming a circle of hate and bigotry. We are witnessing in real time the fanatical rewriting of history and new dog whistles are being used to help single people out and pursue and torment them with vitriol, violence, and hatred for no other reason than their race and/or religion and/or political beliefs.
I have protested at airports over the travel ban and I will continue to do so because it’s wrong, and bigoted and un-American. My parents and grandparents were immigrants. They came to this country with nothing as Displaced Persons after surviving WW2 and the Holocaust. They officially had no country. They were fleeing a country (Italy) that had been at war with the United States. They fled racial and religious persecution. Several of my relatives on my German Jewish side were not so lucky. My Great-Grandfather and several other relatives were murdered in death camps. The mystery girl with the pendant, Karoline Cohn featured here in the New York Times. was my Grandfather’s first cousin. She was murdered at the age of 14 at the Sobibor death camp in Poland after being forced into transport trains from Frankfurt, Germany. Her name now resides at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Her murder was finally solved 74 years later.
I speak up in Karoline’s name. I cannot silently watch a crowd of people get whipped up with hate and then target women in the streets for celebrating their identity. This incident is abhorrent and unacceptable.
The act of persecuting other people because of their race and/or religion is hideous to me and I feel the repulsion on a cellular level because it is literally in my DNA. Jews have been on the frontline of many social justice movements and have a long shared history with others over the painful legacy of slavery, diaspora, and surviving sustained and persistent persecution. To see the Alt-Left act similar to the Alt-Right is disturbingly reminiscent of when the Deutsche Studentenschaft (German Student Union) participated in book burnings including the 1933 assault on Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute of Sex Research in Berlin. Usually the first group to be scapegoated and massively targeted as the so called creators of society’s ills and civil unrest is the LGBT members of said society and we can see this happening on our daily news feeds from the religious right here in the US and in other parts of the world including Chechnya. The Left is not immune from being taken over by racists, homophobes, and fanatics with violent tendencies. The recent attack on a GOP member of Congress illustrates this point.
I have marched and participated in being a sponsoring vendor at San Francisco Dyke March and rally since its beginning in 1993. I am Queer. I am a gender non-conforming non-binary TransButch Dyke. I am ‘gay married’ and have had to fight for every right of equal protection under the law for decades. I have also marched and fought for safety and lawful protection of women and gender rights. The Dyke March in San Francisco was originally an offshoot of a Take Back the Night March after women and especially sex workers and transwomen sex workers were being targeted and brutalized on the streets. I have marched every year since 1993. This is very personal to me.
The rally that happens before the march gathers in Mission Dolores Park in SF ironically used to be a Jewish Cemetery from 1861 to 1895. The bodies were dug up in 1895 and moved south of San Francisco because City Planners had to make room for a quickly expanding city and open space and park areas were difficult to come by on a crowded peninsula. As of today, 5 days after the incident in Chicago, San Francisco Dyke March has still not released an official statement.
The Queer Jewish women who were targeted at the Chicago Dyke March have been labeled Zionists by other attendees and the organizers. The women who were thrown out of the march; one of them of Persian Jewish descent who was also accused of being a White Supremacist. During this incident, she was in tears and afraid and bitterly hurt. The Pride flag they carried had a Magen David or Star of David on it. The women were celebratory and happy to be publicly out as Queer and Jewish. Other attendees and the organizers saw their flag as being a blatant symbol of White Supremacy and Apartheid. For the Leftist ideology exhibited by Dyke March Chicago, the Star of David has become synonymous with the Third Reich’s swastika. Am I the only one who sees how terrifyingly dangerous this is? Also- it’s critical to consider that the likes of Drudge Report and Breitbart News and Fox News and other more extreme far right entities are doing cartwheels and high fives over this. A divided population is easier to control.
I have been to Israel and the Golan Heights and the Syrian border and Palestine and the West Bank. I have spoken at length with Israeli and Palestinian peace advocates and LGBT activists. To say things are very complicated is an understatement. People on the outside can argue about the politics and ideologies of Netanyahu and the Likud party and Abbas and the Palestinian Authority and Khaled Meshal and Yahya Sinwar of Hamas in Gaza. We can argue about the history of the region and there’s been plenty of that on social media this week. But no argument about occupation, settlements, suicide attacks, walls, tunnels, rocket attacks, and ongoing conflict is ever going to change the fact or ever justify the action of a group of Leftist Queers targeting, confronting, banning, and demonizing two Queer Jewish women at a Dyke March in an American city for carrying a pride flag with a Star of David on it.
The only appropriate response from the Dyke March organizers in Chicago is a full apology and retraction of what they have been officially saying online about this incident.
Copyright 2017 Jackie Rednour-Bruckman