activism

I’m a Lesbian But The Chicago Dyke March Doesn’t Speak For Me

chicago dyke march

It feels strange to be angry at people marching for human rights, especially when their cause is so near and dear to my wife, son and me. But last Saturday, three Jewish individuals were banned from participating in the Dyke March Chicago. Their crime? Carrying rainbow pride flags with the star of David.

When I learned that the organizers’ decision to ask them to leave was based on the participants’ apparent affiliation with the State of Israel, I felt uneasy. Because as a Zionist, gay woman, I can easily recognize good old anti-Semitism masked by the cloak of anti-Zionism. Never mind hijacking an important cause to promote a one-sided political agenda.

Making matters worse, the parade edited its Facebook post to “make clear that anti-Zionist Jewish volunteers and supporters are welcome at Dyke March.”

Thank you very much, but what gives the parade organizers the right to decide which Jews are and are not welcome, and to incorrectly define Zionism while they’re at it? This stance is offensive, ignorant and a misuse of a platform. Furthermore, in an event that pleads for recognition and inclusion, the only message I got was that someone like me would have had to sit out. And that doesn’t feel right.

The activist group Jewish Voice for Peace is publicly defending the Dyke March, and has pointed out that other Jews at the march, wearing Jewish symbols, including Stars of David, t-shirts with Hebrew, kippot, and sashes with Yiddish script, were not asked to leave. But I say, bullshit.

By definition, Zionism is the belief that Jews should have a homeland in the historic Land of Israel. Being a Zionist doesn’t make one pro-settlement, pro-wall, anti-Palestinian or a racist. But being against Zionism means you oppose Israel’s right to exist. Period.

To me, being an anti-Zionist is at odds with being a human rights activist because it calls to ignore and invalidate one side’s narrative—it hinders peace, coexistence and merely feeds extremism on both sides. So here’s where it gets tricky: If you’re against Zionism, you’re also against Palestinians. Period.

When people, like the Dyke March Chicago organizers, casually toss around terms and implement nonsensical bans, it hurts everyone. Zionism is not a dirty word, and being a Zionist in 2017 means promoting the future of a secure Jewish state. Without this, there will never be peace or a Palestine.

Sounds weird, but if you’re pro-Palestinian, you sure as hell better be pro-Israel; and the other way around. The future of these populations is dependent solely upon on their ability to coexist. In fact, I’d go as far to say that the future of any population depends on its ability to coexist.

Isn’t this something the Dyke March Chicago organizers should have understood? Wasn’t the purpose of their parade, inclusion versus exclusion?

I resent any “dyke” movement that acts as a vehicle to promote false information and blatant anti-Semitism. More importantly, I think it’s incredibly harmful. So, from one dyke to the others: Do your homework and get educated. This is a time to unify, not divide.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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