On 24 June, a group of LGBTQ Jews were asked to leave Chicago’s annual Dyke March. The group, including Laurel Grauer from A Wider Bridge (an NGO that links with LGBTQ organisations in Israel), were approached by a group of activists asking about their intentions in carrying Pride flags with a Star of David imposed on a rainbow.
After a conversation ensued between the organisers and those carrying the flags, they were asked to leave due to their “Zionist” and “pro-Israel” views. In their statement, the organisers have not made clear what these “offensive” views are — they could have been views that were racist, but they could have been views that Israel has a right to exist, or that they have been on holiday to Israel.
The organisers affirm their “anti-Zionist” stance and solidarity with Palestinians, but still haven’t explained what they found objectionable. Those asked to leave have said that they were asked to leave because their flag was a “trigger” to some people. Regardless of what happened next, the fact a group of Jews, identified through the Star of David Pride flags, were approached and grilled on their stance on Palestine is unacceptable and antisemitic. It is not the responsibility of Jews to account for the state of Israel, just as it is not the responsibility of Muslims to account for the House of Saud. The tactics of the organisers also point to a trend of “no-platforming” rather than allowing debate and discussion, particularly prevalent on the American left, which uses the concept of “safe spaces” to shut down anyone who disagrees with the self-imposed ideological purity arbiters.
There is ongoing, serious debate among Jews about LGBTQ issues (LGBTQ Jews face discrimination from their own community and wider society), and about Israel — with Jewish views running the full gamut. It is nothing short of a disgrace that people should be harassed on a Pride march simply for being visibly Jewish.