"People are saying 'You can be gay but not in this way.'"
June 26, 2017 10:14 AM   Subscribe

At this past Saturday's Chicago Dyke March, controversy ensued when 3 women displaying Jewish Pride flags (a Star of David superimposed onto a rainbow flag) were asked to leave the event for making others feel "unsafe".

Chicago Dyke March's statement on the subject.
posted by The Gooch (431 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
*smacks hand on forehead*
posted by Melismata at 10:19 AM on June 26 [8 favorites]


FFS.

Just FFS.

Of course, being bi (or as I prefer, nonjudgmental) I have seen just how intersectional that community can really be. I mean, I haven't been spit on, so there's that.
posted by Samizdata at 10:24 AM on June 26 [19 favorites]


You can't co-opt the event either. Which I thought based on seeing the flag alone was a bit much of a claim but the March's comment basically claims that they were being disruptive. The truth of that I do not know.
posted by Peter B-S at 10:26 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


The division being created among allies almost feels manufactured these days. It's like someone is pulling strings to stoke fires that shouldn't exist. I haven't had this feeling of being manipulated since, oh, I don't know, the run up to the election?

I'm not saying for a second that the debates on various issues aren't about real issues, but I am saying that people that should be aligning themselves seem to be tearing into each other with amazing frequency. Are all of these organic divisions, or is someone manipulating segments of the population so they cannot form a cohesive political movement?
posted by Muddler at 10:27 AM on June 26 [59 favorites]


This is the statement from one of the women asked to leave.
posted by jeather at 10:27 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Intersectionality is for everyone except the Jews, I guess.

And saying a flag with a Magen David on it makes them feel "unsafe"? It's as though they're actually trying to be a parody of the Left. Come the fuck on.
posted by holborne at 10:30 AM on June 26 [34 favorites]




Worth reading all the links above before jumping to judgement.
posted by lalochezia at 10:35 AM on June 26 [6 favorites]


Reading the Chicago Dyke's March statement reveals they were asked to leave moreso because they were repeatedly expressing support for Zionism and organizers emphasize that the march is meant to "express support for undocumented, refugee, and immigrant communities under threat of deportation."
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 10:37 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


May not actually be true.

Something about this does seem off. I suspect that more went down than people saw the star of david and asked them to leave. Here is another account from one of the women asked to leave. It makes it sound like there was an altercation of some kind about Zionism. I'm guessing both sides there feel like they were the ones confronted and asked to justify their beliefs, and the anti-Zionists then asked for the flag carriers to leave. But this is just a guess.
posted by dis_integration at 10:38 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Sadly, our celebration of dyke, queer and trans solidarity was partly overshadowed by our decision to ask three individuals carrying Israeli flags superimposed on rainbow flags to leave the rally.

If it was an Israeli flag, wouldn't it have white stripes at the top and bottom?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:39 AM on June 26 [16 favorites]


Reading the Chicago Dyke's March statement reveals they were asked to leave moreso because they were repeatedly expressing support for Zionism and organizers emphasize that the march is meant to "express support for undocumented, refugee, and immigrant communities under threat of deportation."
My understanding is that they were interrogated about their views about the state of Israel, and when they said they supported its continued existence, they were told that only anti-Zionist Jews were welcome. And if there are special political litmus tests for Jews, which are not applied to other religious groups, then yeah, that's antisemitic.

And yeah, the idea that any flag with a star of David on it is an Israeli flag is really, really weird.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:40 AM on June 26 [116 favorites]


Not even the statement from the organizers, which I presume is the version of events most flattering to them, reflects well on them.
posted by bq at 10:40 AM on June 26 [20 favorites]


I did read all the links. I see issues right here.

“[The Dyke March] is an anti-racist, anti-violent, volunteer-led, grassroots effort with a goal to bridge together communities across race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, size, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, culture, immigrant status, spirituality, and ability.”

"Sadly, our celebration of dyke, queer, and trans solidarity was partially overshadowed by our decision to ask three individuals carrying Israeli flags superimposed on rainbow flags to leave the rally."

See, even their excuses can't get the intersectionality right.
posted by Samizdata at 10:41 AM on June 26 [22 favorites]


If it was simply a Star of David on a rainbow background, people are being dicks saying it was explicitly an Israel flag.
posted by agregoli at 10:42 AM on June 26 [16 favorites]


Saying that the flag pictured is "an Israeli flag" is ludicrous and a straight-up lie. You're not going to tell me that these people thought a rainbow flag was an actual national flag. What's more, they know goddamned well it's not an Israeli flag, and the fact that they're now lying about their reasoning for ejecting these women speaks volumes.
posted by holborne at 10:44 AM on June 26 [24 favorites]


The images are absolutely clear that it was just a Star of David superimposed on a rainbow flag.
posted by pharm at 10:45 AM on June 26 [8 favorites]


There are two Israel/Pride flag designs I have seen.
posted by jeather at 10:48 AM on June 26


Yes from reading accounts and seeing the pics this is obviously one of those "oh I see you're Jewish/sporting a star of David - that's cool but DO YOU SUPPORT THE OCCUPYING STATE OF ISRAEL? OH, YOU DO? FUCK YOU THEN"-type situations.

It's antisemitism.
posted by windbox at 10:48 AM on June 26 [79 favorites]


May not actually be true.

There's...nothing at that link that is useful or explained. It's just pot stirring.

There are two Israel/Pride flag designs I have seen.

And yet neither of those are the flag as described in multiple articles or the OP.
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:50 AM on June 26 [9 favorites]


Yes, I agree. That is why I didn't link to her Jewish Pride flag, because it is not Israel.
posted by jeather at 10:51 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Okay, thanks for using more words to describe what you meant, jeather. It helps.
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:56 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


I am dropping out of this conversation at this point. Some of this hits way too close to home for me to stay non-aggressive. I am not Jewish, and I think my point has been made adequately above.
posted by Samizdata at 10:56 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Why is it "Pinkwashing" when Israel enacts legal protections against discrimination (though not marriage), yet in no other country are LGBT rights considered some kind of ruse that must be protested?
posted by zachlipton at 10:57 AM on June 26 [16 favorites]


I guess that I think that maybe it's possible that they were unaware that the Star of David was a symbol of the Jewish people before it became associated with the state of Israel? It would be weird, but possible.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:58 AM on June 26


The Chicago Dyke March's own statement (linked in the original post) says:
Sadly, our celebration of dyke, queer, and trans solidarity was partially overshadowed by our decision to ask three individuals carrying Israeli flags superimposed on rainbow flags to leave the rally.
That is, they are explicitly claiming that the flags were Israeli. Is it possible that the women are disruptive? Maybe. But from reading both the statements of of the organizers and of the women who were removed, it seems that any "Zionist" views only came up after the women were stopped and interrogated about their flag. The Chicago Dyke March statement also says:
We have since learned that at least one of these individuals is a regional director for A Wider Bridge, an organization with connections to the Israeli state and right-wing pro-Israel interest groups.
In other words, they found out that she had ties they consider objectionable after she was ejected from the march.

And yeah, the idea that any flag with a star of David on it is an Israeli flag is really, really weird.

It's less weird when you consider that equating Jewishness with Zionism is a common antisemitic belief/tactic. This is already happening to Jews who are criticizing Chicago Dyke March; they're being called Zionists regardless of their actual political views.

Also the more I read about it, the more I wonder what the march means by "Zionist." (Which is why I keep putting it in quotes.) Or, to put it another way: I am curious about what political views Jews at their March are allowed to have.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:58 AM on June 26 [59 favorites]


IME the definition of Zionist used by this kind of anti-semite is "Jew who doesn't hate Israel and wish it would disappear OR Republican".
posted by jeather at 11:01 AM on June 26 [6 favorites]


I am curious about what political views Jews at their March are allowed to have.

Yes, and why Jews are apparently the only ones who have to wave the proper cred around before they're permitted to stay.
posted by holborne at 11:01 AM on June 26 [26 favorites]


Asking a Jew of Persian heritage to check off the anti-Zionist checkbox is utterly obscene. It's tantamount to asking someone to renounce the right not to be murdered.
posted by ocschwar at 11:02 AM on June 26 [21 favorites]


From the third link: "Supporters added that American flags were similarly not welcome as they too are considered signs of oppression."

That implies that they have ceded the country.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:02 AM on June 26 [5 favorites]


Worth reading all the links above before jumping to judgement.

I did, and ended up in a rabbithole of research on 'pinkwashing', and it's impossible for me to figure out what's accurate and what isn't on any side of that issue. Yay!
posted by naju at 11:22 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


If the left manages to drive out yet more of its Jews, there really is no hope for it.
posted by jamjam at 11:22 AM on June 26 [15 favorites]


Aw, man. As a *profoundly* anti-Zionist hebe, this kind of nonsense in nominally Left spaces just breaks my heart. It feels like a sideways appearance of what Marcuse would have called "repressive desublimation," in which the atmospherics of liberation are leveraged for the expression of otherwise-impermissible sentiments, in this case straight-up antisemitism.

That said, inasmuch as I believe the Left broadly does have issues around Jewishness it needs to work out, we need to be careful of those who would use this as a prybar to prise it (us!) apart. If the Left has thus far proven incapable of balancing the legitimate interests of every person and group affiliated with it, it is very, very far from clear to me that any other formation in society could do better, or would even sincerely want to.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:25 AM on June 26 [31 favorites]


This is simply too absurd for me to believe that it is the whole story. Everything we do know, however, suggests that the leadership of Chicago Dyke March are in the wrong. Regardless, crying about how the left destroys itself is adding fuel to the fire.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:33 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


In a very personal way - this issue of not agreeing with someone enough has ended a relationship for me. I was told what was needed was not my friendship and support but to be an Ally. On the one hand - I understand the need for safe spaces, but these sort of fine tuned political litmus tests (Left, Right, and Center) that we are all putting each other through are kinda fucked, and I refuse to submit to them.
posted by helmutdog at 11:35 AM on June 26 [13 favorites]


Worth reading all the links above before jumping to judgement.

Did. The March organizers were in the wrong.

Jewish Pride flags are not Israeli flags. The Magen David (star of David) is a symbol that has been used by Jews since before Medieval times. If I wear a Magen David around my neck, I am showing that I am Jewish. Not that I am an Israeli. If a Catholic wears a cross, are they declaring themselves Italian? Obviously not.

Laurel Grauer:
Jewish members of the Dyke Collective, or those who were Jewish and said they were speaking on behalf of the March organizers, said I had to leave because even if I saw this a Jewish Pride flag, "this is seen as an Israeli Pride Flag and offensive to others."
Because heaven forbid that Jews be Jewish in public and stand up with pride and march/protest for their own rights.
posted by zarq at 11:39 AM on June 26 [81 favorites]


Reading the Chicago Dyke's March statement reveals they were asked to leave moreso because they were repeatedly expressing support for Zionism and organizers emphasize that the march is meant to "express support for undocumented, refugee, and immigrant communities under threat of deportation."
Forgive my ignorance, but in this context, what is meant by Zionism? As far as I can tell from a quick Googling, Zionism is defined as being for the existence of Israel, but I've seen "Zionist" spoken with enough loaded venom in certain contexts that I imagine I've got it wrong somehow. Can someone clarify what's controversial enough about this opinion that it would make someone feel "unsafe" at a pride parade?
posted by WCityMike at 11:43 AM on June 26 [5 favorites]


I used to work with a nonprofit org dealing directly with hate crimes, and still, somehow, the more frightening anti-semitism to me personally - the kind that makes me feel slimy all over, makes me paranoid, makes me wonder what my friends and people I admire really think of me - comes from lefty progressive circles (Yes, including Metafilter). Almost always. I can deal, eventually, with seeing some skinhead out on the street, I just somehow cannot deal with That Look you get when someone you love very much finds out you're Jewish and needs to quickly re-examine you.

I couldn't make it to Pride this year (Queer Jews also being a thing!) and I hate that my gut reaction to that after reading this is "maybe that's good." I'm so, so tired of it. To progressives, Jews were invisible. Now it's okay to talk about us! because saying you hate anti-semitism and want to Punch Nazis is Topical, but that coolness comes at talking over and talking for actual Jews. Soon, already, at the same time, we are not cool, because we're still invisible. The constant negotiation of how to been seen, how to be Jewish towards your so-called allies and how that's different from how you're Jewish among other Jews...it's exhausting, it sucks, I don't have a conclusion for this except anti-semitism on he left is real and it's tiring and it makes me feel like shit.

Did you notice I didn't bring up Israel in this? Good, I hope so.
posted by colorblock sock at 11:45 AM on June 26 [70 favorites]


Forgive my ignorance, but in this context, what is meant by Zionism? As far as I can tell from a quick Googling, Zionism is defined as being for the existence of Israel, but I've seen "Zionist" spoken with enough loaded venom in certain contexts that I imagine I've got it wrong somehow. Can someone clarify what's controversial enough about this opinion that it would make someone feel "unsafe" at a pride parade?

In this context, "Zionism" means "Jews we want to remove." Nothing less, nothing more.
posted by ocschwar at 11:45 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


we need to be careful of those who would use this as a prybar to prise it (us!) apart

But heaven forfend we should question the motives of the people who introduced said prybar into the equation.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:47 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


this only reminds me of my experience earlier this year post-the Woman's March, when left-originating 'receipt' posts started showing up for Linda Sarsour, just because her public position acknowledges that Israel is an actual nation-state, which somehow is also a betrayal of her Palestinian heritage. I hate that this is antisemitic hill the left wants to die on.
posted by cendawanita at 11:48 AM on June 26 [14 favorites]


I used to identify as a lesbian and hung out in dyke spaces until someone called me a "male coddling fembot." I stopped hanging out in dyke spaces long before I stopped identifying as a lesbian.

This is very sad. I hate that there's such animus toward Jews in lefty spaces. What comes around...usually comes around again.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:52 AM on June 26 [12 favorites]


Presented without comment or opinion - here's the only argument I've seen so far that attempts to respond to "but it's clearly not an Israeli Pride flag". The argument starts in the section "Zionist Rainbow Flag".
posted by naju at 11:52 AM on June 26


I did, and ended up in a rabbithole of research on 'pinkwashing', and it's impossible for me to figure out what's accurate and what isn't on any side of that issue. Yay!

Yeah, this is all kinds of fucked up, and as usual it looks as if it's part of a bigger picture of political infighting. I'm struggling to get behind any of these people.

What Samizdata and adamgreenfield said. Sigh.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 11:53 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


As far as I can tell, based on every description of the event, the women who were marching with the flag were not carrying an Israeli flag, were not there are representatives of a Zionist organization, and were not promoting any Zionist ideology.

So any discussion of Zionism is beside the point here. Instead, a Jewish symbol was interpreted, wrongly, as being Zionist, the carriers were pulled aside and put through an acid test for ideological purity, and then were excluded for viewpoints they had not previously expressed and gave no indication that they were planning to express.

I have been thinking about this a lot, in terms of "stay in your lane" politics. I am not LGBT, I am not Israeli, I am not Palestinian, and so where is my place in this discussion? Race Invaders just did a podcast where they discussed their trepidation about calling out racism in the LGBT community, as it is not their community.

But I have come to a different conclusion than they did, and it is this: I am a Jew, and so antisemitism is my lane. I would expect LGBT people to call out homophobia in the Jewish community, and feel they have every right to demand equal treatment from Jews. As a Jew, I have the right to point out antisemitism in the LGBT community. And this was an example of it. Worse still, they have repeatedly doubled down and silenced critical Jewish voices, while promoting the voices of the few Jews that agreed with them. That is tokenism 101, and Jews in general, but especially Jews in the LGBT community, deserve better than to be welcomed only if they are the right kind of Jew and excluded when they are not.

I don't claim to know if this was the case here, but if you're organising an explicitely intersectional pride march, then no, you cannot have explicit Zionists around, as Zionism is afterall the ideology justifying the continuing oppression of Palestina.

That wasn't what happened, so perhaps we should table discussions of Zionism until it's actually the topic at hand.
posted by maxsparber at 11:55 AM on June 26 [87 favorites]


Of all the awful politically-oriented things I've read today, this is the only one making me physically sick.
posted by Slothrup at 11:56 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


This situation really makes me sad me out--I was so happy to see fellow LGBTQ+ folks who were Jewish out flying the Jewish Pride flags at the Pride march. They gave me a rainbow Pride bracelet that had a URL for a website with resources for LGBTQ+ Jewish people!

I think some folks on the Left forget about people like Leo Frank, who was falsely accused of murder, then kidnapped from prison and lynched for daring to be a successful Jewish person in America, or the recent vandalism of Jewish cemeteries. It's a mistake to equate the Star of David exclusively with Israel and support for all the policies of the government of Israel.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 11:57 AM on June 26 [11 favorites]


as an outsider/non-jew/muslim from a muslim-majority country with its own history of politicizing the issue, i've very much decided a moratorium on my own use of the word zionism. i've realised it's too fraught and too open for antisemitic abuse, and the whole idea of it encompasses more than just israel. if i object to what is happening in israel, i object on the basis of its contravention of international laws and the UDHR etc. since making that decision, the antisemitism on the left has never been more obvious to me. sure, pinkwashing is very much a thing, not just limited to israel though, so again, it's such bullshit that the left keeps making the israeli right-wing case for them (that jewishness = israeli state).
posted by cendawanita at 12:00 PM on June 26 [32 favorites]


Well can we be clearer? Because there's clearly two Zionisms here, at the very least. One of them we are definitely talking about and that's Zionism at minimum as an Israeli state. There are other accusations out there being included in that term maybe here, maybe elsewhere, I'd love it if someone could give us a better term so we stop saying they were Zionists, not Zionists. To be clear, is no evidence that I can see that the people ejected were espousing Zionist views. I'm really trying not to be offensive here, but I fear may still be. I seek clarity without intending accusation.
posted by Peter B-S at 12:00 PM on June 26


This news, and this thread are bumming me right the fuck out.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 12:00 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Regardless, crying about how the left destroys itself is adding fuel to the fire.

Decrying the banning of someone who devoted her time, energy and passion to a cause for the past four years because she is proud of her religious heritage is not "crying." It is expressing valid concern. And it's an ongoing conversation that needs to happen.

The majority of Jews in this country are traditionally left wing and actively supportive of social causes with regard to preventing the oppression of minority groups. Often we become activists for causes that do not affect us personally. Many Jewish rabbis have been protesting Trump's Muslim ban, for example. Dozens of rabbis were arrested in a protest outside Trump tower back in February.

Jews know all too well what it feels like to have our civil liberties stripped away. To not be treated as equals in the societies that we call home. Many American Jews (including myself) see speaking out and helping those in need as our responsibility and obligation.

Telling Jews we are not welcome because we don't pass a litmus test regarding Israel (when many of us have complicated personal opinions on the subject that can't easily be broken down into "support its existence" and "don't support its existence") is a pretty clear symptom of a greater problem.
posted by zarq at 12:01 PM on June 26 [115 favorites]


[A few comments removed. I don't think I should need to emphasize the need to proceed with some care and thoughtfulness in here, but please do so.]
posted by cortex at 12:03 PM on June 26 [7 favorites]


Zionism at it's most basic definition is believing in the right of Jews to engage in national self-determination. What form this takes depends on the Zionist in question, and there are so many versions of it that it is useless to describe it as though it were one unified viewpoint.
posted by maxsparber at 12:03 PM on June 26 [32 favorites]


Yeah I found the articles I read somewhat unhelpful by using Zionist as the descriptive term outlining the problem for specifically that reason.
posted by jessamyn at 12:05 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


(A point about the term "anti-Zionist" - its use seems to vary by region and subculture. The people I know who describe themselves as "anti-Zionist Jews" are not opposed to the existence of Israel; they're just in favor of some kind of solution which strongly protects Palestinians, usually the two-state idea. In fact, I didn't know until I read about it here that "anti-Zionist" was widely used to mean "anti-Israel". I mention this only because there might be situations where it would be worth following up in a conversation to see what people actually mean if they use the term.)
posted by Frowner at 12:05 PM on June 26 [10 favorites]


I knew I'd hit at least one obstacle. Fair enough, I retract my question. Litmus tests are unfair. I still think people are using the word with very different ideas in mind.
posted by Peter B-S at 12:05 PM on June 26


Thank you zarq. I lived in Israel. I studied to be a rabbi. I have friends who were arrested in February. I have friends who are Palestinian. Others who are Muslim. I have very complicated feelings about Israel, Palestine and the histories of both. I am also queer.

Am I not allowed in intersectional spaces?
posted by Sophie1 at 12:05 PM on June 26 [45 favorites]


Let me ask that we not get sidetracked by a discussion of Israel. The crux of the antisemitism here is that Jews who were not engaged in any Zionist activity were pulled aside and just by virtue of being visibly Jewish were held as representatives of the State of Israel. That is an antisemitic act.

I would ask that we not duplicate that by once again taking the experience of LGBT American Jews as a pretext for discussing Israel. Israel isn't the subject. Zionism isn't the subject.

It's the excuse.
posted by maxsparber at 12:07 PM on June 26 [106 favorites]


Can you have people who voted Republican around?

I think it's safe to assume that anyone who voted for Trump and attends a march that is specifically about "express[ing] support for undocumented, refugee, and immigrant communities under threat of deportation" is doing so as an act of trolling, and the organizers would be entirely justified in asking such a person to leave. This wasn't a general Pride march. It was organized by and for people with a specific political project and it seems reasonable to try to limit it to people who support that political project.
posted by enn at 12:08 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Am I not allowed in intersectional spaces?

I think everyone here thinks you are, and should be, and are trying to figure out why the Chicago Dyke March seemingly felt otherwise. Though it is, admittedly, very difficult to be both effectively intersectional and a safe space.
posted by jessamyn at 12:12 PM on June 26 [11 favorites]


I've stopped calling myself anti-Zionist, for what it's worth, although I still have pretty big issues with the idea of Israel as it is currently constituted. Calling myself anti-Zionist feels like pandering to overt anti-Semites. I am not your acceptable Jew. I refuse to be used to justify your bigotry.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:12 PM on June 26 [44 favorites]


One of the march organizers said this:
"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," she said. "So we asked the folks to please leave. We told them people in the space were feeling threatened."
And that's the truth laid bare. Carrying a symbol, the most prominent symbol, of Jewishness is apparently enough to inadvertently "express Zionism." That's an incredibly clear statement that the organizers of this march saw people publicly expressing a Jewish identity and, conflating that with the state of Israel, decided that they were "a threat." That is anti-Semitism in a nutshell.
posted by zachlipton at 12:12 PM on June 26 [94 favorites]


Jewish Pride flags are not Israeli flags. The Magen David (star of David) is a symbol that has been used by Jews since before Medieval times. If I wear a Magen David around my neck, I am showing that I am Jewish. Not that I am an Israeli. If a Catholic wears a cross, are they declaring themselves Italian? Obviously not.

Well, not just this, but also the idea that, even if anti-Zionist Jews are okay, that Israelis as human beings are inherently evil is also upsetting. And many non-Israeli Jews have connections to Israel, whether family or spiritual, that can also be complicated. In the link in the FPP there were flags from many nations, many with problematic issues around human rights. How many people carrying these flags were subject to political tests? I would be horrified if they were, and I would also think it is dumb, because people's views are complicated, as is the situation in many of these countries.

I know I now need to write that I am against oppression here, and I am, obviously, but there is something nasty about the need to declare that before Jews or Israelis are allowed to talk (look at at how many of the above posts needed to start with some variation of "I am anti-Zionist"). Intersection and assumptions of goodwill should be allowed for Jews and Israelis as well, rather than starting with an assumption that either is in favor of oppression.

Also, can I say "thanks, MeFi." We have had discussions before about the difficulty in dealing with Jewish issues on the site, and, whether due to mods or community, I feel like this is going better than it often has.
posted by blahblahblah at 12:13 PM on June 26 [44 favorites]


Maybe they're right.

I think from now on, any "intersectional" event should start with a checkpoint, where attendees must be sorted by religious affiliation and questioned about their ties to states associated with their religious identity and their policies.

Buddhists must disavow support for Burma's and Sri Lanka's actions against Tamils and Muslims.
Christians must disavow support for Russia. (For a start.)
Muslims, well, let's sort them out by Shia and Sunni, and require disavowals against Iran and Saudi.
Hindus should renounce Narendra Modi and the RSS.
Jews must announce themselves as anti-Zionist.

The remaining attendees, all three of them, can have the space to themselves.
posted by ocschwar at 12:19 PM on June 26 [48 favorites]


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

As a Jew who has marched in solidarity with actual Palestinians, I'm willing to bet based on this statement that not one Palestinian was actually involved in this. This just sounds like CYA.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:20 PM on June 26 [28 favorites]


Did they pull Italian-Americans aside and ask if they supported the Pope?

Some of this is so inside baseball it's hard to follow, but I find it interesting that Israeli and American flags were banned, but not other countries.

In the link in the FPP there were flags from many nations, many with problematic issues around human rights. How many people carrying these flags were subject to political tests?


You said it better. That is really hard for me to wrap my head around.
posted by bongo_x at 12:29 PM on June 26 [7 favorites]


Presented without comment or opinion - here's the only argument I've seen so far that attempts to respond to "but it's clearly not an Israeli Pride flag". The argument starts in the section "Zionist Rainbow Flag".

Jesus, that linked article legit made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. These people are barely trying to disguise their naked antisemitism, but don't even have the courage of their convictions. Check this:

"The origin of the Rainbow/Star-of-David flag is, as far as WW was able to determine, a Zionist organization, and it is used extensively by Zionist pinkwashing organizations and individuals. Conversely, WW was unable to find any instance of the flag being used or promoted by any explicitly anti-Zionist Jewish organizations."

Note the post-hoc reasoning: "Well, we did research and we think the flag is pro-Zionist." Even putting aside the weasel phrase "as far as WW was able to determine" (meaning they don't know but they're going to take a stand based on the supposition anyway), I presume the organizers of the Dyke March didn't have access to this research. To WW, if you're Jewish, you're presumed guilty.
posted by holborne at 12:35 PM on June 26 [11 favorites]


"Sanctuary for all, no exceptions."

The large print giveth and the small print taketh away.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:45 PM on June 26 [14 favorites]


Some of this is so inside baseball it's hard to follow, but I find it interesting that Israeli and American flags were banned, but not other countries.

It's true that one of the linked accounts reported that Supporters added that American flags were similarly not welcome as they too are considered signs of oppression. But I haven't seen any evidence that women with American flags were asked to leave the march, and I'd be extremely skeptical of a claim that someone with a mash-up of the stars-and-stripes and the rainbow flag would be ejected.

It's interesting to read that the Chicago Dyke March edited their original statement to claim We want to make clear that anti-Zionist Jewish volunteers and supporters are welcome at Dyke March and then went on to re-post from a supporter who explained that saying you were not Zionist wouldn't be enough; you would have to actually be actively anti-Zionist to be welcomed.

Jesus, that linked article legit made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. These people are barely trying to disguise their naked antisemitism, but don't even have the courage of their convictions.

Yeah, they are really master contortionists. They want to on the one hand remind people that Another essential component of pro-Israel propaganda is the conflation of Judaism and Jewish identity with the settler state of Israel but at the same time maintain that the use of the Star of David is ipso facto support for Zionism and Israel, rather than an expression of Jewish identity.
posted by layceepee at 12:50 PM on June 26 [12 favorites]


I imagine their extensive research consisted of going to this page. The page notes that the flag has never been seen in Israel and so is not considered to be an Israeli flag, but if you click through to the earliest appearances of the flag they are with groups that are connected in some way or another with support for Israel.

Which demonstrates nothing. There are overt Israeli symbols at these events, and the flag might represent some sort of Israeli support but equally might demonstrate Jewish support for LGBT issues. Which is what it has gone on to mean, without any connection to Israel.

They have not discovered who originally designed the flag or what their intentions were. No, there is a lot of guessing going on, and it is guessing that ignores the many, many, many, many examples of the flag being used without any visible connection to Zionism or the State of Israel.
posted by maxsparber at 12:51 PM on June 26 [10 favorites]


here's the only argument I've seen so far that attempts to respond to "but it's clearly not an Israeli Pride flag". The argument starts in the section "Zionist Rainbow Flag".

The arguments presented in this article are disgusting. They're saying the flag in the parade, which they have no background on, just other flags, is not linked to an expressly anti-Zionist organization, so it therefore must be Zionist and therefore worthy of expelling the participants.

Presumably almost everybody in this parade was an American and therefore in some way a party to or beneficiary of genocide, slavery, misogyny, disruption of foreign governments, executions with no trials of citizens and foreign citizens, and oppression of people at home and abroad. They all should've kicked themselves out of the parade. That's some hyperbole on my part, but to paint Israelis as explicitly evil when you're an American, of all countries, is pretty rich.

Did everyone at the parade have to swear they were anti-American before they were allowed to march?
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:55 PM on June 26 [30 favorites]


The most disheartening thing about this is the parallels one could draw between the persecution the lgbtq community has historically faced, and that which we Jews have had to deal with.

The rainbow flag was originally conceived as a response to the pink triangle that the Nazis has used to mark people who were suspected of being gay. It is a symbol of diversity and a mark of visibility for the LGBTQ community. The person who designed it, Gilbert Baker, has said: "That's what flags are for. Flags are about proclaiming power ... that visibility is key to our success and to our justice."

The Nazis used a different symbol to mark Jews. In response, we did not change our symbol for Judaism but instead embraced it. Two paths, one purpose. The Magen David is our visible symbol of our collective identity and has been for generations.

Both symbols are declarations of defiance against persecution and oppression. A sign we take pride in who we are against those who would seek to attack, oppress, stifle us and hide us from view.

So when you have someone whose intersectionality specifically includes these two groups that have been discriminated against (using both symbols to represent them!) be treated this way, it can be hard to feel anything but sadness and outrage.
posted by zarq at 1:15 PM on June 26 [51 favorites]


[A few comments removed. Folks, if you're balking please flag and give it a minute instead of immediately responding.]
posted by cortex at 1:18 PM on June 26


Another thing complicating the stories about this incident: rally organizers in Chicago right now are convinced that they are being watched/infiltrated/targeted by right-wing groups that are trying to start riots, discredit progressive groups--especially following the Intercept article on TigerSwan at the DAPL protests. This--in no way--excuses anti-Semitism, nor does it excuse Dyke March's poor handling of the situation in the moment and afterwards. It's just another data point.
posted by crush at 1:21 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Another thing complicating the stories about this incident: rally organizers in Chicago right now are convinced that they are being watched/infiltrated/targeted by right-wing groups that are trying to start riots, discredit progressive groups--especially following the Intercept article on TigerSwan at the DAPL protests. This--in no way--excuses anti-Semitism, nor does it excuse Dyke March's poor handling of the situation in the moment and afterwards. It's just another data point.

Well, but even if that's so, the most charitable interpretation of their actions is that they were counterproductive. According to the accounts of the incident, the organizers, not the people displaying the flag, were the ones to broach the topic of Zionism. What would be the point of deliberately picking fights with potential infiltrators who weren't actually making any trouble? Other than, you know, being Jewish right out in the open.
posted by holborne at 1:31 PM on June 26 [18 favorites]


Very true, holborne.
posted by crush at 1:33 PM on June 26


I don't see how this complicates the story, unless you're accusing the women who were ejected of being infiltrators. Doing that without good evidence would be, uh, not wise - and it plays further into anti-semitic tropes as well.

But even if they were, Chicago Dyke March is being criticized for their own admitted actions. They're not being criticized for the behavior of someone who is potentially an infiltrator. Even if infiltrators are a concern it doesn't seem relevant to this story.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:38 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Yeah, and you know, if all infiltrators had to do to discredit the Dyke March is to march with a Star of David flag, well ... that's still really on the organizers and still really reveals some pretty stark antisemitism. If they were actually justifiably paranoid about provocateurs, they handled it extremely poorly.
posted by lunasol at 1:39 PM on June 26 [10 favorites]


Folks, if you're balking please flag and give it a minute

But you better use the right flag! ;)
posted by Guy Smiley at 1:39 PM on June 26 [20 favorites]


If it was an Israeli flag, wouldn't it have white stripes at the top and bottom?

The version I'm looking at from the main link has a dark blue star, but other news outlets have used a picture of a white star, possibly not from the march in question.

I would think the dark blue star version would need dark blue stripes at top and bottom in order to be at all like the Israeil flag.
All the flags I've seen linked with the story are definitely Jewsih rainbow flags, not Israeli ones.

Note that I would not object to an Israeli / ranbow hybrid though. Linking any national flag with the rainbow is fine. It clearly means, we are gay people with this heritage and we are proud of both.
posted by w0mbat at 1:40 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


As a Jewish dyke who has been to many a dyke march I will say.... I wasn't there and I don't know what happened.

Given the current rise in antisemitism and the real and funded campaign to promote Israel among queers, and given how murky and complex American Jews feelings' are about Israel and Palestine, I'm going to say I'd like to learn more about this incident before I draw a conclusion about it.
posted by latkes at 1:42 PM on June 26 [11 favorites]


No, I'm suggesting there is an environment of panic about right wing sabotage amongst rally organizers in Chicago right now. That may or may not have contributed to the Dyke March organizers' bad behavior. That's all. It was bad behavior, plain and simple. I don't think it excuses or much explains what happened. But it's the environment.
posted by crush at 1:43 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


I'm going to say I'd like to learn more about this incident before I draw a conclusion about it.

Given that the organizers' account and the ejected womens' account are substantially the same — that they were confronted about the flag despite not having publicly expressed any opinion about Israel — I am curious what additional data point you are looking for before you draw a conclusion.
posted by maxsparber at 1:45 PM on June 26 [9 favorites]


Honestly, it's been incredibly, incredibly disheartening to see portions of the left also adopting antisemitism, especially in this climate. Between this and people defending the Cynthia McKinney antisemitic bullshit, it's been a rough week.

I can't even conceive of them ejecting anyone else based on essentially showing the symbol of their faith while supporting Pride. This is horrible.
posted by corb at 1:46 PM on June 26 [9 favorites]


IDK as a Jewish Queer person I know exactly what happened. Jewish people who dared to be proud of both their ethnic heritage and their queerness were kicked out of a march on a flimsy pretext because of the increasing anti-semetism on the left.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:47 PM on June 26 [33 favorites]


This rally sounds like it was organized by people far out into the left that the right wing trolls have no need to infiltrate to discredit them.
posted by ocschwar at 1:49 PM on June 26 [15 favorites]


Yeah, I'm really not a fan of the tendency to blame any and all faults on the left on the right or the victims. Like, anti-semetism, brocialism, left-wing racism etc. Any time something like this comes up its: "Right wing infiltrators" "Maybe they were Zionists" "Its the Jews/Women/black persons fault, they aren't true leftists!". And I understand the desire to defend ones political position, but anti-semetism is, and has always been a problem on the left, along with that special brand of white lefty misogyny and racism, and criticizing this doesn't make you a right-wing plant. We have some house cleaning to do, and hopefully the absolute naked heinousness of this incident will prompt some action.

Hopefully.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:56 PM on June 26 [9 favorites]


Basically, to quote something I read on tumblr, "Your intersectionality must include Jews/Women/POC/etc or it is bullshit."
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:59 PM on June 26 [10 favorites]


The remaining attendees, all three of them, can have the space to themselves.

(as long as they don't talk to each other)
posted by Sebmojo at 2:01 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Between this and people defending the Cynthia McKinney antisemitic bullshit, it's been a rough week.

McKinney's always been nuts, but that exceeds even what I might've expected of her. The socialism of fools, yo.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:01 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


I'd like to address the pinkwashing thing, although I am loathe to connect this to Israel, but it is one of those undefined terms that gets thrown around and used to support hostility toward LGBT Jews, so I think it should be briefly addressed.

First of all, Israel does have a pretty good track record on LGBT issues. They're imperfect, but they have made real progress. Mentioning this is not pinkwashing. LGBT Israelis participating in gay pride is not pinkwashing. Having booths about Israel at LGBT events is not pinkwashing.

Pinkwashing does happen, but it exists specifically in the context of contrasting Israel's LGBT track record with the track record of the Arab world. It is an explicitly colonialist construction, in which Israel is liberal and modern and Arab states are illiberal and backward, and is used to justify Israeli abuses of Palenstinians, in the same way colonial constructions are always used: We represent enlightenment, and are bringing desirable liberalism to the unenlightened.

The Arab world is a big place with some areas that are more liberal on these issues and some that are more repressive, and LGBT liberation should not be used as a wedge against the Arab world, and certainly should not be used as a tool for supporting Israel while refusing support for Arab states, especially Palestinians. I see that show up once in a while, with people saying, oh, Shariah law would throw gays off roofs, and it that sort of thing is Islamophobic. LGBT liberation should not be used to support Islamophobia. I addressed this on Twitter today.

But unless that is what is happening, it's not pinkwashing. Celebrating Israel's support for LGBT rights is not pinkwashing. Being LGBT and Zionist is not pinkwashing. But the phrase has been expanded to include any discussion of Israel and LGBT issues, as though merely recognizing that there are some things Israel does relatively well is necessarily erasing the things the state does poorly.

It also constructs a troubling narrative, in which a Jewish nation engages in duplicitous behavior only for the purpose of propagandizing themselves. Not only does this dovetail with a historic antisemitic charge of Jews being sinister schemers, but it also erases the experience of LGBT Jews and their supporters, and presumes a underlying motive for their support of LGBT rights that is duplicitous.

Again, there is no evidence that the LGBT marchers who were confronted were engaged in any behavior related to Zionism at all, and so the suggestion here is that just by being Jewish and publicly LGBT you are somehow inherently a propagandist for an Israeli scheme that uses the queer community only to justify oppression. Which is a super shitty thing to imply.
posted by maxsparber at 2:08 PM on June 26 [68 favorites]


Oh, and I should point out that Israel isn't the only country that engages in pinkwashing. In fact, the American right wing does it all the time, especially insisting that LGBT people have it so much better here in the US then they would under Shariah law. And yet I literally have never heard the phrase applied to any place other than Israel.
posted by maxsparber at 2:15 PM on June 26 [22 favorites]


Reading about this has done nothing but raise my blood pressure. All I come away with is feeling that, once again, it would be great if Jewishness weren't automatically associated with support for Israel as a state and its worst actions (and vice versa, that opposition to or criticism of Israel weren't automatically associated with antisemitism; it's more than possible to oppose both), but I know that well is thoroughly poisoned forever so now I'm just sad and angry again about multiple things entirely beyond my ability to affect.
posted by byanyothername at 2:22 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]


I appreciate your summary about pinkwashing maxsparber. I'd amend that there are a vocal group of queer Jewish and queer Israeli activists who are active critics of pinkwashing in the context of Israel, and believe that the government and tourism industry of Israel are specifically using LGBT people in order to hide human rights offenses.

I'm not talking about my personal beliefs on this issue, I'm just saying that there are a variety of positions that Jews hold on this issue. That's why I find these conversations so painful and difficult: that large numbers of Jews get their positions' critiqued as antisemitic. We've been around this merry-go-round a lot of times, but I still think there needs to be room for a variety of positions held by Jews.
posted by latkes at 2:31 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Thank you for the amendment. I think we agree, however, that in this instance, the mere presence of visibly Jewish LGBT Americans cannot be understood as pinkwashing, despite the march's use of the phrase.
posted by maxsparber at 2:34 PM on June 26 [8 favorites]


I hate this idea that to be a good Jew you have to be against the existence of a Jewish state. No one demands "good" leftist Americans to denounce the existence of America, merely honestly acknowledge it's origins and recognize current injustice and advocate for America to get its shit together and practice what it preaches. But for Jews and Israel? Israel -- a country that only exists in part because America and the UK didn't want to take in Jewish refugees after WWII -- to be "good" Jews, we have to advocate for our own destruction? That we can't advocate for Israel to get fucking better like we do America and every other country that has a complicated, shitty past?

Sometimes I get the sense when anti-zionists talk about Israel, that somehow Jews are are being "greedy" for merely trying to exist.
posted by destronomics at 2:35 PM on June 26 [60 favorites]


Another thing complicating the stories about this incident: rally organizers in Chicago right now are convinced that they are being watched/infiltrated/targeted by right-wing groups that are trying to start riots, discredit progressive groups--especially following the Intercept article on TigerSwan at the DAPL protests. This--in no way--excuses anti-Semitism, nor does it excuse Dyke March's poor handling of the situation in the moment and afterwards. It's just another data point.

Yeah, no need to infiltrate the group. All the right wing needs to do in regards to this group is make some popcorn.

Oh, and I should point out that Israel isn't the only country that engages in pinkwashing. In fact, the American right wing does it all the time, especially insisting that LGBT people have it so much better here in the US then they would under Shariah law.

Yeah, the super weird thing about this is that the sentiment is often expressed by right wing Christians who would like to remove LGBT rights. It's not the Islamic fundamentalist that are a threat to LGBT rights, it's religious fundamentalists of all stripes.
posted by el io at 2:56 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


Any idea of the ages of the participants in this kerfuffle? This sounds like college kid bullshit.
posted by AFABulous at 2:58 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


The Dyke March has been around for quite a while, at least since before the turn of the century. It's an established thing, and has a history of being progressive (as opposed to corporate, aka bog-standard Pride here in Chicago).

Currently, their social media presence (fb, tw) is on the defensive.
posted by anem0ne at 3:08 PM on June 26


Currently, their social media presence (fb, tw) is on the defensive.

That is not a good look. The person who posted their picture with their rainbow flag with the Islamic crescent on it; Ouch.
posted by bongo_x at 3:15 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


latkes: I'm just saying that there are a variety of positions that Jews hold on this issue

I mean, that's kind of a tautology. We *built* our religion on the premise of arguing.
posted by hanov3r at 3:16 PM on June 26 [16 favorites]


And complaining!
posted by maxsparber at 3:26 PM on June 26 [14 favorites]


Yeah, no need to infiltrate the group. All the right wing needs to do in regards to this group is make some popcorn.

Exactly. the culture of panic about rumors of right-wing infiltration is damaging. Whether or not that panic was an excuse for Dyke March to give into anti-Semitism or whether Dyke March has some un-examined anti-Semitism in its make-up unrelated to any rumor mill. I apologize for the derail--I'm close to the organizing community in the city and the dangers of this kind of panic are very real and not getting enough attention.
posted by crush at 3:27 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


> The most disheartening thing about this is the parallels one could draw between the persecution the lgbtq community has historically faced, and that which we Jews have had to deal with.

Yes. That's what is making me, as a non-Jewish queer MeFite, feeling sick to my goddamn stomach over this one. We are neither of us so numerous, as people, that we can afford to hang our allies out to dry. I keep thinking about Ernst Röhm and his faction, who were simultaneously making a space that catered to gay men and was openly gay in a time when that was not easy.... and whose death in the Night of the Long Knives does nothing to wipe the blood off their own hands, both that of other queer people and of Jewish people and of everyone else who died in the Holocaust.

Some things aren't worth the price. And that shit, that shit backfires on your community, if you don't watch it. If you're not careful to think about what alliance means, and what standards are too high and what standards are reasonable. If you rely on knee-jerk ideas about who is really right without pausing to consider what people are actually saying. If you don't listen to people and make sure you are catching everyone's perspectives, it's so easy to ally yourself with someone whispering poison in your ear. Especially when it's a case of two minority/marginalized groups who are marginalized in different ways, not a case where one group is clearly and objectively taking up all the space in the room.

I tell you, I'd feel a hell of a lot less safe at any event run by these organizers than I would have last week.
posted by sciatrix at 3:29 PM on June 26 [27 favorites]


This statement makes it clear that people saw the flags, a litmus test on whether they supported Israel was imposed, and the flag carriers were asked to leave because "in movements for justice and liberation, there is no room for Zionism of any kind."

So the standard is that you're threatening people and will be questioned on your beliefs if you display a star of David. I'm inclined to assume that someone marching with another religious symbol, or Palestinian flag for that matter, is not going to be subjected to an interrogation as to whether their beliefs are compatible.
posted by zachlipton at 3:40 PM on June 26 [13 favorites]


[One deleted; please skip the seeming gotchas about whether some Jews are the real antisemites or whatever.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:42 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


I mean, in the social media images, some of them are holding the Palestinian flag.

Others have numerous flags of Islamic countries.
posted by anem0ne at 3:44 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


I think the organisers' claim that people "felt threatened" by the flags would have been nonsense even if the flags had been actual blue&white Israeli flags with no queer imagery at all. But even taking the claim at face value, it's very telling that they didn't consider whether Jews might feel threatened by some of the flags that apparently were at the march (photo linked by the march's organisers), which apparently included Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Libya, Egypt, and Turkey. Each of these countries formerly had substantial Jewish populations; in each case popular and government-driven persecution drove them out. I understand there are still around 15,000 Jews in Turkey, but there are probably only around fifty (!) Jews in all the other countries together.

I think a flags-of-all-nations display can be a great idea to show diversity of support and although I could understand a Palestinian feeling uncomfortable marching next to an actual Israeli flag (which is not something that happened) it would be great if they would put up with it, just as an Israeli would be doing the right thing to maintain solidarity with someone carrying a Palestinian flag. But if we're going to consider feelings, the fact that the organisers had literally no consideration for Jewish sensibilities is very telling.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:32 PM on June 26 [29 favorites]


Chicago Dyke March accuser A Wider Bridge has record of fabrications (actually a wide-ranging report on the whole thing).
posted by grobstein at 4:45 PM on June 26


Does the credibility of the accusers matter much when the organizers account is so condemning on its own?
posted by bq at 4:55 PM on June 26 [14 favorites]


From this moment forward I'm going to put people who use the word 'Zionist' to refer to anything taking place after 1950 in the same category as people who use 'Islamist': probably a bigot.
posted by bq at 4:56 PM on June 26 [12 favorites]


By the group's own admission, they only found out about ONE of the member's connections to A Wider Bridge, AFTER they asked them to leave.

https://twitter.com/DykeMarchChi/status/879074515648733184
posted by destronomics at 4:58 PM on June 26 [7 favorites]


Saying the Star of David has been coopted by Israel when it's still a symbol of the faith itself is like saying South Korea coopted the yin-yang.

Or the Scandinavian countries the cross.
posted by anem0ne at 4:58 PM on June 26 [15 favorites]


I'm glad you're back, max.
posted by valkane at 5:04 PM on June 26 [42 favorites]


Does the credibility of the accusers matter much when the organizers account is so condemning on its own?

What actually happened matters. Its possible the organizers were in the right to ask these people to leave and also were wrong in how they handled the aftermath.

This account is worth reading:

On June 24, a group of marchers at Dyke March carrying rainbow flags with a blue six-pointed star* in the center were approached and engaged by both Palestinian and Jewish anti-Zionist participants of the march. These individuals wanted to find out more about the intention behind the flags, as they are often seen at Israeli pride parades, are widely used in pinkwashing efforts, and were visually reminiscent of the Israeli flag due to the color and placement of the star.

When the group began defending the state of Israel and Zionism as a whole, it became clear that the political position of the marchers was at odds with the anti-racist and anti-Zionist ethos of Dyke March Chicago

posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:05 PM on June 26


From grobstein's link: FTP Artists Collective said that the marchers carrying the flags “were approached and engaged by both Palestinian and Jewish anti-Zionist participants of the march” in order to “find out more about the intention behind the flags

So even in this defensive piece, with its thumb clearly on the scale, they acknowledged that they did, indeed, make these women go through an ideological purity test and kicked them out when they didn't pass.
posted by The Gooch at 5:05 PM on June 26 [25 favorites]


it looks like what "actually happened" was that people interrogated marchers for waving a flag with a megan david.
posted by destronomics at 5:09 PM on June 26 [13 favorites]


It's strange they claim that flag is often flown at Israeli pride parades when the pride flag website I posted earlier claims it isn't and not a single image I found of the flag is Israeli.
posted by maxsparber at 5:15 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Grobstein, that article basically confirms the facts as reported. The alleged "fabrications" ascribed to one of the Jews evicted is that they reportedly described a queer Jewish event disrupted by anti-Zionist activists as "Shabbat services" when it was actually a Friday night reception for queer Jewish activists. Well, maybe.

The author of that article and director of the website on which it appears is Abu Abunimah, who has a lengthy history of describing complaints of antisemitism as lies. Very often, in my experience, the "lie" is simply that he doesn't agree that an act was antisemitic, which means that he gets to call the complainant a liar, which he then cites as grounds for ignoring their complaints.

When dealing with complaints of oppression I believe we have a duty to take them seriously and not dismiss them because we dislike the complainant or think they're on the "wrong" side. In this case the facts are undisputed and it's a pity the organisers are circling the wagons. Gay Jews are intersectional targets of discrimination: not just because they're gay, not just because they're Jewish, but because of a conflation of these factors they're especially easy targets. The organisers did the wrong thing here and they need to stop being defensive.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:22 PM on June 26 [23 favorites]


Traditionally the left has tried to stave off accusations of antisemitism when criticizing Israel by claiming that you can't conflate Israel and Judaism, that they are separate and that a rejection of one isn't necessarily a rejection of the other. And now the left is conflating Israel and Judaism. Wtf.
posted by supercrayon at 5:54 PM on June 26 [10 favorites]


Any idea of the ages of the participants in this kerfuffle? This sounds like college kid bullshit.

It doesn't matter how old they are.
posted by zarq at 6:22 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


The bemusing thing about the idea of outside agitators - sorry, infiltrators - is that the criticized behavior is typically wrong either way. Anti-Semitism and vain, wanton fractiousness are wrong no matter what, no matter the sincerity (or lack thereof).

I'm Jewish myself, but I have no personal love for Israel. I don't see why I should be okay with the anti-Semitism on display. Also ell oh ell to the logic that Jews who complain about anti-Semitism are inherently untrustworthy. OH THOSE PESKY JEWS.

otoh i bet the march organizers have some pretty rare pepes
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:24 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


It's strange they claim that flag is often flown at Israeli pride parades when the pride flag website I posted earlier claims it isn't and not a single image I found of the flag is Israeli.

oh, you and your facts

have you ever considered replacing your "facts" with anti-semitism
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:29 PM on June 26 [14 favorites]


When the group began defending the state of Israel and Zionism as a whole, it became clear that the political position of the marchers was at odds with the anti-racist and anti-Zionist ethos of Dyke March Chicago.

Good Christ but this is arrant horseshit. Once again, for around the tenth time: the only reason Zionism came up at all was that someone else, not the people carrying the flag, raised the issue. Complaining about their Zionism under these circumstances is the equivalent of your little brother taking your hand and hitting himself with it and yelling, "Mom!! Johnny is hitting me!"
posted by holborne at 6:37 PM on June 26 [10 favorites]


I'm glad you're back, max.

I know I said I was staying out of this, but I had to nth this. Sorry.
posted by Samizdata at 6:38 PM on June 26 [10 favorites]


I guess I'm a Zionist because I support Israel's right to exist, even though I'm strongly anti-Likud and support a two state solution. In certain left wing circles, I'll always be suspect, and that's part of the reason why I've dialed back my local activism this year. Because the same people who are #notallchristians and #notallmuslims are very much #yesalljews. (Spoiler, these people are 99% not Muslim themselves, mind you.) The Kid and the mister both wear Magen David necklaces. I guess that means they're Israeli fascists and not the same as any random Christian wearing a cross. No, this was straight up anti-Semitic and I'm disappointed that, even though the stories on both sides match up, people here are hemming and hawing about there being more to the story.
posted by Ruki at 6:41 PM on June 26 [33 favorites]


Truly, these are dark times and getting darker.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:48 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Hi, queer Jewish midwesterner here. I had friends at that march. So my social media feeds have featured a bunch of discussions of this incident today. And it's been depressing.

A majority of the people I saw commenting who were not identifying themselves as Jewish presented it as a given that to be progressive, one must declare oneself to be anti-Zionist. But what exactly does "Zionism" mean? Support of the "settler" movement? Opposition to a two-state solution? Well, at least some people were defining a "Zionist" as anyone who does not agree with all of the following: (1) that Israel should no longer exist; and (2) that all Jewish Israelis are "trespassers" who should be relocated either back to where they came from, or to another host country willing to accept them; and (3) that "Israeli politicians complicit in maintaining the apartheid state be tried for their crimes against humanity."

The thing is, if you are a white person living in the Midwest, by this reasoning are you not yourself a trespasser? More so than Jewish Israelis, since you have no ancient ties to the land? And shouldn't you be cleaning your own house first? Going back to Europe, or another host country willing to accept you, and demanding that all people of European descent be required to do the same? Trying your politicians--who are complicit in a racist system that continues to recognize only reservations as land belonging to the native nations displaced by European colonists--for their crimes against humanity?

And if your response is "Well, I am fighting for racial justice, and protesting government policies. And I don't have the money to move, and my family's been here for generations, and it's complicated"--well, is the same not true of many Israelis? Why does saying "it's complicated" when talking about Israel make someone an enemy Zionist who must be banned from Pride marches, but saying "it's complicated" when discussing the U.S. not make someone a colonialist who should be similarly be banned?

The only explanation I see is anti-Semintism .

To me a particularly sad thing about this is that as far as things called "Dyke Marches" go, the Chicago march has been one I have appreciated, because it's been trans-inclusive--and by that I don't mean "ok, you can come if you were female assigned at birth, even if you don't identify as a woman." It's been refreshingly inclusive of trans women.

But not, I guess, if they carry a rainbow flag with a Star of David on it.
posted by DrMew at 7:34 PM on June 26 [58 favorites]


Well, at least some people were defining a "Zionist" as anyone who does not agree with all of the following: (1) that Israel should no longer exist;

As I said, this is not my personal fight, and I don't follow it closely, but are we at a point now where this is not a radical fringe view?

And every time I see a defense of the march organizers it makes their position look worse.
posted by bongo_x at 7:53 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


DrMew, that's what I've always wanted to say. My first political protest was when RI's former, racist AF governor refused to let the Narragansett Tribe open a casino on their lands because blah blah gambling's immoral while he also moved to expand state-run gambling ventures. I went to the protest, I've voted against every state-run gambling expansion measure. To shorthand a certain well-known Jew, "mote, beam."

On preview, no, it's not a radical fringe view. It's something I've encountered A LOT in my own leftist activism. If anything, I'd say it's actually becoming MORE popular.
posted by Ruki at 7:55 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


As I said, this is not my personal fight, and I don't follow it closely, but are we at a point now where this is not a radical fringe view?

Because in the 1940's, both the communist international movements worldwide and the liberal democratic coalition that defeated the Axis were determined, absolutely determined to establish that what they were doing at the time was not about the Jews, but about something encompassing all of humanity.

They bent over backwards to do this, including the anti-refugee Bermuda and Evian conferences that made escape impossible for so many Jews.

The far left is still invested into doubling down on establishing that it's-about-the-Jews. That's really hard to do without out slipping into out-ant-out antisemitism.
posted by ocschwar at 8:22 PM on June 26


To me a particularly sad thing about this is that as far as things called "Dyke Marches" go, the Chicago march has been one I have appreciated, because it's been trans-inclusive--and by that I don't mean "ok, you can come if you were female assigned at birth, even if you don't identify as a woman." It's been refreshingly inclusive of trans women.

I can report that the Toronto Dyke March is also inclusive, and the team lead for the last two years happens to also be a trans woman.

There was also a nice big bi contingent, and Kulanu (Jewish LGBT group) members flying both the Jewish pride flag and the Israeli flag. Because dykes are trans and bi and Jewish (or any combination thereof), as well as every other ethnicity, etc.
posted by jb at 8:39 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


[Couple deleted. Israel/Palestine is always a really difficult topic, so not a great place for making analogies, especially to other difficult topics.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:01 PM on June 26


I have been sketched out by the term "anti-Zionist" and even by "Zionist" or "Zionism" being applied by outsiders to a group or person who aren't claiming them on their own ever since I first heard the terms in middle school and tried to figure out what they were talking about by pulling out the "Z" volumes of all of the different encyclopedia sets my little school library had and comparing the entries.

There was enough information to gather that the modern sense of the term went back to activities in the late Ottoman Empire (I guess I was probably finding references to things like Hovevei Zion?) and I was like, I know you're not expressing opposition to this vaguely-defined concept or what a bunch of people in the 19th-century Ottoman Empire were doing, so there must be some other activities or beliefs being imputed to the targets of the "anti-Zionist" criticisms.

It's like calling everyone who lives west of the Mississippi and anyone who likes the places in that part of the U.S. a "Manifest Destinarian" or something like that.
posted by XMLicious at 9:38 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


as i understand it, zionism is just a belief, or support for, a jewish state - that is, a state that is dominated by a group of people who share a common religious/ethnic heritage. this seems to be somewhat at odds with the principles of liberal democracy, no?
posted by thedamnbees at 9:55 PM on June 26


Only if you think that is the case with every other sort of national self-determination. I mean, if you think Palestinians have a right to national self-determination (I know I do!) but Jews don't, why?
posted by maxsparber at 10:04 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


as i understand it, zionism is just a belief, or support for, a jewish state - that is, a state that is dominated by a group of people who share a common religious/ethnic heritage. this seems to be somewhat at odds with the principles of liberal democracy, no?

would you consider japan, korea, taiwan, sweden, ireland, finland, norway, france, spain, portugal, germany, and switzerland to also be somewhat at odds with the principles of liberal democracy?
posted by anem0ne at 10:12 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


weĺl, yes i would. i think the core contradiction of liberal democracy is between the principles of equality, seculariam, multiculturalism (aka not racially hierarchical), and the brutal reality of racism, exclusion, and domination in actual liberal democracies.
posted by thedamnbees at 10:25 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Zionism should probably be an obsolete term today, just as the terms for other successful national movements (e.g.) are obsolete. At the time Zionism came into being, most Jews lived in countries where being Jewish meant that you were denied civil rights, where perhaps you weren't a citizen at all. Among people who acknowledged the issue at all, the only solution they could see was the establishment of a state in which they would have civil rights. That is, they could see that there was no point in hoping that the Russian Tsar or Ottoman Sultan and their ministers would suddenly stop persecuting Jews, nor that the countries that gave Jews civil rights would admit millions of (mostly very poor) immigrants. These facts were universally recognised, and the only question was whether anything was to be done about it. Well, something was done about it, with the establishment of the State of Israel, and in a better world the word "Zionism" would be as obsolete as the words (which must have existed) that described the desire to establish a Christian state in Greece or a Muslim state in Pakistan.

Considering that most Israelis are refugees or the children of refugees from countries that denied (and in many cases continue to deny) them civil rights, the fact that they live in a place that guarantees them these rights can in comparison only be a triumph of liberal democracy. That doesn't mean that everything Israel does is automatically OK, of course, just that handwringing about the existence of a Jewish state is very much an illiberal thing to do.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:26 PM on June 26 [20 favorites]


weĺl, yes i would. i think the core contradiction of liberal democracy is between the principles of equality, seculariam, multiculturalism (aka not racially hierarchical), and the brutal reality of racism, exclusion, and domination in actual liberal democracies.

So, in other words, no country that is populated predominantly by people of a common religious/ethnic heritage is an actual liberal democracy?

This, unfortunately, excludes pretty much every democracy in existence, given that in almost every case, there's either a common religious/ethnic heritage or a foundational myth of a common, united people that serves as a common "heritage".

I do think telling a bunch of Japanese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Israelis, and so on that they don't have a liberal democracy based on your definition would probably rub them the wrong way though.
posted by anem0ne at 10:30 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


ah no, the contradiction is between the priciples and the reality. i'm not saying that the contradiction means that liberal democracies don't exist, i'm saying that it's the contradictìon that makes their existence possible.
posted by thedamnbees at 10:35 PM on June 26


ah no, the contradiction is between the priciples and the reality. i'm not saying that the contradiction means that liberal democracies don't exist, i'm saying that it's the contradictìon that makes their existence possible.

Okay. Then, the notion that Israelis have that their state has a right to exist, which according to you, is a Zionist notion? If that contradiction is what makes liberal democracies possible? I'm afraid then I don't have the foggiest notion what you're arguing here other than what comes across as a knee-jerk reaction of "Zionism == bad".
posted by anem0ne at 10:39 PM on June 26


Again, the legitimacy or illegitimacy of a Jewish state is a bit beside the point when addressing an LGBT pride parade in Chicago, even if that question was the pretext for excluding Jews.

I know it is hard to separate Jews from Israel. But we must try, because whatever my feelings about Israel, it should not be something that can automatically be demanded of me juat because I am a Jew. This is regularly done to Jews outside of Israel, just as every Jewish subject is turned into a referendum on Israel, and it's alienating as hell.
posted by maxsparber at 10:44 PM on June 26 [38 favorites]


these sort of fine tuned political litmus tests (Left, Right, and Center) that we are all putting each other through are kinda fucked, and I refuse to submit to them

This Is Serious Mum
posted by flabdablet at 10:48 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


In addition to the fact that this is wildly bigoted against Jews (in no small part by tacitly and deliberately conflating them with Israelis and consequently with Zionists), can we talk about how absurd the very notion that someone feels threatened by a national flag is? I would certainly feel uncomfortable by someone flying a Nazi flag (altho I have never been so unfortunate enough to experience that first-hand) and I always do when I see a Confederate one. Maybe even intimidated. But just being afraid of a people group or a nation-state in and of itself is a pretty bare admission of bigotry and so ludicrous as to not be taken seriously. What is watching the Olympic opening ceremonies like for someone like this? I am a big believer in "offense cannot be given, only taken" but there are definitely expression which are only intended to be rude or obnoxious or outrite threatening. In no universe was this one of them and anyone who feels "unsafe" with the very existence of another people group should be ashamed and take a long, hard look at why he is so hateful.
posted by koavf at 10:55 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


I know it is hard to separate Jews from Israel. But we must try, because whatever my feelings about Israel, it should not be something that can automatically be demanded of me just because I am a Jew.

Preach that, brother.
posted by flabdablet at 10:57 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]


I know it is hard to separate Jews from Israel.

Apparently it really is, and it confuses me. People confuse me.
posted by bongo_x at 10:59 PM on June 26


[Another comment deleted. Folks, even though we've had a little sidebar into the term "zionism" that's taken us in this direction, this thread isn't about Israel and we're 1000% not going to debate whether Israel should exist, or is Israel good, or what are Israel's policies, or what's the right answer about Israel/Palestine matters, and so on.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:59 PM on June 26 [8 favorites]


There really isn't any good justification for kicking these people out of the parade, and every bit of verbiage they've proffered up (or has been barfed out on their behalf) just makes their decision look worse. Very disappointing, and almost certainly (at the very least) symptomatic of some form of antisemitism.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:36 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


In this case the symptoms are the thing itself: this *is* anti-semitism.
posted by pharm at 11:57 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


I don't believe that that's a legitimate use of the term.
posted by flabdablet at 1:47 AM on June 27


the legitimacy or illegitimacy of a Jewish state is a bit beside the point when addressing an LGBT pride parade in Chicago, even if that question was the pretext for excluding Jews.

What am I missing here? I don't see a pretext for excluding Jews (who remained well represented at the event). I see well-articulated reasons for excluding self-identified members of an organization devoted to using LGBTQ events to push their own tangential political barrow.

There's more than enough bad faith to go around. I can't see that anybody's interests are served by a complete lack of acknowledgement that both sides of this particular disagreement have a legitimate viewpoint.
posted by flabdablet at 2:05 AM on June 27


flabdablet, how do you go from "Preach that, brother" about Paragraph B to "What am I missing here" about Paragraph A of the same comment?
posted by Etrigan at 2:15 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


I see no sign that the individuals in question were there to push their particular political barrow flabdablet: by the account of the organisers themselves no mention of Zionism was made by anyone until the organisers of the march brought up the topic. It’s entirely clear that the people pushing a particular political barrow - vis. that Jews who support the existence of Israel are not welcome at intersectional-left-pro-queer events - were the organisers themselves.

When you single out Jews for special negative treatment, that’s anti-semitism: It’s an entirely legitimate use of the term.
posted by pharm at 2:16 AM on June 27 [18 favorites]


I see well-articulated reasons for excluding self-identified members of an organization devoted to using LGBTQ events to push their own tangential political barrow.

You're recasting the events to justify their exclusion. Literally nobody, not even the parade organisers claim that they were using the event "to push their own tangential political barrow". What the organisers actually claimed was that the sight of the flags made some people feel unsafe.

As we've established, the flags were a combination of a Jewish symbol with a rainbow Pride flag. There are definitely contexts in which the mere assertion of a gay Jewish identity is political, but by definition they're either homophobic or antisemitic.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:18 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


The organizers of the march have made several statements that seek to cast the excluded marchers in a negative light. Surely, if they were using the event to push an unrelated political agenda about Israel, that would have been mentioned in at least one of those statements, right? It's unclear to me why it's necessary to invent a defense of the march organizers that they themselves have not asserted.
posted by zachlipton at 2:22 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


how do you go from "Preach that, brother" about Paragraph B to "What am I missing here" about Paragraph A of the same comment?

By way of complete agreement with the necessity of separating opinions about Israel from opinions about Jews and Jewishness in discussions of this kind.
posted by flabdablet at 2:27 AM on June 27


The organizers of the march have made several statements that seek to cast the excluded marchers in a negative light.

The excluded marchers have made almost nothing but statements that seek to cast the organizers of the march in a negative light.
posted by flabdablet at 2:29 AM on June 27


Given that the organisers of the march behaved like anti-semitic shitbags by their own admission it’s hard to imagine any statement by the people they kicked out that wouldn’t cast them in a negative light.
posted by pharm at 2:35 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


Yes, people don't like being told that they've been antisemitic (or racist or homophobic or whatever) but that is not a reason for telling people to shut up about it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:35 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


The excluded marchers have made almost nothing but statements that seek to cast the organizers of the march in a negative light

The people who got kicked out are upset at the people who kicked them out? Go figure.
posted by Etrigan at 2:36 AM on June 27 [6 favorites]


[A few deleted. Flabdablet, you seem really determined to cast this as Star of David = Jewish state or that it's an entirely reasonable belief, and we're not going to have that fight.]
posted by taz at 3:00 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]


The legal & human rights blogger David Schraub has a post up about this,
Who Could Have Known That Characterizing All Jewish Political Agency as a Conspiracy Could Lead To Antisemitism?

Also, from that post I note that the US-based Human Rights Campaign has criticised the expulsion.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:05 AM on June 27 [13 favorites]


For what it's worth, Joe in Australia, the Dyke March people see themselves as being in direct opposition to the Human Rights Campaign, which they would say is the embodiment of conservative, corporate gay America.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:20 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]


Oh, I didn't know that, thanks.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:21 AM on June 27


I thought that was a good writeup by Schraub though Joe - an articulate summary of many of the same points that people have made here.
posted by pharm at 3:32 AM on June 27


[Flabdablet, take a break.]
posted by taz at 4:07 AM on June 27


The organizers of the march have made several statements that seek to cast the excluded marchers in a negative light. Surely, if they were using the event to push an unrelated political agenda about Israel, that would have been mentioned in at least one of those statements, right? It's unclear to me why it's necessary to invent a defense of the march organizers that they themselves have not asserted.

It was the Dyke March organisers who were using their event to push a political agenda about Israel & Palestine.

The member of "A Wider Bridge" (which is an LGBTI organisation) wasn't there as a representative of that organisation; she was there as a Jewish LGBTI person. Her membership in the organisation was not even known until afterwards.

I've had issues with our own local Jewish group trying to turn the Pride parade into a debate on the Middle East. I don't care how they feel, I just think it's not appropriate for that day. But here it was clearly the Dyke March Chicago organisers who decided to push a particular political agenda, and subjected members of a religious minority to an ideological test.
posted by jb at 4:59 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]


Also, they deemed that any expression of Jewish identity was inherently "threatening". The people would have only been allowed to stay by hiding their Jewishness. That's anti-Semitic.
posted by jb at 5:01 AM on June 27 [8 favorites]




Also, they deemed that any expression of Jewish identity was inherently "threatening".


That's simply untrue.
Show me where they deemed "any expression of jewish identity was inherently threatening."
posted by lalochezia at 5:05 AM on June 27


I don't know, I think that insisting that the most commonly used symbol to indicate Jewishness is inherently threatening constitutes making that claim. What kind of expression of Jewish identity do you think the organizers would think is acceptable? And how many apologies do you think it would have to be hedged in?
posted by sciatrix at 5:09 AM on June 27 [19 favorites]


What kind of expression of Jewish identity do you think the organizers would think is acceptable?

One that isn't mistakable for an israeli flag; that is all.

But we've been down this road before in the thread above.

It's clear that These People (dyke march) Are Wrong And There's No Possible Interpretation Of Their Actions That Does Not Conclude : Antisemitism.
posted by lalochezia at 5:19 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


Show me where they deemed "any expression of jewish identity was inherently threatening."

One of the women ejected said this:
They told me my choices were to roll up my Jewish Pride flag or leave. The Star of David makes it look too much like the Israeli flag, they said, and it triggers people and makes them feel unsafe. This was their complaint.
You could try to quibble with the interpretation, but to my eyes, the claim by the organisers was that the use of the Star of David, the most obvious expression of Jewish identity that I can think of, was in fact representative of the State of Israel, and therefore inherently threatening.
posted by daveje at 5:20 AM on June 27 [9 favorites]


That's simply untrue. Show me where they deemed "any expression of jewish identity was inherently threatening."

The Magen David has been used to represent the Jewish faith and Jews themselves for centuries. Wikipedia notes that one was found on the wall of a 3rd or 4th century synagogue. The Jewish Star is THE symbol of Judaism. It is similar to the Christian Cross.

It doesn't matter whether the organizers would have rejected other symbols of Judaism. Frankly, I don't give a shit what other symbols of Judaism they would have accepted, because they banned the one that mattered: the Magen David.

How ironic. Jews are welcome, but only if they stay in the closet and renounce their identities.
posted by zarq at 5:22 AM on June 27 [23 favorites]


it should be entirely unremarkable to say that non-Jews do not get to determine the meaning of Jewish symbols. They certainly don't get to dictate to Jews what those symbols actually mean.

It's especially maddening when it's the Star of David, which non-Jews have literally forced Jews to wear as a mark of Jewishness, not of Israeliness. It's starting to feel like the star will mean whatever non-Jews find most useful to be contemptuous of Jews.
posted by maxsparber at 5:35 AM on June 27 [33 favorites]


One that isn't mistakable for an israeli flag; that is all.

Maybe when all of the grave markers that have a Star of David on them in a graveyard get knocked over it's just that they were too mistakable for Israeli graves
posted by XMLicious at 5:36 AM on June 27 [38 favorites]


I wonder what would have happened if the women had responded that they denounced the State of Israel and fully supported the people of Palestine. I rather suspect that the flag - and the Star of David - would have been completely acceptable. In the end, the women weren't guilty of using an ambiguous symbol. They were guilty of thoughtcrime.
posted by daveje at 5:41 AM on June 27 [10 favorites]


If you can't tell the difference between a Jewish Pride flag and the Israeli flag, the problem is entirely on you, not the people holding it. To claim that it's a problem because it can somehow be mistaken for an Israeli flag displays an astonishing amount of ignorance of the cultures and histories of both Judaism and the LGBTQ community.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:45 AM on June 27 [13 favorites]


It's starting to feel like the star will mean whatever non-Jews find most useful to be contemptuous of Jews.

Remember when Trump claimed it was "a Sheriff's star"? Coincidentally, that will be a year ago next week.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:48 AM on June 27 [9 favorites]


The Jewish Star is THE symbol of Judaism. It is similar to the Christian Cross.

For crying out loud, it is literally the specific symbol we Americans use in the military--the one group I can think of offhand that issues symbols of individuals' religion in an institutional capacity--to denote "this person or chaplain is Jewish." A deleted post suggested a menorah, which sounds acceptable to me as long as Christians are also asked to substitute all crosses with Christmas trees lest the cross be mistaken for a symbol of Crusaders.
posted by sciatrix at 6:38 AM on June 27 [30 favorites]


whatever my feelings about Israel, it should not be something that can automatically be demanded of me juat because I am a Jew.

This. And it's not like people don't understand that in other contexts - I'm sure these organizers would be the first to agree that when you demand all Muslims condemn "radical Islam" before you decide if they're welcome, it's Islamophobia. But somehow when it's Jews, that understanding goes out the window. Demanding Jews and only Jews adhere to a specially chosen higher standard is antisemitism, however you slice it.
posted by corb at 6:39 AM on June 27 [35 favorites]


A woman who was asked to leave has published her account. In her telling, it was entirely about the flag:

They told me my choices were to roll up my Jewish Pride flag or leave. The Star of David makes it look too much like the Israeli flag, they said, and it triggers people and makes them feel unsafe. This was their complaint.

I tried to explain -- no, no! It's the ubiquitous symbol of Judaism. I just want to be Jewish in public. No luck. So I tried using their language. This is an intersectional march, I said. This is my intersection. I'm supposed to be able to celebrate it here. No, they said. People feel unsafe. I tried again to explain about the Star of David. I tried again to use their language, to tell them that not being able to be visibly, flagrantly, proudly Jewish on my terms makes *me* feel unsafe. This was what I said.

But it didn't work. After some fruitless back-and-forth, during which more people joined the organizers' delegation and used their deeper voices, larger physical size, and greater numbers to insistently talk over my attempts at explanation, at conversation, I recognized a losing battle and left sobbing.

posted by maxsparber at 7:32 AM on June 27 [6 favorites]


Dyke March Chicago seems to be tripling down on their position based on their twitter account - retweeting Electronic Intifada doesn't look like they're open to seeing this from another angle.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:38 AM on June 27


And another account. This seems to be someone other than the one I just posted (she mentions that another woman was kicked out for carrying the flag), and this time the story includes organizers explicitly quizzing the flag carrier about I/P issues:

For over ten years, I have marched in Dyke March, carrying this same flag, without incident. This flag I received from my congregation, Congregation Or Chadash, which was founded over 42 years ago when the Jewish community still closed its doors to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews. While there is always work to be done as far as including and empowering LGBTQ Jews within Jewish spaces, the community as a whole has come a long, long way.

...

How is this an ‘Israeli Pride Flag’? How does use by one city, or even one country, erase what this flag means for an entire world-wide community?

“Are you a Zionist?” “This march is pro-Palestine and explicitly anti-Zionist.” Just as I did not hide my flag, I did not hide when asked point-blank, that, yes, I care about the State of Israel. Yes, I believe it does exist and that it should continue to exist. I also believe that it should continue to be held accountable and challenged by the amazing Israeli Queer LGBTQ activists I proudly call my colleagues, who struggle every day to make Israel more pluralistic, accepting and accountable not only to Queer Israelis, but everyone, including Queer/non-Queer Palestinians. In many ways, their work mirrors those of the LGBTQ activists I work with here in Chicago, both on a personal level, and within my role at A Wider Bridge.

In the same breath, I stated that I believe there should be a free and independent Palestine. I was shut down. “You cannot be Zionist and believe in a Palestinian state, Zionism is inherently racism.”

posted by maxsparber at 7:42 AM on June 27 [11 favorites]


There is no justification for the actions of the march organisers. None. Even their own post-hoc arguments are absolute bullshit. Putting aside their egregious characterisation of A Wider Bridge, even if that organisation were problematic, none of the women there were there in an official capacity or representing that or any other organisation. Were all the other participants screened to see if any of them were off-duty cops or working in the corrections industry? If any of them had ever served in the armed forces - any armed forces? If any of them were government employees (especially in security services or immigration)?

I didn't think so. And it wouldn't really be reasonable to do those things either.

Fuck Chicago Dyke March (the organisation) and their constant doubling down on an inherently antisemitic position. Sanctuary for all, no exceptions.
posted by Dysk at 7:46 AM on June 27 [23 favorites]


It's interesting to note that both of the women in the accounts maxsparber quoted had apparently been participating in the March for several years with little to no issue. I'm going to add to my bet above that not only were no actual Palestinians were involved in this decision, it's also pretty likely that no other marchers were triggered by the flag. The current leadership is deliberately misusing the concept of triggering in a way that's harmful both to the concept itself and everyone involved, and are probably lying in the process. I don't know how or why the leadership and/or membership changed since the last March, but it's clear they've got to go.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:54 AM on June 27 [23 favorites]


If you can't tell the difference between a Jewish Pride flag and the Israeli flag, the problem is entirely on you, not the people holding it. To claim that it's a problem because it can somehow be mistaken for an Israeli flag displays an astonishing amount of ignorance of the cultures and histories of both Judaism and the LGBTQ community.

With regard to the flag linked above - if that was the one used - I agree.

I retract my statement; I was wrong.
posted by lalochezia at 8:25 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


What frustrates me the most about these kinds of incidents isn't just the reflexive doubling down by those in the wrong, but that it seems to be getting harder to talk about it constructively. The Left needs to admit that there's a problem, and do some honest soul searching about where it comes from. I wonder if it's enough to demand the removal of the organisers without some serious dialogue about how we got here.

Eric Schleisser has some thought provoking commentary from a philosophical standpoint, (further discussion can be found on his Facebook feed). He's more generous than most in assuming good faith on the part of DMC organisers although he doesn't exonerate them, and as he points out, this hasn't happened in a vacuum.
American Jewry finds itself at a a complex cross-roads. A generation long drift away from unquestioned support for Zionism coincides now with a renewed urgency about safe-guarding civil rights for Jews Stateside and thereby a renewed receptivity for developing coalitions with others looking to secure civil rights for all. For American Jews this means both an international struggle within international Jewry to secure a Zionism that reflects its humane values -- including a desire to come to a historic, even if elusive, compromise with Palestinian self-determination -- as well as a national struggle to prevent the further erosion of civil rights Stateside. Such a two-fold struggle is unlikely to succeed because of lack of focus and thus its energy is likely to be diluted. It is surely doomed to fail if the most energetic and politically savvy would-be-interlocutors among existing American civil rights movements show themselves unwilling to be receptive to Jews, who publicly express themselves as Jews, as fellow-travelers in the march for civil rights and dignity.
We need to get away from this highly politicised narrative that equates Zionism with racism. Whatever anyone may think of the actions of the Israeli government, there needs to be the political will on the Left to imagine a future for Israel that takes account of its status as a Jewish nation.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 8:54 AM on June 27 [8 favorites]


thanks for the link Elizabeth. in his article "why i support the legitimacy of zionism" i found a quote that nicely captures the point i was trying to get across earlier:
"While I am often impressed by the character of Israeli democracy and sometimes dismayed, there are inevitable tensions between the idea of Zionism and (liberal) democracy. To note this is to reiterate, in effect, the second pressing feature (with its tension between group identity and the demands of impartial morality) I noted in the first paragraph above. So, there is a sense that the very fact of Zionism is both a reminder of the internal tensions within liberalism as well as a limitation from the point of view of the highest ideals of modern liberalism."
posted by thedamnbees at 9:28 AM on June 27


I'm sure these organizers would be the first to agree that when you demand all Muslims condemn "radical Islam" before you decide if they're welcome, it's Islamophobia. But somehow when it's Jews, that understanding goes out the window. Demanding Jews and only Jews adhere to a specially chosen higher standard is antisemitism, however you slice it.

Yup. Imagine a comparable event centering around a star and crescent, or a keffiyeh, or even a hammer and sickle, or a raised fist, or just about any other symbol of any kind.

This is what anti-Semitism *is*: because they are Jews, they are being mistreated.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:34 AM on June 27 [9 favorites]


The Star of David makes it look too much like the Israeli flag, they said, and it triggers people and makes them feel unsafe.

I know everyone doesn't agree, but this kind of talk makes me furious. Because that's the newspeak for prejudice. It's the get out of jail free card for those who assassinate Black men every day. Or if the wrong kind of Jews show up to your march.

"Those people are making me feel unsafe" by their existence isn't any better just because you chose the popular framing for 2017 instead of 1937. That's the position every bigot everywhere has always had.
posted by bongo_x at 11:27 AM on June 27 [32 favorites]


[A couple deleted. Sorry, again, thread's not about Israel, let's not take it in the direction of Israel.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:15 PM on June 27


A statement from Jewish Voices for Peace in which they attribute their support of the exclusion of certain folks to those folks' connection to an explicitly pro-Israel org (A Wider Bridge). The statement notes that other participants in CDM wore explicit signs of Judaism and were not excluded or asked to leave.

Im not sure whether these two half-excuses (that the excluded participants were associated with and acting on behalf of an organization with unresolved political differences with march organizers and that the excluded parties had flags which were construed as evoking support for Israel) rise to a level where this justification rings wholly true for me. How do these two explanations interact? would someone not known to be affiliated with AWB have been asked to leave for carrying an identical flag? would these people associated with a pro-Israel group have been welcomed/allowed to stay if they had chosen different means of expressing their jewish identity?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:38 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


The Jewish Voices for Peace statement makes a couple of other claims:

On Saturday at the Chicago Dyke March, a small number of members and staff of A Wider Bridge challenged the inclusion of Palestinian human rights as an issue supported by Chicago Dyke March..

The A Wider Bridge contingent loudly encouraged fellow participants to erase mentions of Palestine during solidarity chants..

When Palestinian attendees approached them, they became hostile while expressing explicit support for Zionism

I haven't seen any of these assertions in prior posts regarding the incident: that there was a contingent from A Wider Bridge, that they challenged the inclusion of Palestinian human rights, that they were approached by Palestinian attendees, or that they became hostile.

And the Jewish Voices for Peace reports all these without citing any source for the information.

Has anyone seen evidence for these claims? Or even seen anyone else making these assertions? I don't think they were included in the Chicago Dyke March's own report on the expulsion.
posted by layceepee at 12:56 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


New details asserted in that link, I believe:
The A Wider Bridge contingent loudly encouraged fellow participants to erase mentions of Palestine during solidarity chants. When Palestinian attendees approached them, they became hostile while expressing explicit support for Zionism, which was one of the ideologies that march organizers had disavowed because it has led to decades of displacement and violence against Palestinians. After a two hour conversation with organizers and other members, the attendees were asked to leave for not respecting the community norms, including opposition to all forms of racism and violence. One of the people asked to leave was Laurel Grauer, Midwest Manager from A Wider Bridge (AWB), who held a rainbow flag with a blue Star of David identical in color, size and placement to the one on the Israeli flag.
(So particularly, that Palestinian attendees were among those objecting to the ejected marchers?)
posted by XMLicious at 12:57 PM on June 27


Yeah, you'd've thought something as obviously damning as loudly opposing the mention of Palestine would have come out in the initial or even subsequent portrayals of the incident from the organisers...
posted by Dysk at 12:59 PM on June 27 [8 favorites]


Jewish Voices for Peace is entitled to their opinion, but they are just one opinion. It sort of important for this parade to listen to Jews who don't agree with them.

I am not sure what Jewish symbols were allowed (I have read, without conformation, that there was some Yiddish script, which is not a symbol of Judaism and is particular to the Ashkenazi experience.) But, anyway, non-Jews don't get to pick for Jews what symbols are acceptable or what they mean.

Has anyone seen evidence for these claims?

No. Jewish Voices for Peace and A Wider Bridge are on opposite sides of a divide, with one being anti-Zionist and the other being Zionist but supporting a two-state solution.

Based on my own experiences with the organization, without a cite fr their claims, which they alone are currently making, I don't believe Jewish Voices for Peace.
posted by maxsparber at 1:02 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


The JVP was once described as existing "largely to declare anyone accused of anti-Jewish bias 'not guilty' (with a Jewish accent)." Doesn't seem to have changed in the ensuing years.
posted by zarq at 1:21 PM on June 27 [6 favorites]


That statement is just a hot mess. They go from "the Star of David is part of the problem" to "no, wait, it's totally cool, some other folks were wearing it" to "it's not really a sign of being pro-Israel" to "the state of Israel totally stole the Star of David." I was raised pretty far leftist Reform, and I'm about as anti-settlement/ultra-Orthodox/etc as you can get, but come on.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:26 PM on June 27 [9 favorites]


That statement is just a hot mess.

No one will care. The only thing people will see is that there are Jews who agree with what the Dyke March did, rendering it a non-issue in their minds.
posted by zarq at 1:30 PM on June 27


I didn't mean to bring JVPs statement into this discussion as any sort of endorsement of its logic or their organization as a whole. As others have pointed out, their statement includes information/claims not previously made as part of this discussion (as well as some pretty problematic reasoning/illogic).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:42 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Yeah, you'd've thought something as obviously damning as loudly opposing the mention of Palestine would have come out in the initial or even subsequent portrayals of the incident from the organisers...

And considering that the person they ejected who eventually turned out to be associated with A Wider Bridge apparently told them this before she was tossed:

"I stated that I believe there should be a free and independent Palestine."

...it would appear they don't really have their story straight.
posted by zarq at 2:06 PM on June 27 [4 favorites]


There's a sector of the left that believes that Jews are not a protected class. I don't know if they represent a large part of the left, or just a very vocal one.

For these people, there is no cognitive dissonance. Just like all white men, all Jews have to account for their privilege. Attacking Jews is punching up, not punching down. Unapologetic public expressions of Jewish culture and identity always implicitly promote a Jewish supremacist ideology. There's no such thing as racism or bigotry against a privileged class.

Saying "intersectionality is a hard problem" doesn't do much to change the situation.
posted by fuzz at 2:28 PM on June 27 [13 favorites]


I can ask this on the green if that's more appropriate, but is anyone familiar with good articles and essays on navigating issues of intersectionality and exclusion in this context?

Because it's all well and great to say that women of color should be fully included in a women's march, and I'm completely on board that trans women should be fully included in a women's march, and I'm still on board if you say that Black Lives Matter should be included in a women's march, but I start to have a problem when you're to the point where you're telling queer women that believing the state of Israel should exist in some form is incompatible with being present at a Dyke March. And I don't have a great intellectual framework for separating some of these things besides "well some of them are positions I agree with more than others." There's a tension between the laudable position that activist movements need to stand up for each other and not leave people behind, and the practical extent to which that goal is realized as a laundry list of social movements which all good thinking people must agree with if they want to participate in any of these movements.

As another example, there are LGBT police officers and allies who would like to march together in pride parades under the banner of their workplace. There are other members of the community who will feel unsafe, threatened, and/or unheard if that happens. Different members of the community will come down on different sides of that issue, and while you can try to find room to compromise, at the end of the day it's likely that you're siding with one side or the other. Either way, someone feels excluded or unwanted so someone else can feel included.

Anyway, if there are any good essays addressing these situations, I'd like to read them.
posted by zachlipton at 2:49 PM on June 27 [10 favorites]


I think people would still have complained had the marchers been explicitly Zionist, but there wouldn't have been as widespread a complaint, especially if the organizers had made a prohibition against public support for Israel clear from the start (and they may have).

I have no objection to, for instance, Pride Parades saying they do not want police officers representing the police force in their parade. But I have consistently seen LGBT organizers say that if someone is an LGBT police officer and wishes to participate, they may do so, so long as they are not representing the police force.

But here marchers were excluding for having unexpressed opinions about Israel, after having been confronted because a flag representing LGBT Jews was misidentified (and continues to be misidentified) as an Israeli flag. That's a very different story. It's one in which Jewish symbols are held to mean what non-Jews decide they mean, and people who are visibly Jewish can be confronted about their unexpressed opinions just because they are visibly Jewish.
posted by maxsparber at 3:05 PM on June 27 [19 favorites]


I don't understand how this is possible to do without denying the racism and colonialism that occurs under contemporary Israeli policy.

It's impossible to talk about left-wing anti-semitism without addressing this, because it seems to me that the contradictions Schliesser outlines in the articles linked above (which are dense but well worth reading) come close to identifying its origins. I'd love to see some open, good-faith discussion about how this could be tackled, but it's a complex problem and this is not that thread.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 3:24 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


zachlipton, I don't know if this might be helpful, but there was an essay in Tablet in March: It's Time for Intersectionality to Include The Jews, triggered mostly in reaction to Linda Sarsour's declaration that one cannot be a Zionist and also a feminist.
posted by zarq at 3:52 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


I was really posting in good faith. Opposition to Zionism is consistent with opposition to antisemitism, not contradictory.
posted by byanyothername at 3:54 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Also, an op-ed has appeared in the New York Times this afternoon called: I'm Glad the Dyke March Banned Jewish Stars in which the author condemns intersectionality altogether. Which personally feels more like an attempt to denounce minority groups for daring to speak out and stand up for themselves than a valid argument.
posted by zarq at 3:56 PM on June 27 [9 favorites]


I was really posting in good faith.

I am sure you were. This is a topic that I suspect a lot of American Jews struggle with, including myself. Wouldn't have any objection at all to chatting about it in another thread. My concern about talking about it here is the same as maxsparber's: the Dyke March organizers used Israel as an excuse after they threw three people out for being visibly Jewish. They've doubled down on that narrative. It's an attempt to obfuscate and defer responsibility for an antisemitic act, and I don't want to help them.
posted by zarq at 4:06 PM on June 27 [14 favorites]


Further on intersectionality, JVP was also in the news a month ago over another gay-related incident at the Celebrate Israel parade in New York. I don't think much of JVP, but if they're going to disrupt an event it may as well be a parade that is (a) public; (b) intrinsically political; and (c) held outdoors so participants will feel less unsafe (maybe?). What JVP did, though, was specifically target the Jewish Queer Youth contingent, accepting their free T-shirts, marching with them, then attacking their PA system, unveiling their own banners, and linking arms to block the JQY marchers; some of whom reportedly thought it was a terrorist attack.

Tablet quotes JVP's director, Rebecca Vilkomerson, as saying that the LGBT contingent was "a carefully chosen target" and that they "feel strongly about gay rights not being used to pinkwash the occupation." But as Phoebe Maltz Bovy points out in The Forward,
Pinkwashing would be if, I don’t know, three LGBT Jews showed up to a Celebrate Israel parade, and then pro-Israel orgs put said three Jews on the cover of all their materials. But it’s not pinkwashing to be a queer Jew and attend a pro-Israel event.
This is what I mean by Jewish/gay intersectionality: they're uniquely vulnerable in a way that isn't captured by describing them as being Jewish or as being gay. They're universally recognised as a soft target, even by other Jews, even by other gays.

Finally, there was a chilling coment I read on Schraub's blog while collecting these links:
This could have been written a year ago about Omar Mateen.
Well, yes, yes it could.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:17 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


The march organizers have put out a new, longer statement, and wow...

They start with Laurel Grauer's messages (she's the woman who works for A Wider Bridge) to an organizer the night before the march asking if she could bring the flag to the march, asking for assurance that she would be welcomed "because of the dialog on this page." She is told yes. Then:
Upon arrival at the rally location in Piotrowski Park, Palestinian marchers approached those carrying the flags to learn more about their intentions, due to its similarity to the Israeli flag and the flag’s long history of use in Pinkwashing efforts. During the conversation, the individuals asserted their Zionist stance and support for Israel. At this point, Jewish allies and Dyke March organizers stepped in to help explain why Zionism was unacceptable at the march. There was an earnest attempt at engagement with these marchers, and the decision to ask them to leave was not made abruptly nor arbitrarily. Throughout a two-hour conversation, the individuals were told that the march was explicitly anti-Zionist, and that if they were not okay with that, they should leave.
So in short, she's stopped and interrogated about her political beliefs, is told her views are incompatible with the march, and is asked to leave. Why? Because:
Zionism is an inherently white-supremacist ideology. It is based on the premise that Jewish people have a God-given entitlement to the lands of historic Palestine and the surrounding areas. This ideology has been used to justify dozens of laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel, segregated road systems in the West Bank, and forced removal of Palestinian families from their homes in order to make way for Jewish-only housing, among other violent and discriminatory practices. We recognize that Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism, but instead represents an ideology that uses legacies of Jewish struggle to justify violence.
posted by zachlipton at 4:22 PM on June 27


That article said a lot of the things I'm avoiding saying on this thread, but Bari Weiss is right, in my experience, nothing gets the lesbian community more bloodthirsty than the oppression Olympics. Finally, white European dykes have white Jewish dykes below them and they're not going to miss the opportunity to let them know.
posted by Sophie1 at 4:25 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I don't even disagree that grilling the folks who got kicked out about their stances on Israel was at least influenced by antisemitism and responding to visible Jewishness, with the post hoc rationale of opposing explicitly pro-Israel orgs as a way of masking that. The pro-Israel bias here is just bothering me, I guess; it feels like many are rightfully calling out the expectation of any Jewish people to denounce "Zionism" as antisemitic while kind of also doing that in inverse. The evocation of Israeli policy by the event organizers is a fig leaf, but critical stances there aren't themselves wrong.

I will just back out now, though, with apologies for stepping in. I feel dialogue is obviously impossible.
posted by byanyothername at 4:28 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Whether you think Israel should exist in any form or not, whether you think Israel has a right to its territory, and whatever you think of Israel's current government now, it's hard to overstate how inflammatory and exclusionary it is to say that "Zionism is an inherently white-supremacist ideology." The folks who were moving, or in many cases, fleeing, to Israel, they most certainly weren't seen as white back home. Actual white supremacists were killing Jews by the millions.

We're now to the point where believing that Israel should, in some form, exist as a country and Palestine should be one too is enough to get you declared a white supremacist and thrown out of an unrelated social movement.
posted by zachlipton at 4:30 PM on June 27 [36 favorites]


I would really like to ask the organisations that signed on to the Chicago Dyke March Collective's statement that "Zionism is an inherently white-supremacist ideology": Are you aware that white-supremacists are an actual thing? Are you aware that they have journals and conventions and marches and so forth? Can you even imagine one of those conventions or marches having a Jewish contingent? If you're really opposed to white supremacy- as any decent person should be - why wouldn't you go after actual white supremacists, rather than the people they often hate even more than Blacks?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:47 PM on June 27 [6 favorites]


The pro-Israel bias here is just bothering me, I guess; it feels like many are rightfully calling out the expectation of any Jewish people to denounce "Zionism" as antisemitic while kind of also doing that in inverse.

I think that what people are calling out as antisemitic is the expectation that Jewish people should be obligated to express an opinion about Zionism and Israel upon demand.

What happened, as far as it's been pieced together from various narratives, appears to be that people were being visibly and proudly Jewish while marching in the Dyke March; as a result they were accosted by march organizers who demanded that they express their opinions about Israel and Zionism. That's what's antisemitic, the assumption that being Jewish means somebody is responsible and culpable for Israeli policy and Israeli actions, and is not just expected to but should be obliged to ritually and publicly denounce Israel if they want to participate in community actions like Pride marches.
posted by Lexica at 4:49 PM on June 27 [21 favorites]


I think that what people are calling out as antisemitic is the expectation that Jewish people should be obligated to express an opinion about Zionism and Israel upon demand.

Exactly. They consider the belief that Israel should, in some form, exist to be white supremacism. Which, let's set that aside for a second. They singled out people who were visibly and proudly identifying as Jewish to interrogate them on their beliefs about Israel. They didn't, because I assume someone would have mentioned if this happened, single out and interrogate all white people at the march to see if they support a white-supremacist ideology.
posted by zachlipton at 4:54 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


"White supremacy" is such a bizarre framing for any angle on the topic that I'm aware of.
posted by rhizome at 4:58 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


Calling Zionism "inherently white supremacist" is not only stupid and ill-informed in that Zionism is a reaction against white nationalists who tried to kill, expel, and ghettoize Jews mostly across Europe but also in other parts of the but there are black Jews, such as Beta Israel and Indian Jews such as Bene Israel who would probably be considered Caucasians broadly speaking but who do not have very light skin like you would consider a white person to have—certainly not a white supremacist would consider white. As a caveat, it is also the case that non-white Jews are discriminated against in Israel but that is an aside at best.
posted by koavf at 5:01 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


I consistently see that many minority groups are expected to consistently and constantly denounce everything that is even imagined to have been undertaken their members. Jews and Israel's actions against Palestinians, Muslims and Isis/islamic terrorism, BLM, and violence against police. The expectation is that the most extreme party who claims to be part of a minority group is representative, and that's possible because the majority has power to decide the contours of the minority.

Christians and whites aren't expected to explicitly denounce the KKK, nor are Police assumed to be for shooting People of Color by the majority, unless they have done something explicitly supporting such people. When it comes to privileged groups, bad apples are assumed to not represent the group unless there is a reason to believe otherwise.

In any case, the liberal response to disagreements between well-intentioned participants should begin with dialogue and understanding, with a basic expectation of mutual respect and consideration that lets all voices be heard. The idea that someone has to agree with you on everything in order to be included on one of the things where you have shared values is pernicious and divisive.
posted by gryftir at 5:08 PM on June 27 [6 favorites]


There are also many Jews of Color in the USA who also identify as Latinx or African African. The blogger Ma Nishtana (himself a JOC) reports that twenty percent of US Jews identify as non-white. That's a pretty big proportion to be disregarded.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:11 PM on June 27 [7 favorites]


This topic has made me so upset and angry that I haven't been able to respond - I have been typing and deleting for two days now, and am so grateful that others here have been able to express my feelings better than I would have phrased them. And I think the fact that it has been so worth following is largely due to the actions of the mod team throughout this thread, which I truly appreciate.

I think the Zionism discussion needs to be taken off the table for the same reason that the Islamophobia discussion has been roundly avoided. And I think the two go hand in hand. I almost never see a discussion of Islamist terrorism on left-leaning sites. It's one of those uncomfortable truths about our world today, but it's a fraction of Islamic observance which is (rightly) widely denounced and shouldn't be allowed to define Islam or be used to justify acts of racism or hate against Muslims. But no one would stop a group of Muslim marchers to ask where they stand on terrorism, let alone gay rights in the Muslim world. Nor should they. The assumption is that if you're marching, you're an ally. And that's good enough.

But by the same token we can't acknowledge that violent anti-semitism still exists in the world, because so much of it can be found in today's Arab world, including in Palestine. People didn't just come to Israel fleeing oppression in the 40's. The entire remaining Yemeni Jewish population was just airlifted to Israel this past year after the country made it clear they wouldn't live long if they stayed. France's Jewish population is starting to dwindle. But I feel like there's a real need as leftists to continue to insist that there's no longer such a thing as anti-semitism, that it's just a word that Jews use to stop arguments about Israel. That it's a cynical talking point, not a real, harmful ideology like racism.

So I don't know how to have a conversation about this without it including a discussion on Zionism, and what it is and what it isn't. And I understand and agree that this isn't the place for it. But I hear statements like, "The pro-Israel bias here is just bothering me, I guess" and I don't know how not to respond -- it's now considered a pro-Israel bias for people to say they support a two-state solution? At what point do Jews who have seen what violent anti-semitism looks like - and have seen incidents this year even in America which are eerily reminiscent of other countries where things went south (even the ones that turned out to be a hoax were eye-opening in how blasé the entire world and the current American government treated them when we thought they were real) - get to say I deserve to live a self-actuated life too? That intersectionality includes my truths too?
posted by Mchelly at 5:32 PM on June 27 [32 favorites]


- it's now considered a pro-Israel bias for people to say they support a two-state solution?

According to the Dyke March and JVP, it's now racist think that Israel should exist at all.
posted by zarq at 5:56 PM on June 27 [11 favorites]


[byanyothername, we're deliberately keeping this thread narrowly focused so that it can be productive - there are a lot of theoretical questions of intersectionality we could discuss around Judaism in general, but let's keep this one to the issues in the specific incident we're discussing. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 6:10 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


It's... interesting... that left-wing rhetoric about Israel so closes matches the right-wing rhetoric about accepting immigrants into the United States, a country which was also colonized by Great Britain at the expense of the native inhabitants and subsequently became a symbol of refuge (Give us your tired, your poor...). But on the left, it's a purity test, you have to prove you're a "good" Jew. And every single time I have encountered this in real life, it's been from white non-Muslim, non-Jews. I'm also of Quebecois descent. Oddly enough, no one has ever asked me my position on the extremist separatist groups.
posted by Ruki at 6:19 PM on June 27 [8 favorites]


Maybe it's racist simply to say "Next Year in Jerusalem" and hence racism and white supremacy were invented by Jews in Central Europe in the 1400s.
posted by XMLicious at 6:21 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]



According to the Dyke March and JVP, it's now racist think that Israel should exist at all.


part of why these sorts of confrontations are so fucked up is that by putting that as the question, the confronter is declaring an outrageous position from the start and giving any answer, no matter what it is, is accepting and entering into this frame. "Should (a country) exist" is what you ask before you found it, before you bomb it, or after it loses a world war. those are the three big windows for making meaningful decisions about that. so accepting the premise of the question enough to say Yes is nearly as troubling as saying No. "What should Israel do" (about anything), now, that's an actual question, instead of a threat. but it's a hard question so it's not the one that's asked. It's too hard to give a thoughtful answer that can be immediately construed as defiance or submission to the questioner, so it's of no use as a quick hostile play.

not that I would be pleased to be asked that question, either, apropos of nothing except someone thinking I looked Jewish enough to be harassed. but at least if I felt like answering it, I would not demand that the questioner first justify why she herself deserved to exist. or her own nation, if I felt kinder.

anyway, I cannot hear that question as other than a transparent bullying tactic even if the expected answer were a Yes, which it occasionally is. It's not rhetoric used by serious people who want to talk about politics and oppression. it solicits not an answer but a confession.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:33 PM on June 27 [30 favorites]


[Folks, the Zionism-as-white-supremacy debate is one we don't need to have right now. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad at 9:09 PM on June 27


This upsets me. The women were using a symbol of their Jewishness, nothing more, and then were interrogated in a way other marchers weren't. (White non-Jewish people weren't asked to prove they weren't Republican voters, for example).

Jews shouldn't have to prove they are good Jews, and Muslims shouldn't have to prove they are good Muslims.
posted by daybeforetheday at 2:46 AM on June 28 [7 favorites]


I'm sure many Americans would say that seeing a hijab worn in public makes them feel "unsafe". Many would even say that the hijab is a symbol of the oppression of women, and some of those would even be speaking from personal experience. But does that mean that event organizers should tell hijab-wearers to remove their hijab or leave the event? No! Duh!

The problem here is that the organizers in question were unable to tolerate diversity. I thought we'd worked this shit out in the '90s.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:30 AM on June 28 [6 favorites]


The problem here is that the organizers in question were unable to tolerate diversity.

No, the problem is that they were unable to tolerate Jews. Don't (inadvertently) erase the very specific problem in favor of making a larger point.
posted by Etrigan at 6:33 AM on June 28 [14 favorites]


No, the problem is that they were unable to tolerate Jews.

Etrigan, I absolutely agree. I'm using an analogy to point out the unacceptableness of this behaviour in general, and a generalization to highlight the ideal behaviour that people should aspire to in such situations.
posted by heatherlogan at 7:39 AM on June 28


Further on intersectionality, JVP was also in the news a month ago over another gay-related incident at the Celebrate Israel parade in New York.

What--what the hell--how could you ever think that was appropriate or acceptable--what is wrong with people?!? Who the fuck dares to identify as progressive while treating queer teenagers as acceptable collateral? How fucking dare you frighten them while they march? Who does that?

Part of the reason I feel as strongly about this as I do is that one of my college-age meetup participants is Jewish--she's one of the youngest members in my personal offline little queer community at nineteen, and so I feel directly responsible for her. The rest of the reason, of course, is that I remember being a queer teenager not too long ago--less than a decade--myself, and I remember how fragile it felt, how terrifying it felt to be myself, and so I'm still a little in awe of those kids who are comfortable and supported enough by their community to represent their existence in public. I'm a little in awe of them, and I am determined to make their adolescence easier than mine was any way I can.

That anyone, especially other queer people, would target queer children and teenagers in the name of progressivism makes me want to spit. It makes me want to scream. How far have you abandoned queer community to think this is acceptable? How the hell could anyone lose their way so badly?
posted by sciatrix at 7:54 AM on June 28 [11 favorites]


What--what the hell--how could you ever think that was appropriate or acceptable--what is wrong with people?!? Who the fuck dares to identify as progressive while treating queer teenagers as acceptable collateral? How fucking dare you frighten them while they march? Who does that?

Yeah, that was seriously horrifying.

I have friends who walk in the Israel Day parade in NYC with their children every year. Their kids range from infants to teens. They make a choice to march with their kids. There are always demonstrations against Israel at one or two specific points on the parade route. The protestors hold up signs comparing Jews to Nazis. Not just Israeli or Israelis. Jews. They chant. They scream. Often, they curse and name call. Sometimes, marchers chant loudly as they go by, to drown out the disruption.

This isn't restricted to Israel Day parades. Look at most anti-choice protests and you'll find similar behavior. But man, it's nothing like what JVP did. That's exponentially more nasty.

But there are people in this world who think of children and teens as either acceptable targets or collateral damage. Or who have no care in the world about someone screaming curses at parents even if they have their children in tow. Or yelling at teenagers. We recently discussed a related incident here on mefi, where Ivanka Trump was with her husband and children on a flight, and someone got up to scream at the parents in front of their children. Mefites defended the yelling guy. Voicing concern for the little kids was verboten.

I'd be willing to bet that every single one of those JVP and anti-Israel protestors thinks of themselves as fighting for a righteous cause against right-wing evil. That the kids don't matter because Israel or the parents deserve it. That the teenagers deserve it for taking a stand for something they oppose.

The veneer of civilization is very thin.
posted by zarq at 8:55 AM on June 28 [2 favorites]


I have a Jewish friend who is wondering if she should go back to the old tradition of border guards carrying enough jewelry to bribe a border guard. She's really shook up and angry, because as she states, it doesnt mattter how much support Jews give to progressive causes, they will still be used as scapegoats.

As for me, I'm pissed off. I can't help but see this as a continuation of Livejournal and Tumblr Leftism, where what's important is not results, but the appearance of rightousness, and ideological credentials ate used to attack and bully people. The Left has a huge toxic element that developed over the last 20 years, and it's going to have to be dealt with before it can effectively resist.
posted by happyroach at 9:18 AM on June 28 [5 favorites]


But there are people in this world who think of children and teens as either acceptable targets or collateral damage.

Yes, I know. My outrage isn't that children were targeted, exactly, but that queer children were.

Look, children in general we sort of assume have functional parents who stand for them, who advocate for them, who love them. Queer children often do not get to rely on that. There is a reason that I know so many queer people with families of choice, because families of origin are often unwelcoming. And essentially every queer person I know - - and as a reminder, I am twenty six and primarily hang out with people my own age--had to pause in adolescence and grapple with the idea that their parents might reject them, at least in part. Even the ones whose parents were good. It is a nigh universal experience on my circles.

So the concept of other queer people attacking openly queer youth is horrifying even compared to the concept of adults terrorizing children on political grounds generally. Queer children are particularly vulnerable in a number of ways, and there are strong and old LGBTQ traditions that hold that a very young queer person is part of your in group, not their parents', because often that's just the simple truth. There is a reason that the Trevor Project is as large, well regarded, and supported as it is. You just do not commonly see LGBTQ children targeted this way within community, particularly not by adults rather than by other youth with different identity politics.

Which is not to say that the LGBTQ "community" is one big happy family any more than the Jewish equivalent is. But this behavior is incredibly shocking to me as a queer person specifically.
posted by sciatrix at 10:26 AM on June 28 [9 favorites]


Yes. I'm very much aware who was being targeted, why and how horrific it was. Jewish Queer Youth is largely made up of Orthodox and Hasidic Jews who have mostly not only not found acceptance in their own communities, but have been the victims of outright shunning or worse. Here in NYC, some teens and young adults in their 20's have found safe spaces in the OU-funded Beis. Many younger queer Jews have found safety and community with JQY.

They're not simply LGBTQ teens. Being Orthodox and Chasidic as well as LGBTQ, they are, without exaggeration, the single most vulnerable group that marches in the parade. Being visible and declaring their identities publicly can even be dangerous to them, for obvious reasons. Casual and institutionalized homophobia and transphobia are rampant in the Orthodox and Chasidic communities. The problem is insidious and extends to every corner, from day schools and yeshivas to individual congregations. There are Orthodox Jews who still embrace conversion therapy, or perpetuate the lie that being queer is some sort of lifestyle, rather than biology and inherent identity.

JQY has been targeted by protestors along the route before, primarily by bigots from their own communities.

But never like this.
posted by zarq at 11:15 AM on June 28 [9 favorites]


I see that my personal take on this is probably outside what many here feel, but I do wish that even when people disagree, there could be more recognition of context. Context shouldn't necessarily make you change your views on this episode in particular, but for me, context makes me cautious about quickly assessing any situation where Jews are being accused of antisemitism, and context makes it challenging for me to arrive at a clear view of right and wrong in many charged contexts that involved critiques of Israel.

Some of the context:

- Many consider the actions of the Israeli government as analogous to apartheid-era South Africa. In other ways, critics of Israel would argue that the Israeli state is increasingly similar to say, Syria, where government policy serves to deny residents schooling, electricity, clean water, free movement, or even food
.
- While one may disagree with the above assessment, or perhaps may feel that apartheid-like policies are justified for various reasons, the harms to Palestinians are factual and well documented.

- For that reason, there is an international movement to attempt to change the policies of the Israeli government. While the "correct" form of that movement is highly contested, surely one can see why people who view this situation as unjust would want to form an organized movement to make changes in this nation. Why critics would vocally critique that nation, it's publicity campaigns, it's vocal supporters. Again, this is a somewhat analogous (although obviously also different) situation to apartheid-era South Africa, where there was an international movement to boycott and divest from South Africa, there were public protests against the state of South Africa, and a public representative of South Africa would be publicly called out, or a performer who chose to play a concert in South Africa would be publicly called out. And basically on many, many fronts, critics of South Africa put pressure in any way they could to eradicate apartheid.

- I am aware there are major differences between apartheid-era South Africa and today's Israel. A deeply significant difference is that modern Israel was founded by Jews who had just experienced one of the most profound genocides in human history. That is important and real.

- We live in a period of rising fascism. Many here believe we should stand up more forcefully and unequivocally to forces of fascism. For example, many here would advocate punching Richard Spencer in the face, or at least forgiving someone who does.

- So some would say, we should more forcefully stand up against all forces of oppression, in which they would include the government of Israel, which they believe is tormenting, perhaps murdering Palestinians. Many who feel this way are Jewish people. Jewish Voice For Peace is an organization run entirely by Jews. Not a few marginal Jews with internalized antisemitism, but rather a large group of Jews, many of whom are deeply steeped in Jewish culture and/or Jewish spirituality. So I think it is just plain problematic to dismiss these folks as antisemitic.

- Some would also say we should stand up more forcefully against antisemitism. I agree with that.

- Defining antisemitism is contested, as there are a vocal group of Israel supporters who do equate critiques of the state of Israel with antisemitism.

So I just find this conversation really hard because there are real ambiguities happening here. I don't know what conversation actually happened at Dyke March Chicago, but I can imagine a scenario where, as a Jewish lesbian who opposes the policies of Israel, I can imagine what happened feeling OK to me. But I can also imagine seeing this go down and thinking it was really fucked up and problematic. But I actually think there's enough messy in here that it's just not clear to label this antisemitism without knowing more.

I also think it's weird in this specific incident when non-Jewish people are forcefully accusing some Jewish people of antisemitism. And I also think there are subtleties of the culture of Dyke March that people not connected to dyke activist communities may be missing here.

So I understand and respect Jews seeing this situation and feeling angry, afraid, and speaking out about it. And I also feel that there are many factors at play in this scenario and antisemitism is not the only issue at play, and I personally do not have a clear sense of whether I would call it a factor. Again, we can disagree about that, but surely there is more to the story than just antisemitism. Which makes it hard to just come up with a very clear statement about what exactly should happen in any similar situation in the future.

That's my two cents. I hope it doesn't feel hurtful to my fellow Jewish people in this thread, and I respect that we may have differences and appreciate anyone's work standing up to antisemitism.
posted by latkes at 11:15 AM on June 28 [6 favorites]


I hear you, latkes. I thinking about everything you have to say and chewing on it. But....

I think I'm the only non Jewish poster here currently taking an aggressive stance on a potentially anti Semitic act conducted by Jewish people, yes? I had a quick glance at the thread, and I didn't catch others; please correct me if I'm wrong. (Remember, to my knowledge the Dyke March organizers aren't Jewish either.)

Here, my horror and disgust is coming directly from a different axis of marginalization, not the question of anti Semitism per se. I've been very clear here about why I'm disgusted by that action from Jewish Voices For Peace, and it's actually not primarily based on anti Semitic grounds. I'm appalled because I think that protest action is a profoundly inexcusable act for anyone who cares about queer community or youth. I'm looking at a political act committed by Jewish queer activists against Jewish queer youth and saying that, completely ignoring the Semitic politics of it, it's a profoundly homophobic/transphobic act. Those aren't even quite the right words for what I want to convey--that regardless of feelings on Israel, on the axis of oppression that I do share with all parties, that targeting of JQY was profoundly immoral on queer culture grounds alone.

Is that a stance you disagree with?
posted by sciatrix at 11:35 AM on June 28 [6 favorites]


(Upon rereading, I apologize for repetition; I am aghast enough over this that I was trying to avoid using words like "traitorous" or "desecration." That's the level of feeling I'm coming from here.)
posted by sciatrix at 11:37 AM on June 28 [2 favorites]


aggressive stance, perhaps, but I had not heard what JVP had done to JQY, which.

WTF.
posted by anem0ne at 11:47 AM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Ok, so even agreeing with all this for the sake of argument:

For that reason, there is an international movement to attempt to change the policies of the Israeli government. While the "correct" form of that movement is highly contested, surely one can see why people who view this situation as unjust would want to form an organized movement to make changes in this nation. Why critics would vocally critique that nation, it's publicity campaigns, it's vocal supporters. Again, this is a somewhat analogous (although obviously also different) situation to apartheid-era South Africa, where there was an international movement to boycott and divest from South Africa, there were public protests against the state of South Africa, and a public representative of South Africa would be publicly called out, or a performer who chose to play a concert in South Africa would be publicly called out. And basically on many, many fronts, critics of South Africa put pressure in any way they could to eradicate apartheid.

Being a visible Jew is not the same as being visibly pro-Israel in any way. Only anti-semitism makes "existing while being visibly Jewish" deserving of the same pushback. You can be visibly Jewish without having to share your personal thoughts about Israel.
posted by jeather at 11:52 AM on June 28 [14 favorites]


sciatrix: to address your inquiry, my personal point of view is that it would be wise to investigate more than one source about the protest at the Israel Parade as this is clearly an anecdote about which there are multiple perspectives. You may still come to the same conclusions, but perhaps you would have more understanding of why mine may differ, although I was once a queer youth too.
posted by latkes at 11:57 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


But I actually think there's enough messy in here that it's just not clear to label this antisemitism without knowing more.

Singling out Jews for punishment because they were publicly showing pride in their identities is a textbook example of antisemitism. Both the organizers and the banned women have confirmed that's what happened. I do not understand the purpose of pretending that such a clear example of antisemitism is in any way ambiguous.

By their own admission, the organizers saw what were incontrovertibly Pride flags with Jewish stars on them and assumed the people waving them supported Israel's existence. Thus proving themselves ignorant of both Judaism and our history. I do not understand the purpose of pretending that ignorance is either reasonable or has any basis in fact.

We know the women were not defending Zionism in public because they have said so. Flying a Jewish Pride flag which is only a rainbow with a Magen David on it is not in any way promoting Zionism. And when one of them said she supports a free and independent Palestinian state, she was thrown out anyway, because thinking Israel has a right to exist at all is racism, according to the organizers. The irony is deep.

If the organizers had started throwing out people who wore Jewish Stars on necklaces or bracelets, would we still be having this conversation? It would have been a logical, and yes, antisemitic, progression.

I have very strong feelings about Zionism, Israel's existence, the Hareidi takeover of their government, the Occupation, the mistreatment and oppression of the Palestinian people (as well as the government's racism and bias against them,) and the current Israeli government's crimes.

But Israel doesn't own the Magen David. It has not been co-opted simply because it appears on a flag. And millions of diaspora Jews who embrace it as a symbol of our heritage and/or faith are not Israeli. We are Jews.
posted by zarq at 12:01 PM on June 28 [23 favorites]


i don't know, i agree completely with every point of the context latkes outlined regarding israel, but the facts at hand regarding this incident reads to me as just antisemitic, because the first point of conflict was the claim the flag is an israeli one, and i'm not jewish but even i can see the post-facto rationalisation and weak evidence being cited as insufficient. and from there, the purity test that became steadily aggressive. everything else that has ensued has seemed to me, like attempts to justify that first mistake.
posted by cendawanita at 12:07 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


I do not understand the purpose of pretending that such a clear example of antisemitism is in any way ambiguous.

Obviously, to give them cover for the next time they commit an antisemitic act. To push back at the definitions of antisemitism so they can engage in even more virulant attacks on Jews. That's all, it's is not so complicated.
posted by happyroach at 12:09 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


But I actually think there's enough messy in here that it's just not clear to label this antisemitism without knowing more.

This is literally said about every oppressive act ever.
posted by maxsparber at 12:10 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]


All I can say is I am stating my perspective in good faith.
posted by latkes at 12:12 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Latkes, are you talking about the JVP actions at the Israel march? Or are you talking about the Chicago march? Because none of the context you're providing about Israeli actions (which I dispute in many ways, and can easily provide alternative context for) has anything to do with the women ousted from the Chicago march.

If you're talking about the NYC Israel march - why infiltrate a gay youth contingent? Why not protest on the sidelines as their own group? I wouldn't call their actions anti-semitic. I'd call it bullying.
posted by Mchelly at 12:13 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


All I can say is I am stating my perspective in good faith.

Yes, as are most people who respond to a charge of oppression by saying there are alternatives, there are other opinions, there are different facts out there.

There's always enough wiggle room to say the oppression did not happen. Always.
posted by maxsparber at 12:14 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


latkes: I think there are two bits of context that you're missing.

First, what happened here is that the marchers were not representing the government of Israel. They were carrying a rainbow flag with a Star of David. That's a representation of themselves as queer (or an ally at least) and Jewish. According to the explanations provided by the march organizers, it was because they carried this flag that they were stopped and interrogated on their political beliefs. That's the part that many of us have a real problem with. Because it's stopping people who publicly identify as Jewish and demanding they endorse a particular position or get kicked out. People who are visibly identifiable as Jewish should not have to justify their existence by being forced to agree with you about Israel. That this happened is uncontested by the organizers' own accounts.

And the second bit of context is what that position is. According to the accounts I've seen, the organizers of the march made it clear publicly that solidarity with Palestinians was one of their causes. Grauer herself contacted one of the march organizers the night before and was informed that the Collective "takes a position that supports the struggle for a Palestinian state." Grauer has publicly said she believes in a two-state solution with an independent Palestine, so they should be in broad (extremely broad, the devil is always in the details, and there are a gazillion details here) agreement, right? Except that the later statements of the Collective go on to reveal that their actual position is that "Zionism is an inherently white-supremacist ideology" and that it is not enough to stand in solidarity with Palestinians and support a free and independent Palestinian state, one must also denounce the existence of Israel. Which is not the same as denouncing its government, policies, political leadership, or actions. And if you don't, you are, in their eyes, a white supremacist. Every step of the way, the standard has been raised progressively from support "dyke, queer, bisexual, and transgender resilience" to support a Palestinian state, to, essentially, you must denounce the existence of Israel to if you don't do that, you're a white supremacist. And at an absolute minimum, if that's really your position as a march organizer, you owe it to everyone to make that clear up front, so people can make an informed decision about whether to attend and you're honest about who is included and excluded by your position.

Because if we're going to talk about people who conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, there's a flipside to that, which is conflating criticism of Israel with the belief that Israel should not exist in any form. And it's not for me personally to stop you if you don't believe Israel should exist at all, go have that debate somewhere else because this thread sure isn't the place for it, but the blurring of the lines between "Israel commits profound injustices which should be protested" and "Israel should not exist in any way, shape, or form" is something that directly prevents Jews from getting involved in activist spaces, because you never know when someone is going to turn around and demand you endorse the latter position or when a march protesting the Iraq war or the DNC is going to turn into an Israeli flag burning.
posted by zachlipton at 12:20 PM on June 28 [16 favorites]


Obviously, to give them cover for the next time they commit an antisemitic act.

I can believe this of JVP. I can believe it of the March organizers.

I absolutely do not believe that's what latkes is doing with their comments. Not deliberately nor inadvertently.
posted by zarq at 12:25 PM on June 28 [8 favorites]


The nature of the JVP counter-demonstration is undisputed; if you look for their Facebook page you can read their own description, which is substantially the same.

I don't agree that their infiltration and assault can be justified by appealing to higher motives. Firstly, it's wrong to treat people as means. The JQY were targeted (to use JVP's own phrase) specifically because their circumstances and practice of trusting unfamiliar faces made them more vulnerable. That's just abusive. But furthermore, this logic leads to justifying anything. I don't agree with Latkes' assertions about Israel, but even soldiers have to consider proportionality and collateral damage. The fact that JVP (and, apparently, the Chicago march's organisers) feel strongly about their cause does not give them a right to ignore this.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:35 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Look, I hear you, and in an attempt to listen I went and read up on literally every piece in the top two pages of Google results for "jewish queer youth jewish voices for peace parade" [the most neutral search terms I could think of], including statements from both organizations themselves. As far as I can tell, Joe's summary is not only accurate but if anything is more kind to Jewish Voices for Peace than I would be.

(For example, he omitted the context that apparently LGBTQ groups had been outright banned for marching in the parade until 2012, that this particular group often faces pushback from homophobia within the community in which they are marching, and that the executive director of the march commented that “Every year there are more people celebrating with us and showing us support, said Levovitz. “The first year we marched, people were a little shocked. You always have a few people covering their children’s eyes, but there’s less and less.” He also omitted context from JQY's statement that the youth marching in the parade were particularly on edge because of international violence against queer marchers in similar parades worldwide and because of the composition of the crowd.)

That tells me that this is a marching contingent that has expressly not won support for LGBTQ people within their own wider community, and that further makes this a problematic target on LGBTQphobia grounds. That is like going out into a rural Southern parade that finally won access for a queer marching contingent and targeting them. How is it pinkwashing if you're having queer people march among a community of conservative religious people who are hiding childrens' faces from their shame? How is it pinkwashing to encourage queer people to march freely through a crowd of people who have historically been opposed to their presence? I know the phenomenon you're talking about, but I cannot for the life of me understand how this could be categorized under that umbrella.

Literally the best defense for targeting a contingent primarily composed of JQY members marching in a population where they are marginalized for their sexuality and gender that I can find from a JVP representative was "well, we looked at a contingent of about 40 people and we only saw a handful of youth." That is not good enough. You're activists; it's your job to do the legwork before you show up and harass children! The JQY was apparently the catalyst for allowing openly queer marching contingents in the first place; it's reasonable to assume that they would be by far the most present and active group there! It's also worth noting that other sources listed the number of people marching at c. 90, and that you can't always identify a person's age immediately upon glancing at them.

In fact, the JVP official statement on the incident is even more appalling:

When asked whether or not it would have made a difference if the organization knew the number of minors that were in the group, and the extent of the vulnerability of the population, JVP’s Vilkomerson said, “No, we were just targeting the LGBT contingent [in general].”

It would have made no difference. That's what I need more context on?
posted by sciatrix at 12:46 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]


I absolutely do not believe that's what latkes is doing with their comments. Not deliberately nor inadvertently.
posted by zarq 21 minutes ago [2 favorites +] [!]


I very much appreciate you saying so. Thank you. I know the stakes of this conversation are high and the differences are big.
posted by latkes at 12:49 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


I knew checking back in on this thread was a bad idea that would make me feel bad but I did it anyway. Bad about being queer, bad about being Jewish, bad about the same old rationalizations and circles we'll all put ourselves through before being willing to admit something so explicit. I do have something to add, quickly, though: I've lately seen a lot of people, mostly gentiles, being like "These times sure are getting darker! These are certainly the worst times ever for Jews!" in response to physical/emotional violence against Jews specifically, which has only started being a thing the press REALLY pays attention to, and like.

I'm trying to say this the best way I can: I absolutely would not be alive to type this to you on a computer if that was actually the case. "Increasing levels of anti-semitism", which ARE REAL, doesn't 1:1 equate to what people seem to think it does, and that erasing of history makes me feel really weird but also like it's even more impossible to say anything? I am already losing my words on this. Part of that comes with the realization that the same anti-semitism that's been happening for years is still a thing, which I get is shocking for people who just don't know or care.
posted by colorblock sock at 12:54 PM on June 28 [9 favorites]


I know that you are speaking in good faith, let me reiterate that here. I know that you are only advocating that we look at context, and that this is a hard line to tread. I trust you to think clearly and listen, and I know there are shades of meaning here that I am out of my depth on. But as a queer person, I'm having some feelings here.
posted by sciatrix at 12:54 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


latkes, I was afraid the thread would turn into some sort of terrible pile on, and you don't deserve that. Looking back, I shouldn't have used the word "pretending" in my comment. I didn't mean to imply you weren't speaking up out of good faith or from the heart, but that's what I did. I apologize.

We definitely have our differences of opinion and perspective. G-d knows my own feelings on many subjects regarding Israel and my being Jewish are complex. But we are all in this together and ideally, should stick together and support each other as much as possible.
posted by zarq at 12:59 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


Yeah, we're all having feelings. This thread has been an intersectional trainwreck.

latkes, thanks for making that comment. It articulates a lot of the complexities I struggle with here and aligns closer with my own values than the hard dichotomies. I appreciate seeing it, and think it adds value to the thread. zarq, thanks also for being decent and compassionate to others despite the heat.

There is considerable nuance branching out from this incident that feels clearly unwelcome on the site. Singling out visibly Jewish participants to demand their stances on Israel is antisemitic; but much of the conversation responding to that has highlighted how problematic it is to continue linking American or global Jewishness with Israel. The march organizers may have only raised their stance on Israel as a butt-covering following the expulsion, but it has become conflated and tangled with discussions about the incident whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not. It is an area where nuance is necessity, and even the outlooks and experiences of Jewish peoples do not approach the assumed consensus. It's beyond the scope of this thread to cover every facet, but it has been raised again and again in this and every discussion on the incident. That may be because of the march organizer's use of it as a fig leaf; but it has been confusing, frustrating, disheartening and alienating to navigate and process the subsequent cognitive dissonance. There ought to be room here for people who don't broadly disagree with the organizer's response, but still feel they were in the wrong if the incident does come down to visibly Jewish people being approached and interrogated, then expelled after their politics come out (if they even did; aside from the A Wider Bridge director, there were somewhat confusing reports of the other two people's politics).

It's a confusing incident. It looks like a case of political allies acting wrongly, then using their not-wrong allyship to justify it. It is a weird and complex scenario, and I've been enormously disappointed in the trajectory of how it's been received. It feels especially bad that the discussion has been so heated, so condescending and accusatory, when as far as I can tell, none of us exchanging back and forths disagree about the incident. It was probably wrong. It's just, there are more nuanced feelings simmering underneath or intermixed, and some of us struggle with how to process and respond to those.

Anyway, I don't know why I even took the time to write this. I'll just go back to banging my head against a wall.
posted by byanyothername at 2:48 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


latkes, I appreciate your bringing these contexts to the table, which I believe are well worth considering, if only to reiterate that there appear to be factions on the left who have completely lost their moral and ethical compasses. If anything, I'm more enraged by the JQY action than the DMC incident. We should be better than this.

Before I go further, I want to make clear that I'm not Jewish, but I grew up in north west London and I have many, many Jewish friends of all political stripes. I'm also of the Left and I've been working very hard recently to understand this from different perspectives. I'm always learning, so please bear with me, because I'm trying to be part of the solution and not the problem.

I've been thinking long and hard about whether I should share this, but I think it raises a very important point, something I thought of when the story first broke. When I saw the first pictures of the flag, I immediately noticed the resemblance. It is inevitable. One of the very first things I learned working as a visual artist/designer is that symbols and whatever meanings become ascribed to them are often way beyond our control, because they bubble up from the subconscious even when you think you're looking at something else.

So I'm posting this not because I agree with the assessment that the flag should not have been flown, but because I agree with zarq:

Israel doesn't own the Magen David. It has not been co-opted simply because it appears on a flag. And millions of diaspora Jews who embrace it as a symbol of our heritage and/or faith are not Israeli. We are Jews.

From Dan Fishbank's Facebook page:
When I was in Palestine, I saw Jewish stars spray painted onto Palestinian family homes to intimidate people. The Jewish star is on the Israeli flag, which flies above military installations and settlements. A Palestinian home will be demolished and replaced with a Jewish home surrounded by barbed wire and Jewish stars. When we spent the night in a Palestinian refugee camp, a Jewish girl in our delegation was asked to take off her Jewish star necklace because it was seen as a symbol of violence by the families who were hosting us. After we heard this, I locked myself in a bathroom and cried with the realization that this symbol, which had always represented something positive to me, had become a symbol of cruelty. I feel personally insulted by state Zionism because it has permanently distorted the meaning of my people's culture.

To be clear: I don't think most U.S. Jews understand that this symbolic shift has taken place.

So yes, the Jewish rainbow flag that was banned from the Chicago dyke march was definitely an Israeli flag, and I think it's reasonable to eject symbols of nationalism from a radical queer event, especially when it comes to Israel, which consciously uses queer cultural platforms to brand itself as a benevolent state.

BUT when we make these distinctions, we have to be clear about the difference between Israel and Jewishness, and in order to be clear, we have to communicate how Israel has co-opted Jewish symbols for its own political goals.

In order words: it's not an insult to Jews to remove an Israeli flag from a pride event -- it's an insult to Jews to put a Jewish star on the Israeli flag in the first place.
So while it's easy to write off organisations like JVP as unhinged, if left-wing anti-semitism is going to be countered, it starts with changing the narrative rather than yelling insults. From what little I know of Fishbank's work, I have the impression he cares deeply about his culture and the people of Israel as well. But this is the thin end of the wedge, so to speak. What do we do?

On preview, byanyothername, thanks for that. You're not alone. I'll post and go sleep.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 3:02 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


(For example, he omitted the context that apparently LGBTQ groups had been outright banned for marching in the parade until 2012,

I feel compelled to point out that Joe simply may not have been aware of it. It was a big controversy for those of us who live here (and care, and are in the know,) but outside NYC and outside of lgtbq circles, it may not have been a blip on anyone's radar. Same with some of the other things you mention. I didn't know that there was heightened concern this year about international violence against queer Jews until after the JVP incident.

2012 was a busy year. The Jewish Conservative sect only authorized its rabbis to perform gay marriages in 2012. It took years of lobbying by our congregations of our rabbis and by our rabbis to the hierarchical umbrella organization for the Conservative movement. The decision came down several weeks before Pride weekend. It was unrelated to JQY's petition to march openly. They did that all on their own and should get full credit for the accomplishment. But the timing strikes me as interesting.
posted by zarq at 3:17 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


Unless we are asking Muslim groups to remove the star and crescent or Christians to remove the cross, both of which are symbols on many flags of oppressive nations, we cannot also insist that the star has somehow been coopted and had its meaning changed by being on the Israeli flag.
posted by maxsparber at 3:23 PM on June 28 [16 favorites]


we have to communicate how Israel has co-opted Jewish symbols for its own political goals.

YOU ARE COMPLICIT IN THIS WHEN YOU YOURSELF ARE HELPING TO CONVEY OWNERSHIP OF THE SYMBOL TO ISRAEL

GRRRARRRRRGGHHHH
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:43 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]


Is there a religious symbol on the planet that hasn't been used brutally? ISIS throws gay people off of buildings under all sorts of islamic symbology but you don't see leftists telling muslims not to use their symbols.

Anyway, its clear that these sort of peak intersectionality events are going to start occurring with more frequency as extremism rises.
posted by long haired child at 4:08 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


I feel compelled to point out that Joe simply may not have been aware of it.

That's correct. I wasn't aware of the people covering their kids' eyes either. I'm sure that's going to have the intended effect, he said with sarcastic incredulity.

With respect to the flags at the Chicago event, I agree that people can display national or religious symbols aggressively, but that's not what happened here. I think any concerns about people being triggered by incidental non-aggressive displays of those symbols should be treated the way we treat people who claim they're oppressed by the sight of a hijab or a mosque: those claims should be (politely?) ignored.

As for the organisers' behavior, they apparently weren't concerned about anyone potentially triggered by the sight of other religious or national symbols. This isn't a far-fetched concern: lots of Jews are refugees from Arab or Muslim countries, and in fact at least one Jewish flag-bearer comes from Iran. In contrast, their actions actually hurt the people carrying Jewish Pride flags. The organisers' scrupulous attention to Jewish behavior while ignoring Jewish well-being is on a par with people policing the behavior of other minorities, and has all the hallmarks of antisemitism.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:22 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


There ought to be room here for people who don't broadly disagree with the organizer's response, but still feel they were in the wrong if the incident does come down to visibly Jewish people being approached and interrogated, then expelled after their politics come out

Maybe I'm missing something here, but that is literally exactly what the March's statement linked to in the OP says:
This decision was made after they repeatedly expressed support for Zionism during conversations with Chicago Dyke March Collective members.
I don't get at all why there's an "if" in your sentence above, or how you could say they're in the wrong for doing exactly what they have explicitly said they were doing while at the same time saying that you "don't broadly disagree with the organizer's response".

You keep talking about "nuance" but if you're saying that we need to ignore the official explanation by the March organizers which they have doubled down on because it's just "a fig leaf" and insert an alternative explanation into their mouths, it does not seem at all valid to me to describe that as "nuance", and so perhaps this is part of the opposition you're feeling towards what you've been saying.

(Again if that's what you're saying, which I am interpolating because several of the things you've said seem logically inconsistent to me.)
posted by XMLicious at 4:45 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


What are the organizers *specifically* defining as Zionist views, with regard to the ejected Jews who had failed the Jews-only purity test? Is a two-state solution seen as categorically Zionist? (If so, then does that make roughly half of the Palestinians in Palestine into Zionists, since that's how that idea tends to poll in reality?)

Also, if the issue had not been raised until interrogation, then what's up with the Jews-only ideological purity test?
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:19 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]


Somebody on SomethingAwful had mentioned knowing the ejected Persian Jew, who was described actually as anti-Zionist, which is also a term that could encompass a number of different views. So, that also adds some confusion to the mix.

Haha, just kidding, not confusion, just greater certainty about the anti-Semitism on display

"SORRY, JEWS, YOU GOTTA GIVE US *JUUUUST* THE RIGHT PHRASEOLOGY TO STAY IN THE MARCH. YOU KNOW, TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE ONE OF THE GOOD ONES. LOOKS LIKE THE GREATER SCRUTINY THAT WE PAY TO JEWS HAS REALLY PAID OFF. PRAISE KEK"
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:27 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


I don't get at all why there's an "if" in your sentence above

There have been several different and conflicting statements by different groups and individuals as to what exactly happened, and what exactly the explicit politics of those ejected even are, as Stitcherbeast's comment shows. Nor do we know what constitute "Zionist" views and/or disruptions from those ejected. Possibly because they didn't happen. I don't know from many of the groups or individuals making statements. Hence "if." That isn't denying the framing that folks were approached for displaying Jewish symbols and hastily thrown out, with the later justification that they had been advocating "Zionism." It's simply admitting ignorance as to every detail.

I have been hesitating posting because I know how they'll be received, but here is Black & Pink's statement on the incident for instance. There have also been wider discussions in parts of the left about the incident, antisemitism within the left, how we can resist both antisemitism and Israeli oppression and so on. Not presenting that link as advocacy, but just to illustrate that there is more to this than a binary CORRECT/INCORRECT answer, and I am just weary at this point of hostility for not giving the CORRECT answer hard enough. How many times do I need to say I reject holding any members of any marginalized group responsible for the actions of their worst cohorts and that doing so for American Jews is an antisemitic attitude?

if you're saying that we need to ignore the official explanation by the March organizers

That's not anywhere close to anything I have said, no.

(Again if that's what you're saying, which I am interpolating because several of the things you've said seem logically inconsistent to me.)

Do not ever do this, please. If uncertain, ask. Don't be an aggressive asshole assuming the worst and running with that. My post is vague because most "nuance" is off limits to discuss here, but includes: how a critical view toward Israel's illegal expansionism and racial/ethnic discrimination against African and non-Ashkenazi Jews colors the reception of pro-Israel statements made at unrelated political events; how Jewish iconography is like all things context-dependent (but my view is that, even so, does not belong to Israel and shouldn't have to bear that weight, FYI); the intersections of race and LGBTness with Jewishness in the US; antisemitism within the left and the conflation with anti-Zionism; where anti-Zionist Jews even fit at all; and so on. I'm tired. None of this shit will be met with anything but open hostility, but it's not irrelevant. The intersectionality is in the fucking title.

Is a two-state solution seen as categorically Zionist? If so, then does that make roughly half of the Palestinians in Palestine into Zionists, since that's how that idea tends to poll in reality?

There is so much to unpack in this and I don't believe it was offered in good faith at all.
posted by byanyothername at 7:44 PM on June 28


Also

ISIS throws gay people off of buildings under all sorts of islamic symbology but you don't see leftists telling muslims not to use their symbols.

There is a problem with Islamophobia on the left as well. Very, very much so. The "every-Muslim-is-responsible-for-[Daesh/random shooter/whatever} attitude comes out swinging hard in the wake of any incident of violence with Muslim iconography stapled on. In this instance, it happened with Jewish iconography and not with other groups, and for the nth time I agree that that's fucked up, but it happens plenty with other religious/ethnic symbols as well.
posted by byanyothername at 7:53 PM on June 28


Israel's illegal expansionism and racial/ethnic discrimination against African and non-Ashkenazi Jews [...]

At least one of the people kicked out apparently is a non-Ashkenazi Jew. Not that I think the organisers would care one way or the other; they were hunting "Zionists", not Litvaks.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:58 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


Yes; and apparently a supporter of Palestinian freedom by some accounts. There has been contradictory information.

For instance, I may as well share this piece by Stephanie Skora, a Jewish anti-Zionist who was present at the march and participated in discussions with and the removal of those were kicked out. It is a complicated and difficult read that will land farther left than most here, but I think it's worth reading. It is also messy and angry and will stir strong feelings wherever you stand, so know that going in.

It is still actually quite vague as to what happened, which doesn't help, but is clear that the event was explicitly anti-Zionist and inclusive/supportive of Palestinians. (The personal impression forming now is that there probably was conflict over how the flag would be perceived by Palestinians and/or at an anti-Zionist event, in which case I feel there is an additional context to the Star of David that needs to be addressed, but it is still foremost a Jewish symbol and belongs to anti-Zionist Jews as much as the state of Israel. It belongs in the march as much as anything else, but context does matter.) The essay offers further thoughts on resisting both antisemitism and Zionism, in any case, and the intersection of queerness and Jewishness.
posted by byanyothername at 8:48 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


There is so much to unpack in this and I don't believe it was offered in good faith at all.

Not offered in good faith? What on earth are you talking about? Baseless personal attacks are not particularly common on this site.

If you have access to Google, or even Bing, then you can find more than a few points of view that explicitly, literally state that a two-state solution is inherently Zionist, and obviously they only mean Zionism in the most pejorative sense. I am not arguing for or against any particular "solution". Instead, I am pointing out a literal, explicitly-stated point of view that actually does exist in the real world. People familiar with the Israel/Palestine debate are aware that this point of view is a thing that exists.

So, what I am asking is, if any of the Jews who had failed the Jew-only ideological purity test had run afoul of a particularly strict version of such a test - a version that very much exists, a version that is in fundamental disagreement with 45%-55% of Palestinians who actually live in Palestine. Again, I am not supporting or attacking two-state or bi-national or tri-national or whatever other solutions that are in the wind. My point is, people familiar with the Israel/Palestine debate are aware that Palestinians are actually human beings, and not simply drones who march in lockstep, of one mind. (Likewise for Israelis and everybody else on the planet.)

And so, when a bunch of anti-Semitic First Worlders try to say that a two-state solution is inherently Zionist, then yes, that specific line of argument is going to an absurd place, a place in which about half of Palestinians are apparently Likudniks. The fact that this line of argument goes to that place is a sign that "the two-state solution is literally just Zionism" is not a very good lens with which to view things.

Again, I am not speaking to any merits of a two-state solution or anything else. What I am objecting to is an ideological purity test that literally conflates "well, I think a peaceful two-state solution is our best bet" with "KILL 'EM ALL".
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:55 PM on June 28 [6 favorites]


> if you're saying that we need to ignore the official explanation by the March organizers

That's not anywhere close to anything I have said, no.

You JUST asserted "ignorance as to every detail". I'm not being an asshole, you are actually making logically inconsistent statements and affirming anything "harder" is not going to resolve that.

The thing you linked to confirms the same facts:
On Saturday June 24th, 2017, several individuals left the Dyke March Chicago rally, after affirming their support for Israel and Zionism in conversation with DMC organizers.
I haven't even proposed any interpretation of these facts in my responses to you, I've only asked questions about what you're stating or implying regarding the facts on the ground which any interpretation would be applied to.

You can't talk about fig leaves and "framing" in reference to specific, non-figurative statements and characterize your understanding of facts agreed upon by both the ejecters and the ejectees as "ignorance" and expect anyone to draw any conclusion other than that you are speaking dismissively of those facts.

(Seriously, what other part of your comment are you even referring to above when you suggest "they didn't happen"? I can't identify what "they" is referring to.)

No number of links to third parties talking about how their pen-pals feel (note to anyone who hasn't followed the Black & Pink link: I'm not being pejorative, that statement is really actually saying that B&P's "pen-pals and volunteers" were "feeling included and celebrated"—some of Chicago Dyke March's best friends are Jews, I definitely and genuinely believe this to be the case) nor details of possible conceptual discussions about the topics you list as potential undiscussable "nuance" are going to change the set of facts—which neither of the parties involved dispute—which any interpretation or assessment of anti-Semitism would need to proceed from.
posted by XMLicious at 9:04 PM on June 28


byanyothername, that Stephanie Skora piece you linked was worth reading if only to confirm that there really is no "nuance" or "gray area" here, at least in terms of this incident. In this piece she straight up acknowledges that these women were targeted specifically for being visibly Jewish ("It is neither the place, nor the right, of Jews to get all up in our feelings about the reactions of Palestinians to symbols that have been heavily appropriated by the Israeli State and Zionist settlers for the express purpose of eliciting reactions of fear and trauma. Whatever your feelings about the Star of David as a symbol, the reality of the situation is that the violent use of that symbol by the Israeli State has made it inextricably associated with that state, and the violence that it commits."), put through an ideological purity test (" We may be required to affirm certain political positions in order to remain in the space") which they failed, and kicked out because of it. She just happens to think this is totally reasonable.
posted by The Gooch at 9:21 PM on June 28 [10 favorites]


So congratulations, we've managed to make this an I/P thread despite the fact that the only connection to Israel, again, is that people saw Jews they suspected were Zionists (as a healthy percentage of Jews are, and as an especially large percentage of religious Jews are of every denomination), demanded confirmation, and said "you don't belong here" - even if you're LGBTQ, even if you believe in Palestinian self-determination. The Skora piece is icing on the cake - the only truth to the entire conflict is the Palestinian truth; that truth is that you, identifying as a religious Jew, are in and of yourself a trigger. Facts aren't welcome here.

I am a leftist and a feminist and a Zionist. And I am a religious Jew. And I believe wholeheartedly in Palestinians' right to their own state, safety, and self-determination. And I am sick and tired of Zionism being defined by outsiders as something that most Zionists see as not only ugly and confusingly untrue, but deliberately worded so as to infuriate and instill hatred against anyone with even the mildest opinion, that a country with millions of inhabitants - not all of whom are Jewish - should exist. You can't define an ideology from the outside. You can say you disagree with it, or that it's wrong - but you don't get to redefine it. But no, no one cares what a Zionist will tell you Zionism is. That's irrelevant. We need to listen to the Palestinians' definition. Not only that, they get to define what is acceptable display of Judaism.

And at the same time we are not allowed to discuss the actual words or actions of Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank. We have to assume that the eventual Palestine will be a liberal, tolerant democracy, and the only thing holding them back from pluralism and a free press and gay rights is Israeli colonialism strangling them.

There was no need for a conversation about Zionism in this thread. There was no need for an exploration of (let alone a set of one-sided tirades against) Israel's actions. That was the entire point of the incident. They were marching as Jewish dykes, for pride. Despite being Zionists, they had no issue marching in solidarity with Palestinians. But they were first made to go through a purity test, and then ousted for failing.

And now, here on Metafilter, it feels like we are going through the same exact thing: we hear you, we're willing to concede that maybe it was anti-semitic, but but but it is impossible for us to have this discussion about anti-semitism unless we eventually get to the part where everyone is made to know how evil Israel and Zionism is.

How dare anyone suggest this conflict has two sides, that's just imperialism, amirite?
posted by Mchelly at 10:16 PM on June 28 [25 favorites]


[byanyothername, you have succeeded in completely derailing the thread. Let it drop now, and everyone else, let's return to the actual issues and move away from Israel, which is not the discussion we are having. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 10:51 PM on June 28 [2 favorites]


I feel compelled to point out that Joe simply may not have been aware of it.

I figured this was the case, in fact. I just wanted to say that going out and acquiring more context on the incident did not make me more inclined to sympathize with the positions taken by Jewish Voices For Peace, nor did they make me more inclined to trust that organization's ability to weigh harms when performing intersectional activism.

I'm still appalled. And the best answer anyone apparently defending that action appears to be able to give me is that I am missing context, and if I really understood, I would see the situation differently.

Make me understand, then. Please. Either tell me what level of action within queer community is acceptable, or explain to me how the harm done to queer youth is acceptable weighed against the damage in Israel. Hell, tell me how queer people marching among conservative Jewish communities is in some way more about Israel than it is about individual queer people trying to win acceptance among their homes here in the USA. I am happy to hear the context.

But the pattern I am seeing is that there is no action that people who ask for clemency in the case of Chicago are willing to condemn, no matter how strongly it might violate queer community norms. That worries me. And it doesn't really convince me that I am missing something.

If I am too harsh, explain. Tell me where your own line in the sand is. I have been fairly clear about mine. I deeply respect those of you telling me that I am missing something, that I am missing context, from other interactions we have had on queer topics here. I believe that you are arguing in good faith. But I want to know: in a queer intersectionality context, where is the line that would make antiZionist actions unacceptable to you? What does that look like? What is the limit on collateral damage?

Please. I am asking in good faith. Is there a limit? What does it look like?
posted by sciatrix at 5:04 AM on June 29 [5 favorites]


Regarding what this discussion is about:

Some people perceive this to be primarily about antisemitism. Some people perceive it to be about a response to confrontation specifically about Israel. This interview with one of the Dyke March organizers claims that while there were lots of visible, proud, Jewish participants, some displaying stars of David, that wasn't the issue, but rather that a contingent was shouting down a chant that was supportive of Palestinians: They were taking 'No walls from Mexico to Palestine' and they started with "No walls anywhere." They were disrupting the chants....

This may or may not be accurate and I'm not trying to talk anyone into believing it. I wasn't there, so I don't feel I can make a judgment about what happened. But I'm just saying from moment one: there have been two perspectives on what this conflict was about.
posted by latkes at 8:11 AM on June 29


Oh dear. I’m so sorry if that was in any way related to my comment. byanyothername, I do understand your frustration, but please remember there are actual people in here with a deep emotional investment. This is an incredibly sensitive topic and we all need to bring our A-game in empathy. When you double down like this, you really do add to the problem. Me, I’m just looking out for my friends. Or trying to.

zarq, maxsparber, latkes, zombieflanders, Mchelly et al, thank you all so much for bringing these varied perspectives. I’ve gained a lot from reading them and I hope very much that my contribution here is constructive, because I’ve honestly had enough of people shouting at each other. I don’t see how anything is going to change if we can’t talk about it, and I know of no better place than Metafilter to have these kinds of exchanges.

Yes, this is messy and complicated and you need to keep a number of conflicting ideas in your head, but I try to think of it like this: the accepted left-wing position on Israel doesn’t take account of the justifiable need for a Jewish nation, political discourse is dominated by loud voices of a very partisan nature and all too often regular people get thrown under the bus.

The problem is universal and not by any means confined to the Left, but if you want to know what left-wing anti-semitism looks like, what’s happening here is the tip of the iceberg. It’s incredibly pernicious in the way it’s become so politicised, by perpetuating the idea that Zionism is inherently evil and racist in all its forms and therefore Jews must dissociate themselves from Israel in order to be acceptable on the Left. (I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone that this works both ways, with the opposing argument coming from the Right, with the crucial difference that right-wing antisemitism doesn’t need the same political justification.)

Many people who wouldn’t consider themselves particularly prejudiced can easily fall into the trap of enabling this position, and many, like Fishback, who I quoted above, are Jewish. I can understand how he has arrived at this argument because he’s clearly a sensitive guy and his personal experience has led him to reject these symbols. That’s on him, we should allow him to feel that way without accusing him of being anti-semitic himself, and he should likewise be defended from any racist abuse he might experience as a result. And we cannot discount the witness reports that the women were being disruptive, and that their exclusion from the march might have been on the basis of something more than just the flag they were carrying. Regardless of how disgusted we may feel at the organisational responses, we should at least acknowledge that provocation can only make things worse because it deepens the divide and feeds sectarianism.

There’s absolutely no doubt though that whichever way you slice it, this outcome is a harmful blow to Jewish cultural identity and the Left need to learn from it. The implicit shaming reinforces all sorts of other crazy ideas and you don’t need to go very far down the anti-Zionist pro-Palestinian rabbit hole to find some seriously egregious racism. Maybe there are ways for the progressive Jewish left to reclaim an authentic cultural identity which acknowledges this schism without endangering people, but more likely the challenge is to bring the idea of Jewish statehood back onto the table in a way that unites around a shared vision rather than further undermining vulnerable communities. I have no idea how this can happen and as a non-Jew it’s not for me to speculate, but if we’re serious about tackling anti-semitism, people need to be protected across the political spectrum, from true believers to supporters of a pluralist approach.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 8:16 AM on June 29 [3 favorites]


But I'm just saying from moment one: there have been two perspectives on what this conflict was about.

And yet it still boils down to a mutually agreed upon narrative in which a Jewish pride flag was mistaken for an Israeli flag, multiple women were confronted about it, their repeatedly expressed Jewish viewpoints that the flag is not an explicitly Israeli symbol were rejected (despite one having been previously told that she could bring the flag, and having brought it in previous years), and one was expelled for having Zionist viewpoints that she had not actually previously expressed in any way at the event.

Yes, there are two perspectives. In both of them, non-Jews decided the meaning of a Jewish symbol, ignored similarly problematic symbols from other religions, felt they had a right to demand that American Jews explain themselves about Israel, and expelled them, not for anything they had actually done, but for an opinion they had not expressed.

I guess there are two perspectives about whether or not this was antisemitism. Well, I don't want there to be ambiguity about this:

Non-Jews deciding the meaning of Jewish symbols is antisemitic.
Non-Jews holding all Jews as being accountable for the behavior of Israel is antisemitic.
Non-Jews holding Jews to a higher or different standard than they do other people is antisemitic.

There has literally yet to be a telling of this story in which all three things didn't happen.
posted by maxsparber at 8:21 AM on June 29 [19 favorites]


And we cannot discount the witness reports that the women were being disruptive,

That was not a witness account. It is a third-party retelling the events. I have yet to see a witness account that claims the women were being disruptive.
posted by maxsparber at 8:23 AM on June 29 [11 favorites]


maxsparber, thanks for the clarification. My mistake.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 8:25 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


I think another thing that's frustrating about this conversation at large is how much some elements - not all or even most, thank god, but enough to be a contingent - are really doubling down on the antisemitism. Today I heard elsewhere, from a leftist I previously worked together with in the peace movement,the insane contention that the Star of David is akin to the swastika, and any Jew displaying it publicly is an aggressive action that deserves interrogation, because Israel. It's like this event turned over a rock and all these horrible ideas about Jews are crawling out from under it. Seeing all these former allies saying yes, Jews do face a higher standard and are not entitled to the symbol of their faith is making my skin crawl.
posted by corb at 8:28 AM on June 29 [11 favorites]


it still boils down to a mutually agreed upon narrative in which a Jewish pride flag was mistaken for an Israeli flag, multiple women were confronted about it, their repeatedly expressed Jewish viewpoints that the flag is not an explicitly Israeli symbol were rejected

One of the actual participants, Alexis Martinez (thanks for the link, latkes) doesn't agree upon that narrative at all.

Alexis Martinez:
The first thing I want to say is that this was never about the Jewish Pride flags. They never came into the conversations. As long as I've been an organizer, Laurel has always marched [in the Dyke March] with that flag. I had a conversation on text message with Laurel the night before. She asked me if people would be protesting her Jewish flag. I told her "No. It's never been an issue and it shouldn't be an issue." But I also told her very clearly that we were anti-Zionist and pro- Palestinian and she needed to understand that and the nature of the event.

There were Jews there with all kinds of tattoos, bracelets with the Star of David. That was never an issue. It's being framed that we asked people to leave because of flags. It just isn't true. They also were never tossed from the march. They marched all the way from 27th and Lawndale. [March starting point]. Even when they were interrupting the anti-Zionist chants...
Windy City Times:
How were they interrupting them?
Alexis Martinez:
They were taking 'No walls from Mexico to Palestine' and they started with "No walls anywhere." They were disrupting the chants and nobody said anything to them.

What happened at the site [of the rally] was some Palestinian Queers who came up to organizers and said they were being antagonized verbally. The Jewish contingent kept agitating and being aggressive about presenting a pro-Zionist position to Palestinian women.

I would say 15 or 20 minutes after we entered the park. One of the organizers came to me and said "Alexis, you have to do something about this." So, I went over and talked to Laurel. She tried to make it about the flag. I said "Nobody's got anything against your flag. Wave it proudly. I am asking you if you're trying to present a pro-Palestinian, pro-Zionist point-of-view."

She said that she was proud of her Zionist views and she needed to be able to express them. I told her "This isn't the format to do that. Either you have to stop or you have to leave." They refused. We don't have an armed security force to push people out so I left. They stayed around the park until the whole event was over. They were still there an hour and a half later.

The way it's being framed is that we acted against Jews or Judaism but we tried to get other Jews to intervene in the situation; to calm the situation down before somebody got angry and escalated the situation which is the way that we dealt with the radical Christian group that was there.

Within 12 hours, this was all over the world. I was getting stuff from the Jerusalem Times, Breitbart that had absolutely nothing to do with what happened at that march. I was reading these headlines and it was all a fabrication.

Laurel made a Joan of Arc appearance on WGN television yesterday like she was a person who innocently showed up. No. This was not just some isolated incident. This was orchestrated to smear the Dyke March Collective. A Wider Bridge has a history of going after LGBT groups that are anti-Zionist. They're well-funded, highly coordinated and use media tools to stifle any criticism of the State of Israel. Her story was totally false. WGN asked us to appear but they only gave us a four-hour window. That's not enough time for us to get a message together when we are facing a constant onslaught.
posted by flabdablet at 9:01 AM on June 29


So we do get the organizer saying it wasn't about the flags, but instead they were making Zionist statements, and the flags had nothing to do with it.

Here are some additional resources:

One Dyke March collective member, asked by Windy City Times for a response, said the women were told to leave because the flags "made people feel unsafe," that the march was "anti-Zionist" and "pro-Palestinian."

***
Iliana Figueroa, a Dyke March Collective member, spoke to Chicagoist Sunday afternoon about the mounting criticisms on social media that Dyke March is facing in the wake of the march for the decision to ask the three people to leave. She says the Dyke March Collective is not anti-Semitic, and the decision reflected the members' desire to support pro-Palestinian participants who believed the flags symbolized Zionism.

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," she said. "So we asked the folks to please leave. We told them people in the space were feeling threatened."

***
From the same source, the official Dyke March statement regarding the event:

Yesterday, June 24, Chicago Dyke March was held in the La Villita neighborhood to express support for undocumented, refugee, and immigrant communities under threat of deportation. Sadly, our celebration of dyke, queer, and trans solidarity was partially overshadowed by our decision to ask three individuals carrying Israeli flags superimposed on rainbow flags to leave the rally.

I'm sorry, but the linked quote above about the people ejected is inconsistent with statements from other Dyke March organizers, none of whom say anything about the marchers being disruptive, but instead saying they were specifically responding to the flag as a symbol of Zionism.
posted by maxsparber at 9:16 AM on June 29 [10 favorites]


Yeah, Martinez's comment sounds exactly like someone desperately trying to spin an alibi and looking at the cop to see what's landing.
posted by Etrigan at 9:30 AM on June 29 [4 favorites]


A puzzling statement from her interview:

WCT: Others who have spoken about the incident in support of the Collective have said that they did ask the women to put away their flag because the Star of David on a Rainbow flag is pink-washing and, therefore, Zionism.

AM: I don't know which Dyke March Collective member said that. If they did, they were wrong because it just isn't part of our policy. It never has been. If that occurred, it was an error. It was a very emotional issue. To my knowledge it was the agitation, not the flag that was creating the issue.


I mean, it's a 10-person collective, and most of the quotes about the flag come from named sources. Maybe find out? Because that's the issue people have with this, and obviously the marchers were, in fact, confronted about the flag, and to just brush it off as something somebody accidentally said in the heat of discussion -- rather than the actual justification put out by the collective itself in their official statement -- is so weird to me.
posted by maxsparber at 9:35 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


One of the actual participants, Alexis Martinez (thanks for the link, latkes) doesn't agree upon that narrative at all.

That WCT article states that Alexis Martinez is one of the March organizers, so it's not surprising that her account so closely matches that of the official statement. She may have even helped write that statement herself.

BTW, there is at least one eyewitness account from a participant in the original article from WCT that lines up more with the accounts of Grauer and Anderson:
One Dyke Marcher, Ruthie Steiner, who witnessed the removal of the Jewish participants, called the decision "horrific."

"This is not what this is community is supposed to be about," she told Windy City Times. "I'm German-born. Am I pink washing by being here and supporting my community? Is every nation which does not have a clean civil-rights record and also hosts a pride parade guilty of pink washing? With all the people that so hate the LGBTQ community, for it to tear itself apart in self-hatred makes no sense at all."
posted by zombieflanders at 9:41 AM on June 29 [8 favorites]


The debate about the details of what happened doesn't change a few things in any case:

1) The statement put out by the marchers that "Zionism is an inherently white-supremacist ideology" is not only horribly technically wrong, but it does not create any room for either nuance or any actual solutions. Israel exists. Israelis are not going to return to Yemen, Iraq, or Belarus and give up their country for many, many reasons. Any solution in the region, whether two state or one state, will need to take the existence of the state of Israel into account. Reducing the situation into "Israel must be destroyed" or you are a white supremacist is horrifying. I mean, everyone on this thread has expressed the desire to see a peaceful solution and an end to the occupation. And yet, many of us are still being told that Jews cannot be part of the left if we dare imagine that Israel should exist with any government in any form, regardless of our views on any other topics.

2) The ghosts of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories aren't even being challenged in this case. It seems reasonable to a lot of people that a Wider Bridge, apparently, is an insidious tentacle of the Israeli octopus, and the three Jewish marchers (at least one of whom asked about attending in advance), were obviously part of some amazing hasbara effort masterminded by some shadowy link to the IDF to do... something... to convince Dyke marchers about ...something... also ...something... pink washing. Also, Zionists!

3) At the same time as this is happening, the head of the NRA just said today that "academic elites, political elites, and media elites. These are America’s greatest domestic threats" Jews know what this means. And the fact that progressives are rejecting Jews on one end of the spectrum and the right fringe is feeling empowered on the other is scary.
posted by blahblahblah at 9:58 AM on June 29 [21 favorites]


They were taking 'No walls from Mexico to Palestine' and they started with "No walls anywhere." They were disrupting the chants

Look, I wasn't there, so I can't say definitively what happened or what didn't either, but this accusation hurled at the 3 women who were kicked out at least reeks of bullshit given just a second of thought. This march supposedly had 1500 attendees. Yet we are supposed to believe that out of 1500 people chanting in unison it was disruptive or even barely noticeable in the slightest that 3 out of those 1500 were changing a word or two of a chant? I'm sorry, that just doesn't pass the sniff test. That's...not how sound works.

This several days after the event statement very much feels like, "Our initial narrative wasn't going the way we had anticipated, so let's go ahead and change the narrative, contradictions be damned."
posted by The Gooch at 9:58 AM on June 29 [6 favorites]


Again, all they need to do is create ambiguity regarding what actually happened.

Everyone who is already inclined to declare the Jews liars will latch on to it like a lifeline.
posted by zarq at 9:59 AM on June 29 [12 favorites]


Yeah, the whole unsupported "this was a scheme by Zionists to make the collective look bad!" claim is really disturbing to me.

Your collective members are the ones who said it was because of the flag! This didn't get picked up by news outlets in a misrepresented way! They were quoting actual members and statements from the collective!

If there was a Zionist conspiracy, I need proof of it, because the suggestion that American Jews are part of some mass effort to discredit people on behalf of Israel simply because they support the state is deeply troubling.

I am a lefty, but I have witnessed how easy it is on the left to squirm out of any discussion of antisemitism by saying, oh, no, this wasn't about Jews, it was about Zionists.
posted by maxsparber at 10:06 AM on June 29 [10 favorites]


I don’t believe there’s any conspiracy, except in the minds of the Dyke March collective.
posted by pharm at 10:11 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


This part of Alexis Martinez's statement:
I had a conversation on text message with Laurel the night before. She asked me if people would be protesting her Jewish flag. I told her "No. It's never been an issue and it shouldn't be an issue." But I also told her very clearly that we were anti-Zionist and pro- Palestinian and she needed to understand that and the nature of the event.
Is inconsistent with the Collective's own statement. They published what they purport to be the text messages in question. Assuming those are accurate, Laurel Grauer was told:
the CDM...takes a position that supports the struggle for a Palestinian state...But we do not support any form of anti Semitism. I believe have seen your Jewish Pride flag, in at least 2 marches.. I can't recall that anyone has had an issue .
Grauer has publicly stated she also believes in an independent and free Palestinian state, so it's reasonable that she would have relied on this statement to conclude that her beliefs were suitably aligned to attend the march. This statement somehow eventually turned into "Zionism is an inherently white-supremacist ideology."

And if that's actually going to be your official position, for crying out loud just say so before the march. If you think Israel (not the current Israeli government or its policies, but the state itself) should not exist, say so in big bold letters. Because I'm reading their webpage, and I see their mission statement, and nothing there tells me clearly that this is what they believe. If a march is going to take an official political position and declare that those who disagree will be removed, it owes it to everyone to make that known so people can take that into account when deciding whether to attend.

This text message also clearly indicates that at least one of the Collective's organizers fully understood the flag to be a Jewish Pride flag and not a symbol of the Israeli government.
posted by zachlipton at 10:48 AM on June 29 [5 favorites]


This was posted to Facebook on Tuesday evening. It's purportedly from a Palestinian friend of a friend of the poster named Hida Bint Zainab.

I'm not quoting any one part of it because I think it deserves to be read in its entirety without being taken out of context.
posted by zarq at 10:49 AM on June 29 [19 favorites]


The first thing I want to say is that this was never about the Jewish Pride flags.
So...the other organizers were lying when they themselves had specifically said that it was? Are they in on the conspiracy? Has a phrenologist been summoned, to examine their skulls for Hebraite defects?

As to some of the other ensuing pro-organizer op-eds...are they going to now disavow their statements that the Magen David is actually inextricable with Israel, which is why it must be effectively banned at such marches? Or, will their opinions now evolve to criticize the March organizers for having allegedly rejected such an idea?

When stories keep changing, it's hard to keep track.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:27 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]


I generally find that stories do keep changing, especially those stories that have initially been framed in such a way as to generate maximal outrage.

The old line about lies running halfway round the world before the truth has even got its boots on is more apropos than ever in our Internet-connected age.
posted by flabdablet at 11:49 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


I generally find that stories do keep changing, especially those stories that have initially been framed in such a way as to generate maximal outrage.

You do realize that the story you're railing against here is the one that hasn't changed, don't you? Or that the one that has changed is the one you're bringing into the conversation?
posted by Etrigan at 12:01 PM on June 29 [13 favorites]


Wow. Thanks for posting that, zarq. I would love to know more about Zainab (Bint Zainab?) - are they affiliated with any organization?
posted by Mchelly at 12:03 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


I came back to flag my own earlier snarky comment, but it was already rightfully deleted. But honestly, this insistence on coming back to say that all existing narratives are wrong and the only right narrative is the one that that makes the Jewish women who got kicked out look as bad as possible... well, it's really unsettling and it's making me wonder why this is happening.
posted by Ruki at 12:07 PM on June 29 [10 favorites]


Flabdablet, to clarify, you do realize that the *March organizers* have been changing their *own* story? They (and their individual constituent members) have been putting out their *own* statements. Are you calling them liars?
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:13 PM on June 29 [6 favorites]


Yet we are supposed to believe that out of 1500 people chanting in unison it was disruptive or even barely noticeable in the slightest that 3 out of those 1500 were changing a word or two of a chant?

Yeah, look. I have been a part of many, many protests, and this always happens. Sometimes people mishear, sometimes they know a different one, sometimes they think they know a better one. In any given protest march I guarantee you there are at LEAST three people changing the words and no one notices or cares unless the chant is actually awful.

EVEN IF they had changed the words to "From everywhere to Mexico, border walls have got to go", that is in NO WAY a "aggressive pro-Zionist chant", which is how it's been presented elsewhere. And that's the thing - in multiple, multiple Collective statements, they've said "the women were doing X, so people went to confront them".

Now suddenly it's "oh they started aggressively shouting pro Zionist stuff at Palestinians." How does that even pass the smell test? How would that even come up? If it had, why would that not have been the initial narrative?
posted by corb at 12:15 PM on June 29 [13 favorites]


A detail in the excerpt of the Windy City Times Martinez interview quoted by flabdablet: does she actually claim there that all the Jews at the March, making up what she appears to refer to as "the Jewish contingent", "kept agitating and being aggressive about presenting a pro-Zionist position to Palestinian women"?

Because if so (it's a bit difficult to track exactly what "they" refers to) this would also contradict the update to the initial, official March Facebook statement linked to in the OP which currently ends with
[Edited to add: We want to make clear that anti-Zionist Jewish volunteers and supporters are welcome at Dyke March and were involved in conversations with the individuals who were asked to leave. We are planning to make a longer statement in the future.]
Another sourcing detail it seems worth noting is that the Google Doc linked above which claims to be a statement from "Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago" and which was mistakenly linked as a witness account further on in the thread (thank you for acknowledging it doesn't claim to be a witness account, latkes) is as far as I can tell the first external source we heard from in this thread where the assertion was made about supposedly-Zionist-instigated disrupting of chants, as well as several other novel assertions.

I don't know where the Google Doc link initially appeared (do you remember, Exceptional_Hubris?) or how one would go about verifying that it was actually issued by someone linked in an official capacity to Jewish Voice for Peace, which from the Wikipedia entry appears to be a large international organization with an official Press Release section on its main web site; however it's interesting that the personal official statement by Stephanie Skora linked to above by byanyothername and dated Tuesday, which in its footer identifies the author as someone who "organizes actively with Jewish Voice for Peace" and in its text does claim the author actually witnessed the events and participated in the conversation with the ejected marchers, despite excoriating and enthusiastically trash-talking those marchers and A Wider Bridge does not corroborate anything about disrupted chants or the other divergent details asserted in the Google Doc page.

Rather, Skora at most implies with a conditional statement that they felt "the need to assert [their] presence and privilege" in an unspecified way and actually inverts the "Zionists were disrupting anti-Zionists and making Palestinians feel threatened" narrative which seems to have appeared more recently by essentially saying that the ejected marchers' feelings about being exposed to Palestinians present were the root problem. (I would be inclined to quote the bit where she says this but I'm paraphrasing because the language is hostile enough to produce a derail.)
posted by XMLicious at 12:18 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


(Mchelly, it should be Bint Zainab as it means daughter of Zainab. Zainab isn't the surname.)
posted by cendawanita at 12:23 PM on June 29 [3 favorites]


"appeared more recently" should be "proliferated more recently" in my comment above, just barely missed the edit window
posted by XMLicious at 12:24 PM on June 29


Wow. Thanks for posting that, zarq. I would love to know more about Zainab (Bint Zainab?) - are they affiliated with any organization?

I may have spelled her name incorrectly. It looks like it is Hida Bint Zeinab. In this context, "bint" ('daughter' in Arabic) may be similar to the Hebrew construction of "bat" (daughter of) Jewish names. A little bit of digging turned up some personal information, a possible locked down fb page (I won't link either here) and another repost by a third party with her 'byline' after the Orlando nightclub shooting.

To be honest, I feel weird linking to anything where the source is so ambiguous. But the arguments made in that facebook post seemed heartfelt and resonated with me. Thought they were worth sharing.
posted by zarq at 12:28 PM on June 29


preview fail. Thank you, cendawanita
posted by zarq at 12:29 PM on June 29


Thanks - that's what I assumed, but then realized I was assuming and went with the question instead. Also it looks like it's Hiba, Not Hida. /derail
posted by Mchelly at 1:15 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


I'm all over the place with the typos today. :( Sorry about that.
posted by zarq at 1:25 PM on June 29


One thing I just realised: the fact that gay groups are allowed to publicly represent Zionism at all has been driven by people like Laurel Grauer.

Grauer says she's been marching with her Jewish Pride flag for more than ten years. The Dyke March Collective made a big deal about the fact that Grauer is a regional director of A Wider Bridge, but that organisation was founded in 2010.

If a gay contingent has only been allowed to march in the NYC Celebrate Israel parade for five years, that demolishes the narrative about "pinkwashing". It would take conspiratorial thinking of the highest order to suppose that what Stephanie Skora calls "the Israeli state’s public relations strategy" is responsible for the visibility of gay Zionists when it evidently began at a grass-roots level, and the people actually associated with Israeli PR have been so begrudging about accepting it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:29 PM on June 29 [7 favorites]


Here's the first-person account of Ellie Otra, who was among the women expelled from the park. She says that some people had managed to have her account locked by Facebook, but she's now back online.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:21 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Some links:

An editorial from Josh Friedes, Director of Rabbinic and Synagogue Engagement for J Street.

Wendy Sue Biegeleisen, one of the founding members of Dyke March – San Diego, issued a statement.

Peter Beinart's editorial in The Forward discusses the statement released by IfNotNow Chicago regarding the incident: What ‘If Not Now’ Got Wrong About The Dyke March

The summer our rainbow flag became a red flag, by Rabbi Lisa Edwards. Dr. Edwards is Senior Rabbi at Beth Chayim Chadashim in Los Angeles.
posted by zarq at 10:11 AM on July 6 [6 favorites]


A similar controversy is going on in Canada:
Local organizations to boycott Halifax Pride festivities

The source of the controversy was last year's motion to exclude a pro-Israel group from Halifax's Pride March. This seems to be a good write-up on the AGM: The Coup at the Pride Meeting

My takeaway from these events is: it's a really bad idea to introduce external politics into community events. The nature of intersectional identities means that a lot of the people who need to be there are already vulnerable, and any official stance that impacts their other identities may be perceived as a direct and very hurtful attack. It's one thing to lay down broad rules like "no nationalist displays" or "no official law enforcement floats" but anything that can be taken as personally exclusionary risks hurting people and undermining the purpose of the event.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:17 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


I don't think the Halifax controversy is that similar at all, actually (for one, there was explicit mention of Israel by SDM); and the fact that non-LGBTQ voices attacked, silenced, and ultimately overruled members of an LGBTQ community should itself be deeply concerning.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:23 AM on July 7 [5 favorites]


Reducing Pride marches down to a largely apolitical community event strikes me as not unproblematic either. Pride is protest, Pride is political.
posted by Dysk at 4:40 AM on July 7 [6 favorites]


external politics

I don't think those are a thing. Politics is a fundamental aspect of a person's social worldview. I can't see how it could ever be "external" to the workings of any social event.

My takeaway from this whole fiasco is that reflexively ascribing dishonourable motivations to the organizers of community events that are 99.9+% peaceful and positive, on the basis of conflicting and inadequately reported accounts of a handful of interpersonal conflicts of the kind that are pretty much inevitable whenever thousands of people turn up to the same place at the same time, is a pretty effective way to reduce the number of such events that actually end up getting organized.

None of this was #fakenews in the sense of having been constructed from whole cloth for shits and giggles. But all of it has sure as hell been an example of that ancient form beloved of all kinds of news publishers since time immemorial: the beat-up.

You'd be hard pressed to find anything written about this that's actually helpful to the cause of making similar conflicts less likely to occur in future.

So much time and so many words spent trying to tag somebody as The Bad Guy. So little time spent trying to find paths toward actual understanding. It's all just really, really sad.
posted by flabdablet at 11:21 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but reducing something that Jewish users here have made a clear case was antisemitic to people trying to tag people as the bad guy, and finding that really sad, seems awfully dismissive of antisemitism.
posted by maxsparber at 11:25 AM on July 7 [14 favorites]


So much time and so many words spent trying to tag somebody as The Bad Guy.

Saying that this was happening in this case -- on either side -- says far more about you than anyone else.
posted by Etrigan at 11:54 AM on July 7 [8 favorites]


My takeaway from this whole fiasco is that reflexively ascribing dishonourable motivations to the organizers of community events

It isn't reflexive. It is a 100% valid response to reading the testimony of three people who explained quite clearly that they had been targeted and interrogated for being Jews and subsequently thrown out of a March. The organizers of the Dyke March have admitted that was what happened.

that are 99.9+% peaceful and positive,

It doesn't matter whether the Dyke March is 99% peaceful.

Antisemitism is a hate crime.

on the basis of conflicting and inadequately reported accounts

I agree that the conflicting accounts where various organizers disagreed with each other about what happened while still admitting that they targeted Jews for being Jewish is all kinds of fucked up.

is a pretty effective way to reduce the number of such events that actually end up getting organized.

That's their own fault. Let them not do antisemitic shit, and they won't be called out for it.

You'd be hard pressed to find anything written about this that's actually helpful to the cause of making similar conflicts less likely to occur in future.

But blaming victims instead of holding bigots accountable for their actions is?

You know what would have helped this not happen again in the future? An apology from the organizers of the Chicago Dyke March. A mea culpa that they know they are wrong for targeting and interrogating three Jews for being Jewish. An acknowledgement that they refused to listen to the two people they were interrogating who said they support a Palestinian state. That they refused to listen to the woman who said she is anti-Zionist. That they were so fucking ignorant that they saw a Jewish Pride flag and couldn't get past their own hatreds to recognize that Jews ≠ Israel. And that they understood that people shouldn't have their identities subjected to a litmus test in order to be allowed to prove they're somehow acceptable representatives.
posted by zarq at 12:12 PM on July 7 [18 favorites]


My takeaway from this whole fiasco is that reflexively ascribing dishonourable motivations to the organizers of community events that are 99.9+% peaceful and positive, on the basis of conflicting and inadequately reported accounts of a handful of interpersonal conflicts of the kind that are pretty much inevitable whenever thousands of people turn up to the same place at the same time, is a pretty effective way to reduce the number of such events that actually end up getting organized.

One, the accounts were not really conflicting. For the most part, the organizers' accounts were the same as those of the people asked to leave. The interpretations were different, but the actual facts reported were mostly the same. It's so tempting in cases like this to throw up your hands and say "who can know what really happened?!" but we don't have to do that in this case.

Two, this kind of framing - which says "we can't really know what happened, but this kind of shit-stirring is disruptive drama and is the real problem" is basically what happens whenever any person who is in the minority in a group talks about discrimination they've experienced, and regardless of intention, the result is not peace and positivity, but a silencing of those groups in the minority. Think about cases where women complain about sexual harassment and are dismissed as causing drama.

Basically, groups don't solve problems like this by pretending they didn't happen. They get solved when the community, especially the leaders, take a hard look at what caused the problem, and take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. It looks in this case like the organizers are more interested in defending their actions than doing that (with the caveat that I haven't really seen anything about this in the last week or so and maybe they've changed their tune? But I suspect not).
posted by lunasol at 12:17 PM on July 7 [16 favorites]


Listen, to be clear, I don't think antisemitism on the left is anything like antisemitism on the right. I don't think it is as pervasive, I don't think it is deliberate, and I don't think it represents nearly the potential harm.

I hate that more ink was spilled on this than I expect will be spilled on Sarah Palin literally tweeting "14 words" today, and I hate that people are rushing to excuse Palin, who, whatever her intentions, has not apologized and almost assuredly will not apologize, and her tweet undoubtedly was read as a dog whistle by people who would literally murder me if they thought they had permission.

BUT that does not absolve the left when they engage in antisemitic behavior. We have every right to call them on it, especially those of us who are also part of the left, and find our place in the left increasingly shaky due to unaddressed antisemitism. The left must own its antisemitism, as it must own when it is racist, or sexist, or anything else that betrays its ideals.

As to this comment: "You'd be hard pressed to find anything written about this that's actually helpful to the cause of making similar conflicts less likely to occur in future."

To be blunt, it's not my fucking job to solve antisemitism. I didn't cause it. This is your mess, non-Jews. You get to sort it out.
posted by maxsparber at 12:40 PM on July 7 [27 favorites]


Well said. Thank you, maxsparber.
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the links, zarc. This blog post describes a dilemma I've had in my own life but didn't have the words for (the pressure to ignore your own beliefs and values to fit in, "support the struggle", etc).

The other post also had a wonderful point: an intersection, by its mathematical definition, is the opposite of being aligned. It's the point where two lines cross, only to continue in different direction. Intersectionality should be about recognising those points where two identities may cross, but also recognising the divergence between allies. After all, if we were all the same, we wouldn't be allies - we would just be one group. But allies agree to come together, often for just one moment, just one fight - and to disagree at other times.
posted by jb at 12:56 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


the fact that non-LGBTQ voices attacked, silenced, and ultimately overruled members of [the Halifax] LGBTQ community should itself be deeply concerning

I hope you realise that the silencing
didn't start with the meeting; it started with the motion to exclude Size Doesn't Matter from the festival. SDM obviously doesn't represent all Halifax LGBTQ Jews, but it clearly represents some or most of them and the accusations against them were outrageous and bigoted.

I think it's a dirty shame that the Halifax AGM was used as a proxy battleground, but once the motion had been lodged it was more or less inevitable: exclusion is an intrinsically anti-democratic tactic and you can't expect people to accept it meekly. In the end both sides tried to stack the meeting, but at least SDM was acting in defense of their members' rights.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:28 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


the pressure to ignore your own beliefs and values to fit in, "support the struggle", etc

The three-way test (does this need to be said, does this need to be said by me, does this need to be said by me right now) plus attention paid to the excluded middle (absence of a display of support is not a display of absence of support, let alone a display of opposition) has always gone most of the way toward resolving that pressure for me.
posted by flabdablet at 12:01 AM on July 9


Seeking doubt in order to give the benefit of it is a great help as well.
posted by flabdablet at 12:03 AM on July 9


flabdablet - those are good things to think about. I just find it frustrating when I show up to support something I agree with (like sidewalk chalk for all), only to find myself corralled into supporting something I don't agree with (white socks with dark shoes) or have mixed feelings on (socks and sandals). /examples purposely silly. Also, I recognise that white socks are important for people with diabetes.
posted by jb at 9:32 PM on July 9


This is troubling: Award-Winning Journalist Who Broke Story of Jewish Women Barred From Chicago ‘Dyke March’ Removed From Reporting Duties
The Windy City Times — whose masthead featured Hammond as a senior writer until a week ago — now describes her as “senior account executive.”

The Algemeiner approached Hammond after a reader pointed out that her role at the Windy City Times had been abruptly switched. The reader said in an email that Hammond’s reporting had been blamed by the march organizers for the ensuing controversy, and went on to express “disgust” and “outrage” that Hammond had “been bullied and attacked” by individuals associated with the march, sometimes in an “antisemitic” manner.

Tracy Baim — the publisher and executive editor of the Windy City Times — told The Algemeiner she could not discuss the specific charges around Hammond.

“I cannot comment on our people, but know that we stand by our reporting on our stories,” Baim said by telephone from Chicago.

Pressed on whether she stood by Hammond’s reporting of the Dyke March controversy specifically, Baim answered affirmatively. “I was the one who edited the story,” she added. Asked why Hammond had not filed a byline for the paper since June 28, Baim had no comment.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:10 AM on July 12 [4 favorites]


Ha'aretz:
Hammond confirmed that she is no longer reporting for the paper, but declined to say whether she was moved because of her coverage of the Dyke March. She said the shift is not temporary, and that she is looking for editorial work elsewhere.

“Right now I’m in the sales department,” she told JTA Monday. “I’m still a part of the company, and it’s my only source of income. To keep what job I have, I can’t comment on it. As an employee of Windy City Times who has loved the company and loved her role in the company for the past four years, I have to respect my publisher’s decision.”

posted by zarq at 9:37 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]


Wow, this latest development is super not cool. With all due respect, I'd really appreciate if the "both side-ism" could be dropped at this point. This situation has become really nasty, with someone's job at stake, and the whole "but but but" thing is tiresome.
posted by Ruki at 6:17 PM on July 12 [7 favorites]


Have been reading her story archive. Gretchen Rachel Hammond is a trans activist whose reporting has covered many stories related to Chicago's trans community, such as this. The Windy City Times is benching a reporter who was doing extremely important work, publishing stories that might not otherwise have been covered. Or at the very least, given proper context. She's passionate about her work, and it shows.

She's also a convert to Reform Judaism. Her personal story is worth reading, as is her assessment of the Israeli LGBTQ+'s community's ongoing fight for equality.

We don't know what happened. This is terrible in every way. But I sincerely hope this isn't the result of pressure by Dyke March organizers. Especially since that event is, as they said, a "celebration of dyke, queer, and trans solidarity," A reporter who covers trans issues should be protected and allowed to work for the good of everyone -- especially an entire community of people who are being marginalized in our culture and subjected to hate crimes -- rather than silencing her.
posted by zarq at 8:27 AM on July 13 [11 favorites]


With all due respect, I'd really appreciate if the "both side-ism" could be dropped at this point.

With respect, I'd really appreciate if taking sides could be dropped at this point.

Absent clear evidence to the contrary, this appears to me to be mainly a story about individuals misunderstanding each other and making unwarranted assumptions about each other's motivations. For any of us here to rush to pass moral judgement on anybody involved there does nobody a service.

And to be clear about where my request to see an end to sides-taking comes from, I make it as one who firmly believes that antisemitism is a morally unacceptable position that it is incumbent upon every one of us to self-examine for, and take advice from other people on, and do our best to counter and eliminate if we find it within us.

Because it seems to me that antisemitism, anti-LGBTQI prejudice, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, fat shaming and so forth all work in essentially the same way: they start by dividing the world into an Us and a Them, and then taking sides against Them for the sake of expressing solidarity with the rest of Us. I see people do this all the fucking time. It makes me very very sad because I am firmly convinced that the world isn't actually divided like that, and that the whole concept of "sides" is broken and stupid.

I'm with the Russian:
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
posted by flabdablet at 10:25 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Absent clear evidence to the contrary, this appears to me to be mainly a story about individuals misunderstanding each other and making unwarranted assumptions about each other's motivations. For any of us here to rush to pass moral judgement on anybody involved there does nobody a service.

We have a pretty damn clear idea of what happened. from multiple sources. In spite of desperate attempts at obfuscation on the part of the CDM. It's worth noting that at no point has CDM actually come forward and offered any attempt at reconciliation or mediation; instead they've repeatedly attacked their critics and played the victim card. this is not te attributes of an organization that made an honest mistake.

With all due respect, it appears to me your main goal here is to try to shift blame away from CDM and their performance of an egregious act of antisemetism. The next move shouldn't be to throw up one's hands and say "Well gosh, nobody knows anything." It should be demanding an accounting on the part of CDM and some serious self-reflection on the part of the Left.
posted by happyroach at 12:08 AM on July 14 [14 favorites]


Absent clear evidence to the contrary, this appears to me to be mainly a story about individuals misunderstanding each other and making unwarranted assumptions about each other's motivations

"One side" was thrown out of a rally; "one side" has been cyberbullied; "one side" has had their employment threatened. Tell me, what further understanding on their part is necessary, and how will it lead to these things being reversed?
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:10 AM on July 14 [8 favorites]


Because it seems to me that antisemitism, anti-LGBTQI prejudice, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, fat shaming and so forth all work in essentially the same way: they start by dividing the world into an Us and a Them, and then taking sides against Them for the sake of expressing solidarity with the rest of Us.

Yeah, no. Taking a side against an -ism is just not comparable to siding with one, against a marginalised group. We do not defeat antisemitism by refusing to "take sides" against antisemites.

The fact that your position requires you to constantly clarify that you hate antisemitism, no really! is rather telling, here.
posted by Dysk at 12:17 AM on July 14 [8 favorites]


"One side" was thrown out of a rally;

Three people were asked to leave, not thrown out.

"one side" has been cyberbullied

There has been more than enough cyberbullying to go around for anybody who dares stick their head above the parapet and take a position on this story. It's been by no means one-sided.

"one side" has had their employment threatened.

One reporter has been internally redeployed for undisclosed reasons.

Tell me, what further understanding on their part is necessary

On whose part, specifically?

how will it lead to these things being reversed?

It might not. What it might do is help people learn how to take each other's concerns a little more seriously in order to avoid a very minor interpersonal disagreement being beaten up into a worldwide hatefest and causing far, far more damage to more people than the original altercation ever could have done.
posted by flabdablet at 12:56 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


We do not defeat antisemitism by refusing to "take sides" against antisemites.

Nor do we defeat it by accusing people of antisemitism who are not actually in any way antisemitic.

your position requires you to constantly clarify that you hate antisemitism, no really! is rather telling, here.

As is your clear and gratuitously sarcastic implication that I am, in fact, antisemitic.
posted by flabdablet at 12:59 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Your position is antisemitic, yes. Three people are asked to leave a rally after a conversation arising from their being subjected to a purity test on account of carrying a Jewish pride flag. Most accounts from both sides agree substantially on what happened, with the exception of some from Dyke March representatives, well after the fact, contradicting earlier statements by the same group, which substantially concurred with victim and eyewitness accounts. This isn't really that complicated, despite efforts to muddy the waters. To deny that this is clear antisemitism is indeed antisemitic.
posted by Dysk at 1:14 AM on July 14 [7 favorites]


flabdablet: Whether or not these people see themselves as antisemitic is irrelevant. Their actions were antisemitic & they ought to be called out on them.

This is anti-racism 101 level stuff: Just because you’re a pure person with good intentions doesn’t automatically make your actions right.

What about this is so hard to understand or accept?

The doubling down on refusing to see or understand this by so many seems to be yet another example of the reflex blindness that so many on the left seem to have to their own antisemitism. Just watching people falling back on the same excuses that they know would get called out immediately if the subject was skin colour ( “I have friends who are X. I can’t be X-ist!” “There are X people who agree with me on thing Y, so saying thing Y can’t be X-ist” etc etc etc ) is kind of vertigo inducing. Can these people not hear what they sound like?
posted by pharm at 2:06 AM on July 14 [11 favorites]


Can these people not hear what they sound like?

Apparently not.

--

It's abstractly fascinating to watch conversations like this. Or it would be if it wasn't so personal. The double standard revealed against Jews is both fascinating to watch and simultaneously chilling. And sadly familiar

You see, in left wing circles, other minority groups are generally allowed to define bias, hate speech and racism against them. Not always, but we do try our best. Because who knows better than members of a minority group, through their own direct experiences, what racism and sexism and various -phobia's which target them are? So, on the Left, minorities rightfully get to point out when they're being targeted and mistreated, for the most part without being dismissed or having racist or sexist stereotypes thrown at them. In Left wing circles, African-Americans can thankfully point out the injustices of racism without having it implied that they really deserve what was done to them because hey, an African-American did something wrong once. As a general rule, LGBQ people are able to define homophobia without being subject to interrogations about their identities. On the Left, Muslims are able to define Islamophobia without being interrogated about it. Women are able to define and talk about sexism. Yes, exceptions exist, but we make an effort to move beyond knee-jerk prejudices. And internal disagreements aren't usually seized upon as left-wing talking points against an entire group.

This is the first step in supporting minorities.

We rightfully accept minorities' understanding of what is being done to them and leave that awful pit of racism and sexism and hate to the Right. To the actual racists. And sexists. And Islamophobes. And homophobes. Etc, etc

Not when it comes to Jews, though. 'Cause Jews deserve special treatment because "Israel."

People literally use antisemitic tropes to justify their own antisemitism against us. Think about that for a moment.

Actually, think about it a whole lot, please. Think about what it means when someone does that.

At best, we're all cast as deceptive, greedy liars. At worst, we're murdering non-Jews for not being Jews. Instances of actual antisemitism against us get dismissed as something we deserve.

When Jews on Metafilter call out something as antisemitic, give us the benefit of the doubt, please. If Jews disagree, that's fine. We usually do. But chances are good that we're at least speaking from experience, rather than ignorance.

I have never understood why otherwise liberal and Left wing non-Jews in the world at large feel so entitled to tell us that we're wrong when we point out antisemitism. That we're lying or being deceptive. That every act of defending ourselves is some sort of defense of Israel. And why they double down when we explain, at length. They probably wouldn't dream of acting that way toward another minority group, either.

There are first person accounts from the people who were banned, explaining what happened. It is wrong to ignore them. Offensive to simply dismiss them as lies without addressing their content. If you are doing this, it behooves you to ask yourself why. Ask yourself if you would casually dismiss a victim of sexism or racism so easily.

If you are not Jewish, please don't lecture us regarding what antisemitism really is. As if we are incapable of recognizing it.

Gentilesplaining is not required.
posted by zarq at 5:04 AM on July 14 [18 favorites]


I'm with the Russian

On top of the issues several of us have with your arguments in this thread, maybe quoting a guy whose own discussions of Jews can be considered controversial and problematic isn't the way to go in this thread?
posted by zombieflanders at 5:36 AM on July 14 [3 favorites]


Jews deserve special treatment because "Israel."

I do not agree at all that anything Israel does could possibly justify insulting, belittling, dismissing, threatening or in any other way harming or wishing harm upon a Jew for no reason other than that they are Jewish.

I have never understood why otherwise liberal and Left wing non-Jews in the world at large feel so entitled to tell us that we're wrong when we point out antisemitism. That we're lying or being deceptive.

If you give me half a chance to outline a position without flagging it all to hell and gone, I am willing to try to help you understand why this particular liberal and left wing non-Jew feels entitled to opine that there is reasonable doubt about antisemitism having been the motivation for asking the three women concerned to leave, and engage in reasoned and respectful discussion that might well give both of us the chance to modify the other's thinking.

Gentilesplaining is not required.

If you're not interested in engaging with non-Jewish opinion, or even such Jewish opinion as contradicts the dominant antisemitism narrative, then there is nothing more to be said.
posted by flabdablet at 5:39 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Three people were asked to leave, not thrown out.

Gotta say, that looks like some damn fine hair-splitting from over here.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:43 AM on July 14 [9 favorites]


If you give me half a chance to outline a position without flagging it all to hell and gone, I am willing to try to help you understand why this particular liberal and left wing non-Jew feels entitled to opine that there is reasonable doubt about antisemitism having been the motivation for asking the three women concerned to leave, and engage in reasoned and respectful discussion that might well give both of us the chance to modify the other's thinking.

You feel fucking entitled to opine? People have been engaging in reasoned and respectful discussion with you this entire time, in a discussion where you quite clearly want everybody else to modify their thinking while also clearly not wanting to modify yours. I mean, so far in this thread, you've erroneously claimed that the women were there on behalf of AWB despite neither side ever claiming that, mischaracterized at least one other commentor's definition of anti-Semitism, and tried to tie the Star of David to Israel in the face of several Jewish commentors (correctly) pointing out the centuries of pre-Israel history that tie it to Judaism itself. And on top of all that, you still have the gall keep on insisting that it's really zarq and others are the ones arguing in bad faith. At this point maybe you should't feel so entitled to keep on pulling this crap.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:58 AM on July 14 [11 favorites]


I've seen people thrown out of things. What happens there is that "security" thugs wearing black T shirts and laminated cards on lanyards grab the people concerned and physically remove them. That's what "thrown out" means to me.

I understand and accept that other people might reasonably use "thrown out" in a broader sense that includes being asked to leave by an organizer. It looks a bit less reasonable if the people concerned did not, in fact, subsequently leave.

When describing events that are potentially inflammatory, choosing rhetoric that carries a greater weight of implied violence than the events themselves justify simply serves to cheapen and minimize the experiences of others who actually have been physically thrown out of a thing.
posted by flabdablet at 6:00 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I am willing to try to help you understand why this particular liberal and left wing non-Jew feels entitled to opine that there is reasonable doubt about antisemitism having been the motivation for asking the three women concerned to leave, and engage in reasoned and respectful discussion that might well give both of us the chance to modify the other's thinking.

For about the fifth time: Overt antisemitism does not need to be the motivation for an act to *be* antisemitic. Good intentions are *not* enough.

Maybe I need to post the Jay Smooth video?

(Once again however, the flat refusal of the organisers to actually *listen* to any of these criticisms puts them one step beyond the 'inadvertently racist' category. Not necessarily into the 'explicitly racist in thought and deed' category but definitely well inside the 'has been told, refuses to listen' one. Being in this category suggests that, whilst you might not be deliberately acting against group X, you have no interest in actually listening to them when they have complaints about your behaviour because their voices don’t matter to you.)
posted by pharm at 6:00 AM on July 14 [5 favorites]


"thrown out", eh? um actually they weren't thrown out because they followed the orders to leave, so there was no need to literally physically pick them up and toss them out

check and mate, better luck next time
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:27 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


That's what "thrown out" means to me.

Imposing your definitions on everyone else isn't working as well as you think it is.
posted by Etrigan at 6:44 AM on July 14 [3 favorites]


If you give me half a chance to outline a position without flagging it all to hell and gone, I am willing to try to help you understand why this particular liberal and left wing non-Jew feels entitled to opine that there is reasonable doubt about antisemitism

This reads like parody, it's such a flip-the-script move. It is not the job of outgroup allies to educate the marginalised group about how they are mistreated. It is literally the other way round. Like, I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry at this rhetorical maneuver.
posted by Dysk at 6:59 AM on July 14 [4 favorites]


Overt antisemitism does not need to be the motivation for an act to *be* antisemitic.

There's a principle there that seems worthy of exploration to me.

I'm a fat man. Therefore I have frequently been and continue to be the target of assorted kinds of fatshaming. That's just how it is to be obese in a world where obesity is widely held to be evidence of some kind of moral failing.

However, if I sit on an antique chair and the chair breaks (which has happened), and the owner of the chair is angry about that and points out that I should have known that I was too heavy for that chair and demands that I pay to have it repaired (which they did), do I automatically get to dismiss them as a fatshamer and complain about them on that basis to all my fat friends and anybody else who will listen purely because I do in fact now feel shame for having broken their irreplaceable chair?

No, I do not. Simply having had to deal with fatshaming for my whole life, and therefore having become sensitized to fatshaming in many and varied forms, does not give me licence to throw my considerable weight around and then write off anybody I cause injury by doing so as morally reprehensible and therefore not worth paying attention to.

Good intentions are *not* enough.

There are many kinds of fat-shaming that proceed from the very best of intentions. I've lost count of the number of times I've had the medical risks associated with obesity thinsplained to me by people who clearly really do have my best interests at heart but have no fucking clue what chronic obesity is actually like to live with. And there are always going to be people who take it upon themselves to shame me into "taking better care of myself", as if they were the first people ever to have realized that oh my goodness this must be all I'd been needing to hear all these years.

And all that shit should stop. It doesn't help, and I'll call people on it when they do it. Fatshaming is bullshit, and I agree that good intentions don't in and of themselves make it better.

But I cannot and will not automatically write off every person who complains about me to my face, even if the result of their complaint is that I do, in fact, experience shame. The simple fact of my having experienced shame as a result of something somebody else has said to me or about me does not automatically make that person a fatshamer or mark their actions as fatshaming.

They might not be attacking me because I'm fat. They might be attacking me because I broke their chair.

Simply being fat does not and should not give me a right to break other people's chairs. If I were actually justified in writing off as a contemptible fatshamer every person whose remarks trigger body shame, that would mean that I did have such a right.

So no, good intentions are not enough. But the motivation for acts that cause distress to frequently-attacked people has to be given as much consideration as the effects of those acts. If it's not, we all just descend into something very like the fictional oppression competition so beloved of alt-right propagandists every time some bit of genuine bastardry genuinely calls for unequivocal condemnation.


they weren't thrown out because they followed the orders to leave

That's disputed.


Imposing your definitions on everyone else isn't working as well as you think it is.

There's plenty of talking-past to go around.
posted by flabdablet at 7:05 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


There isn't so much disagreement over what happened as to throw any doubt on this. The disagreement seems to be one of motivations, and that seems to boil down to a rather useless question of whether the act was motivated by antisemitism; my answer, as always, is that I don't give a shit about motivations.

There is also a disagreement about whether Jews get to define what is antisemitism, and that's not a debate I'm willing to entertain.
posted by maxsparber at 7:05 AM on July 14 [3 favorites]


That's disputed.

OMG NO IT'S NOT
posted by zombieflanders at 7:07 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


my answer, as always, is that I don't give a shit about motivations.

I have enormous difficulty understanding how that could possibly be a feasible principle by which to live.
posted by flabdablet at 7:09 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


OMG NO IT'S NOT

There are links upthread to accounts that dispute it. Therefore, it's disputed.
posted by flabdablet at 7:10 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I don't give a shit about motivations

Seriously, I'm completely boggled by that. How is it not an attempt to shoehorn psychology and sociology into the Procrustean bed of behaviorism?
posted by flabdablet at 7:14 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Dude, this is the second time in as many weeks you've tried to filibuster, talk over, or otherwise throw your weight around against commentors speaking from personal experience about harassment and/or bigotry. That you're coming into this thread and rules-lawyering the concept of "thrown out" because you've seen what it's really like to be thrown out, and trying to shoehorn in a completely different concept is both the height of hypocrisy and really fucking gross.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:14 AM on July 14 [10 favorites]


There are links upthread to accounts that dispute it. Therefore, it's disputed.


Yeah, if you want to lend credence to after-the-fact arse-covering over the eyewitness accounts from immediately after, from both sides of the argument and bystanders, that all broadly agree. You might as well claim that the earth being round is disputed.

And the women in question broke no chairs. They brought a Jewish pride flag to a dyke march. To imply the two are comparable is antisemitic in itself, as it is to imply that there might be negative externalities to Jewishness in the abstract.
posted by Dysk at 7:15 AM on July 14 [9 favorites]


I have enormous difficulty understanding how that could possibly be a feasible principle by which to live.

Sounds like you could really stand to read more about the experience of oppressed people, instread of talking over them and denying their experience. Intention never matters. We can never even know for sure what the intention was. All we know, all we can react to, all we can discuss, and all we can make decisions on was what was done, not what was hypothetically meant.

And this is 101 stuff, and it's infuriating that the group it still isn't applied to is the Jews.
posted by maxsparber at 7:19 AM on July 14 [5 favorites]


[Fuck's sake, flabdablet, I don't know why you keep digging in so hard in this thread but it's a problem and you need to super duper stop, period, yesterday. Whatever your intent, whatever your motivation, you are coming off very badly in here and dragging out and creating a bunch of extra friction in an already difficult conversation for no apparent good reason.]
posted by cortex at 7:23 AM on July 14 [20 favorites]


Will do. Thanks for the heads-up.
posted by flabdablet at 7:29 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I almost want to make a Meta about this thread as an example about how Jews can be treated when we talk about antisemitism. I'm not going to, because we just got maxsparber back after that shitshow of the last Meta on this, plus I don't want to put that stress on the moderators (who, by the way, thank you), and I don't want to put that stress on me and others. That calling out blatant antisemitism was described as "taking sides" is jaw-dropping, as in my jaw literally dropped when I read it.
posted by Ruki at 12:05 PM on July 14 [16 favorites]


Ari Feldman: Chicago Dyke March Tweets ‘Zio Tears’ — An Anti-Semitic Dog Whistle
Leaders of the Chicago Dyke March used “Zio tears” an anti-Semitic epithet popularized by white supremeacist David Duke on Twitter last night. The tweet was a response to an article reporting that the Jewish transgender reporter who covered the Chicago Dyke March for the LGBT newspaper Windy City Times had been involuntarily relieved of reporting duties.

“Zio tears replenish my electrolytes!” the tweet read.
So...still any "reasonable doubts" about this mess?
posted by zombieflanders at 3:14 PM on July 14 [6 favorites]




Per John-Paul Pagano on Twitter, they deleted the tweet hours later and tweeted the following about an hour ago:

"Sorry y'all! Definitely didn't know the violent history of the term. We meant Zionist/white tears replenish our electrolytes 😭"
posted by zarq at 3:18 PM on July 14


Seriously?!
posted by bq at 3:20 PM on July 14


Oh, well, if they were just mocking the criticisms of a massive number of American Jews by saying they're all zionists and the pain they caused is delightful to them, but they accidentally used a neo-Nazi epithet, I guess they must be engaging with this in good faith.
posted by maxsparber at 3:21 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Ha'aretz:
The journalist who was relieved of her reporting duties after breaking a story about Jewish Gay Pride flags being banned from the Chicago Dyke March last month was demoted following pressure from the march’s organizers, claims a close friend who was with the reporter at the march.

Some two-and-a-half weeks after her scoop, Gretchen Rachel Hammond was relieved of her journalistic duties at the paper and moved to a full-time job on its sales desk, she said. She also says she is barred from discussing the issue.

Miriam Churchill – a friend who accompanied Hammond to the Chicago Dyke March – recounted to Haaretz that as they prepared to leave the Piotrowski Park event at 4:30 P.M. on June 24, Hammond received a call from her boss, Windy City Times publisher Tracy Baim.

Three women waving Jewish Gay Pride flags – rainbow flags emblazoned with the Star of David – had apparently been kicked out of the march, Baim told Hammond. The reporter then located the women, interviewed them and published her article.

It was Baim who later demoted Hammond to another position on the LGBT weekly newspaper.

...

Baim told Haaretz that following an avalanche of attacks in which she was personally accused of harboring “pro-Zionist, anti-people of color” views, “it was my directive not to engage with anybody. I encouraged people to stay off social media.”

Baim added “there was no political pressure by anybody, no outside pressure” to punish Hammond, saying the demotion “was in no way a response to anything that came in from outside.”

posted by zarq at 3:22 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Apparently erasing black and other POC Zionists with the phrase "white tears" in their apology didn't seem to be a problem to them.
posted by maxsparber at 3:27 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


The journalist who was relieved of her reporting duties after breaking a story about Jewish Gay Pride flags being banned from the Chicago Dyke March last month was demoted following pressure from the march’s organizers

This is so fucking wrong and vile and reprehensible. Fuck the antisemitic CDM shitbirds right in the ear.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:46 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


So...still any "reasonable doubts" about this mess?

Each time I glance at Recent Activity, I dread seeing someone here try to defend the use of an antisemitic slur as an "accident."
posted by zarq at 3:48 PM on July 14 [12 favorites]


Even if you do it by accident, you back the fuck off and stop tweeting until you can craft a genuine mea maxima culpa, not toss out a cutesy poo response that communicates that you don't actually give a shit.
posted by maxsparber at 3:55 PM on July 14 [9 favorites]


Yumpin' yiminy, what a bunch of anti-Semites.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:58 PM on July 14


Yair Rosenberg / Tablet: Chicago Dyke March Drops Pretense, Deploys Anti-Semitic Term Popularized by Neo-Nazis. "After expelling Jews carrying Jewish pride flags at their parade, the far-left group claimed they were merely anti-Zionist. Now they’re quoting David Duke."

The piece ends by noting:
After reporters began inquiring about the tweet, the Dyke March attempted to hide the evidence by deleting it.

While this episode is disturbing, it is also clarifying. People who kick Jews out of their spaces for displaying Jewish symbols, then deploy neo-Nazi terms to defend their conduct are not “anti-Zionist.” They are “anti-Semitic.” Progressives and all people of good will should treat them as such.

posted by zarq at 4:12 PM on July 14 [9 favorites]


I have no words. None.
posted by sciatrix at 4:35 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]




Apparently erasing black and other POC Zionists with the phrase "white tears" in their apology didn't seem to be a problem to them.

I guess they love those Iranian tears, too.

I'm baffled at CDM's outrage in one of their Tweets (in the linked Tablet article): "Wow, trying to compare a group of queer people of color to the KKK, so fucked up. "

YOU LITERALLY QUOTED DAVID DUKE! So fucked up.
posted by Ruki at 5:12 PM on July 14 [12 favorites]


I think between this and the existence of TERFs I think I've grown tired of 'radical' leftist movements. I'm of the opinion that intersectionality is the most important thing to come out of leftist thought in the last 30 years or so - the idea that all these forms of oppression we're fighting are self-reinforcing, and that we're all participating in oppression on some level without realising it, is profound. It cleanly explains how the civil rights movement and the LGBT movement separately managed to come so far so quickly and why those gains seemed to be so uneven. It flips the script on how progressive movements need to be built (focused, but collaborative, with a strong drive towards diversity) and what kind of leaders progressive movements need (specifically, nimble-minded rather than tough-minded).

Radical movements, I'm coming to believe, are the progressive version of 'fuck you, I've got mine'.
posted by Merus at 8:03 AM on July 16 [8 favorites]


Their Facebook page Retweeted an image that has a watermark that says @nazieioon on it.
posted by maxsparber at 9:37 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


Political fractiousness is old news, as is anti-Semitism, as is "love me I'm a liberal radical", as is tripling down as part of cognitive dissonance.

Still: pretty fucking baffling, the speed and extent to which this has escalated.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:45 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


Their Facebook page Retweeted an image that has a watermark that says @nazieioon on it.

Slight correction - it was their Instagram feed where they shared this, not Facebook, but obviously the overall point still stands.

Hopefully, the CDM straight up unapologetically sharing Nazi propaganda will close the door on the "Well, you know, I suppose the truth is somewhere in the middle" murmuring some have been doing about this topic.
posted by The Gooch at 10:30 AM on July 16 [6 favorites]


That's @naziejoon, not @nazieioon.
posted by zarq at 1:43 PM on July 16


That explains why I couldn't find it. Here's the source. Seems to be the Instagram account of someone who is, or at least supports, a lot of social justice causes, especially those pertaining to people of color and Muslims.

I'm glad to see it is not a Nazi account, but I do think it is shitty for the Dyke March to grab someone's image like this. It feels like they are pitting Arabs and people of color against the Jewish community, and that's not something they really get to do.
posted by maxsparber at 2:42 PM on July 16 [3 favorites]


We don't actually know why the owner of the @nazly account calls themselves "Naziejoon", but "Nazly" is a not-uncommon Persian name (I think) and "Nazie Joon" (beloved Nazie?) is a popular song.

That being said, we live in a world where racists use deniable microaggressions like the notorious ((())) brackets to taunt their victims. Nazly's account is in English and I'm sure they know how people will perceive it; more importantly, CDM chose a picture with that prominent watermark, and they surely knew how it would be perceived. CDM is unquestionably trying to be offensive, and the only question is whether they were really trying to work a microaggression into their offense. In that context it doesn't actually matter whether it was deliberate: they need to apologise.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:47 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Nazie appears to be her nickname, but regardless, it certainly demonstrates that the CDM believes Israel is an illegitimate state. They don't want a two state solution, they want Israel destroyed. I'm a progressive bisexual US Jew but I could never personally feel comfortable at CDM. That's such a shitty hardline purity test. And it's a bad look when it becomes plausible that someone's nickname would lead people to genuinely believe that they were using a neonazi meme. I mean, once you quote David fucking Duke, it's not outside the realm of possibility.
posted by Ruki at 6:53 PM on July 16 [7 favorites]


The uncertainty is part of the aggression.

Look, people in India and elsewhere have been using swastikas for literally thousands of years and I have absolutely zero problem with this in its own cultural context; it's not their fault the Nazis adopted it. But if someone's talking about Jews or Israel and they're dropping little 卐 signs into their signature, I'm not going to assume that it's because they're a devout Hindu.

The people sharing the "@nazi..." images know how they'll be received and are relying on plausible deniability to shield them from any consequences. Jews and their allies are meant to think that they're under attack, but feel so uncertain that they're unable to react. It's gaslighting, and it's further evidence that the CDM are bullies.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:56 PM on July 16 [3 favorites]


Flabdablet, granted, but what about the case at hand, where someone reposts an anti-Israel image with a handle beginning "@nazi..." written very prominently across it? How can I tell if they're being a complete dick, or are just oblivious?

Leaving the artist out of it, my position is that there are like a zillion anti-Israel images out there, but CDM chose the ambiguous one that makes people wonder if they're being attacked. In the absence of a big mea culpa I regard the ambiguity as an assault in itself, because it creates the same effect as a frank insult while making it hard for the victim to respond.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:30 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


For a fucking dyke march it's deploying some pretty base misogyny in service of attacking Israel, too. There is absolutely nothing about this that makes them look anything but despicable.
posted by Dysk at 1:40 AM on July 17 [9 favorites]


[A couple deleted. Flabdablet, last warning: leave this thread alone completely.]
posted by taz at 6:34 AM on July 17 [6 favorites]


I'm like 90 percent certain at this point that CDM intentionally used @naziejoon's images because of the name, knowing that people would react to the first four letters, so they could say "ACTUALLY..." and high-five each other about how they totally got people and that'll shut them up.
posted by Etrigan at 6:35 AM on July 17 [8 favorites]


In general, things which look exactly like furtive below-the-belt attempted strikes against minorities should be responded to in the same way "accidentally" flipping someone off would be: zero tolerance, immediate and stern condemnation, and expectation of openly-expressed genuine remorse, and hence no adult "accidentally" flips others off repeatedly. And CDM is well beyond that by now: treating them as potentially oblivious would be like treating someone who has flipped you off half a dozen times in a row without apologizing as oblivious.
posted by XMLicious at 6:39 AM on July 17 [7 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out CDM's game plan here- assuming it's something more than blindly and stupidly reacting.

My guess is there's people in the leadership who are virulently antisemitic, and they're hoping that increasing tensions and drawing battle lines- all while not officially declaring themselves as antisemitic- will increase their influence? Maybe they're hoping for a coalition of the antisemitic Left?
posted by happyroach at 11:05 AM on July 17


I'm trying to figure out CDM's game plan here- assuming it's something more than blindly and stupidly reacting.

Good grief, who on earth knows? Anti-semites? Damaged youngsters? Super-egos rampaging around internet echo-chambers? All of the above?

It's been said that all politics is local and given the unexplained suspension of Hammond there may be stuff going down in Chicago that we just don't know about and probably never will. Then there's all the ugly politicking around the Jewish LGBTQ community, which is also completely indefensible but just might add some context. But right now I'm thinking this has turned into 4chan with added intersectionality.

Beware the True Believers, as my husband is fond of saying.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 12:50 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


I don't think they have to be virulently anti-semitic - they may just be virulently anti-Zionist enough to decide that being called anti-semitic is either a reasonably acceptable consequence or even a badge of honor -- don't forget that one of the main anti-Zionist talking points on the Left is that Jews and Jewish organizations routinely and categorically attack even the mildest criticism of Israel as anti-semitic as a cynical way to shut down debate. So when someone Jewish says something is anti-semitic, it de facto doesn't count when Israel is involved. So there's no need to be careful anymore - if anything, being called anti-semitic just proves your anti-Israel bona fides.

Apologies if this is a derail, but I keep being reminded of this tweet from the controversy over Steven Salaita - and how some people on the Left used it to defend him from charges of anti-semitism -- that clearly he didn't mean it, he was just signalling that he was against the [Zionist] Man, who would smear him with it. It wasn't "true" anti-semitism.

Jews are a tiny minority. Even in a huge left-leaning historically Jewish-friendly city like Chicago you're still talking about 4-6% of the population. You can't hear people speaking up if they're not there or their voices are overwhelmingly outnumbered. I'd like to think that thanks to incidents like this, people are starting to speak up with us more. But in light of the firing - if it does turn out to be CDM-motivated - I'm just not sure.
posted by Mchelly at 1:28 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


(To be clear, I absolutely consider that to still be anti-semitic. But I do think there are people who are trying to be well-meaning and are just being viciously dumb about it rather than actively acting out of intentional discrimination against or hatred for Jews - that this may be a case for condemnation and education rather than condemnation and throwing your hands up)
posted by Mchelly at 1:48 PM on July 17


I'd be delighted if they were open to this being a moment for mutual reflection and education.

Instead, the Dyke March has repeatedly doubled down on its behavior and either dismissed or actively silenced every single critic. That's when it steps over the line from "innocent mistake" to "okay, I have to just assume antisemitism."
posted by maxsparber at 1:52 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Something which appears to me to be particularly prominent in American culture, but by no means exclusive to it, is the fantasy of righteous and unrestrained violence and opposition against a superlatively evil enemy to whom no quarter need be given. Our films and other media so frequently indulge in depicting this. The enthusiasm for the idea of torturing enemies of the state during the last couple of decades is another example.

The idea of a shadowy, universal conspiracy dedicated to malevolent harm is a particular species of this fantasy that seems especially workable as the fulcrum of an easily-perpetuated propaganda theme. So this leftist "anti-Zionist" anti-Semitic trend that revels in combating a supposed "Zionist conspiracy" behind every event is, I would think, an instance of this fantasy, the way the historical Nazis had their "Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy" and Dolchstoßlegende and other conspiracy theories that let anyone with a nagging conscience rationalize away murderous misanthropy as having something to do with defending Germany.
posted by XMLicious at 10:30 AM on July 18 [4 favorites]


Chicago Slutwalk posted to Twitter support for the Dyke March and said they will ban Zionist symbols — presumably the flag — from their walk. I'd link to it, but they blocked me when I articulated the same things I have said in this thread.
posted by maxsparber at 1:03 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


The tweet thread is here.

I don't understand how they can say "we aren't here for the term "Zio"" and "We still stand behind @DykeMarchChi's decision to remove the Zionist contingent from their event, & we won't allow Zionist displays at ours" in the same breath. Like it's okay to use overt antisemitic words as long as you apologize.
posted by Ruki at 4:04 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


That's... quite extraordinary. They're basically saying that they acknowledge that the CDM leadership is antisemitic, but they don't see any reason to think that the CDM acted prejudicially. The parallels with people justifying police violence and so forth are almost offensively obvious.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:11 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Like it's okay to use overt antisemitic words as long as you apologize.

They pretty much said that in subsequent tweets.

"We know language gets complicated, & we believe @DykeMarchChi didn't know the history of the term.
They've since removed it & apologized♥️🖤
"

When asked: "Are you gonna forgive everyone who uses racial slurs from now on to huh?"

SlutWalk Chicago‏ @slutwalkchi responded:
"when people genuinely apologize and correct their behavior, it's important to allow that growth, if it seems sincere."
--
Of course, the Dyke March hasn't corrected its behavior at all. All they've done is excuse themselves. They haven't apologized to Gretchen Rachel Hammond or asked their followers to stop harassing her. They haven't actually apologized for anything other than claiming they made a "mistake" by using an ugly slur to refer to Jews.

If they had used virtually any other slur targeting women or a racial minority, I doubt SlutWalk would be so quick to forgive them. But hey, Jews are apparently fair targets.

Speaking as a Jew, it's good to know who the anti-semites are. Which groups excuse anti-semitic behavior and those who rationalize and provide justifications for hate speech used against us. Those who hem and haw and says, "let's look at both sides" or "we don't know what really happened" and flat-out call Jews liars (and worse) when someone does something anti-semitic to us.

It's profoundly depressing. But good to know.

--

Back in 2009, Foreign Policy looked at the anti-globalism movement and noted that the far left and far right were often dipping into disturbing, anti-semitic conspiracy theories to make their points.

Nothing has changed in the interim.
posted by zarq at 9:44 AM on July 19 [5 favorites]


Given per Hammond that some of the phone calls they sent at her at her job included the K-word, and told her she was a traitor to the community, I have zero faith they didn't know exactly the slur they were using, and I want to burn the world for being so relentlessly terrible.
posted by corb at 11:55 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


I don't feel like reading through the @slutshaming account again, but at one point they literally explain that they can't be antisemitic, because they have Jewish friends.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:05 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]


They also linked to several articles about how you can't be Zionist AND a feminist, because all women. But if they want Israel destroyed, where does that, literally, leave Israeli women? And of course, the majority of Israeli women are Jewish. Which really comes to down to "we support all women, except Israeli women and American Jewish women who don't conform to our specific beliefs."
posted by Ruki at 4:07 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


I would argue that you can't be a feminist and not support a two-state solution (or some other "Israel continues to exist" solution) because - and this is what I really want to know - what the fuck do you expect the Israelis to do if Israel "ceases to exist"? I mean, people have been living in Israel-qua-Israel for seventy years - where are they supposed to go? How are they supposed to get to wherever they're supposed to go except through forced expulsion? How would a majority-Palestinian secular Israel (which is the least forced-expulsion-y proposal I've heard) supposed to come about except through war? It just gives me the cold shudders to hear people saying such a fool thing.

I am really pretty repulsed by the Israeli state and in particular by recent expulsions - speaking of expulsions - of African immigrants. But you don't get to say "expelling people is bad, and taking their land by war is bad, except when I do it to you".

I mean, this is a horrible horrible situation, and the plight of Gaza is shameful and terrible, but "let's do something else horrible, that will fix everything" is not a feminist position. Also, "you quite legitimately wanted to have a Jewish state as a guard against anti-semitic expulsions and violence, so we will threaten you with expulsions and violence" seems really counterproductive.
posted by Frowner at 5:55 PM on July 19 [10 favorites]


Frowner, I don't believe @Slutshaming is coming from a good place. Their replies to people calling them on antisemitism are positively gleeful, much like the replies on the CDM account.

I think an argument that Israel is a specifically feminist issue is a stretch, but whatever: as you say, their position wouldn't make much sense in that context anyway. But just as Republicans calling for voter ID laws don't really care about electoral integrity, people calling for the destruction of Israel don't really care about women. I mean, they may be great feminists in all sorts of other ways, but their specific lack of concern for Israeli women shows that their view on Israel is not coming from a feminist perspective.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:13 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]


Those who hem and haw and says, "let's look at both sides" or "we don't know what really happened" and flat-out call Jews liars (and worse) when someone does something anti-semitic to us.

Just in case anybody's in any doubt, I'd like to reiterate that I'm not dismissing or otherwise excusing this racism right here in considering surrounding political contexts. I find it helps to view the bigger picture, even when that picture is a mess of terrifying WTFuckery.

I don't know if this is at all relevant, but I had an illuminating but entirely unrelated conversation involving another Chicago native which made me particularly aware of elevated racial tensions in the city. Not being American, I'm finding it hard to parse how much of this is a new thing and how much is business as usual.

The idea of a shadowy, universal conspiracy dedicated to malevolent harm is a particular species of this fantasy that seems especially workable as the fulcrum of an easily-perpetuated propaganda theme.

There's a conspiracy alright, but it's multicultural and made of rich people and fanatics.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 4:56 AM on July 20


That was absolutely not directed at you, Elizabeth the Thirteenth. I apologize if you had that impression.

I have found this entire situation quite frustrating. The Dyke March and SlutWalk are not organizations that I would expect to spew antisemitism or defend it. Nor harass one of their own with so much hate that she lost her job. These two groups exist to support the very people they're attacking. Yet they seem blind or indifferent to what they are doing. It's shameful and sad. And my comment was intended to reflect both that and my frustration for how the conversation here has progressed.
posted by zarq at 6:09 AM on July 20 [7 favorites]


The Dyke March and SlutWalk are not organizations that I would expect to spew antisemitism or defend it. Nor harass one of their own with so much hate that she lost her job

I would. I'm afraid I've heard too many stories of harassment from the left to dismiss this kind of thing as unlikely out of hand.

It's a tribal thing for some people & if they've decided you're in the out-group? Then you're regarded as fair game.
posted by pharm at 8:08 AM on July 20 [1 favorite]


From the outside, it's utterly puzzling and heartbreaking to see the Chicago left seemingly circling the wagons like this. Like, why the fuck is an organisation like SlutWalk even getting involved, never mind in so obviously partisan and destructive a way? Why? What do they gain?
posted by Dysk at 10:08 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


There’s a segment of the left that wears accusations of anti-semitism as a badge of honour because they think that they always come from pro-Isreali Zionist Likudniks. i.e. class enemies (in their minds). Holding hands together against the out-group like this is a way to cement in-group ties. It’s signalling in other words. (Which also happens to make it quite clear to any Jews within their ranks that they’re totally expendable should they ever step outside the lines of permitted thought.)

(There’s also the straight anti-semites within them of course: they’re just taking the opportunity to bash Jews of any sort in a deniable fashion.)
posted by pharm at 1:05 AM on July 22 [5 favorites]


So far, this has been restricted to Chicago, right? Have any other branches of either the SlutWalk or Dyke March declared themselves anti-Semites?
posted by zarq at 9:14 AM on July 22


My assumption in re both Slutwalk and the Dyke March sticking together on this is that's there's probably a lot of organizer overlap. Even in a big city, there aren't really that many organizers of radical events, and that's probably where some of the social leverage over the paper comes in - because of how activism tends to work and probably because of some coincidences, each of these organizations probably has people in it who are closely connected. I'm not saying that this is a sinister plot - it's just that if you have a small group of committed people - who are wrong! - they're going to act to forward their aims, because that's what they do. If no other marches or walks from other cities join in, it's probably because this is being driven by scene dynamics in Chicago.

It's doubly unfortunate, because this may very well not actually reflect a majority opinion in this scene in Chicago - it may just reflect the opinions of the loudest people.

The left should be better than this, if so. A huge problem with people that the left should be better than is letting the loud people set the agenda, getting confused or frightened, losing conviction in your own politics because other people are loud.

And another structural problem is that a lot of stuff is organized very, very informally - like the Queer/Dyke Trans March here, for instance, is always organized by...a group of people who all know each other and who don't have much internet presence. I miss it every other year because it's planned and announced late and only promoted through certain community channels and I don't always hear about it. So things can be run in a really undemocractic way. People will always say "oh, it's just that only some people are willing to do the work" and that is partly true. But substantially it's because it is difficult to break into the social world where most of the organizing happens, because it's so informal and ad hoc. "Community' events are often not planned by the "community", and their underlying principles are not endorsed by the community, but there isn't a lot of mechanism for acting or expressing this. This is part of why a lot of people drop out.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I suspect that committed "I'll wear it proudly" anti-semites are rare on the left, but disproportionately influential in some scenes, and people have to stand up to that.
posted by Frowner at 10:25 AM on July 22 [8 favorites]


I mean yeah, it's going to be because of organiser overlap, but I don't understand the motivation nevertheless. If something I was involved in organising was blowing up over accusations of anything - no matter how unfounded I felt that might be - I'd be looking to keep it from spilling over onto my other projects, but jumping into the fray on behalf of every organisation I'm involved in. It's just so fucking stupid.
posted by Dysk at 10:37 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


The above should read "not jumping into the fray..." Stupid phone.
posted by Dysk at 10:55 AM on July 22


And another structural problem is that a lot of stuff is organized very, very informally - like the Queer/Dyke Trans March here, for instance, is always organized by...a group of people who all know each other and who don't have much internet presence. I miss it every other year because it's planned and announced late and only promoted through certain community channels and I don't always hear about it. So things can be run in a really undemocractic way.

Oh, tell me about it. I just walked away from a local organization here because the gentleman running it seems to be running along this model, and on top of that doesn't understand marketing, PR, or giving events time to build enthusiasm or participation before kicking them off.... and then gets angry with his volunteers for "not doing the work" when he hasn't accounted for things like priorities or work schedules with limited controllability for shift workers or, you know, timelines.

I do, however, totally understand why it's happening--I don't think it's even necessarily about organizer overlap and organizers dragging all their projects in to defend the one under attack, actually. I think it's just as likely to be about people wanting to support their friends as the friends vent and complain to one another about totally unfounded accusations in their great organization and how they're destabilizing everything we've worked so hard to build, and then those friends go "can I help?" and wind up pulling other orgs into the midst. It's a slightly different dynamic from what you're talking about, Dysk, but it can have similar consequences.
posted by sciatrix at 11:39 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


I get a kind of odd reminder of what happened to the Livejournal social justice groups, when Requires Hate and her cronies pretty much took them over. One or a few people see an opportunity to gain power and control by finding an enemy to point at, and a while bunch of people jump in to support it for various reasons.
posted by happyroach at 1:18 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


I guess I'll just never understand getting your personal relationships mixed up with your "official" platforms. Like yeah sure, help your friend in contexts where you represent yourself. Having organisations you represent or have leadership positions in do the same, that's naked nepotism and likely completely counterproductive relative to your organisation's aims and/or standing.
posted by Dysk at 1:20 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]


Oh, it's fuck-off terrible politicking, unprofessional, bad PR, etc etc etc and I absolutely expect representatives of organizations to know and do better. I just mean that it's understandable if you start from the premise that humans are social animals and think about the skill sets and personalities that pop up commonly in radical organizations. It's the kind of thing that people pull who aren't thinking of themselves or their org as professional organizers, because somehow activism and volunteering are totally different from the standards of professionalism demanded by a place of business.

Or else people are just by and large kind of shitty at being professional within their networks, and the blurred lines between friendship and professional/activist networks tend to amplify that problem.
posted by sciatrix at 2:03 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


(And obviously I don't think "yeah, help your friends" applies to the situation at hand or the denunciation of people raising issues with antisemitism generally, I'm speaking in generalities about motivations in situations like this one.)
posted by Dysk at 4:56 PM on July 22


An old friend posted something about BDS and asked in what I thought was good faith, if anti-Zionist movements were inherently anti-semitic. Another Jewish friend of his and I said, "No, but..." and I brought up the CDM. His other Jewish friend and I noped out of the conversation when mutual friend said that Israel should be held to a higher standard because it was created on "the high moral ground after the Holocaust." The article mutual friend posted was written, of course, by Glenn Greenwald. The conversation wasn't a complete loss, though, because mutual friend finally grokked why using Israeli and Jew interchangeably is anti-semitic. One step forward, two steps back when it comes to educating my friends on the left.
posted by Ruki at 8:34 PM on July 22 [6 favorites]


Many people in these kinds of groups lose the distinction between "making the world a better place" and "promoting yourself and proving you hold the high moral ground".
posted by bongo_x at 8:42 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]


And I think that's exactly the problem with the CDM. They're more concerned with the moral high ground and their "ha ha gotcha" politics than being a truly intersectional group. They've made it quite clear that their safe space is heavily conditional.
posted by Ruki at 10:37 PM on July 22 [5 favorites]


And the Chicago Slutwalk has just "Banned Zionist symbols" in "solidarity with the Chicago Dyke March. So, this isn't just a couple people in charge of the Dyke March- antisemitism is apparently embedded in the Chicago activist community.
posted by happyroach at 9:05 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


happyroach, your linked article, while factually correct, also cites Breitbart, and I don't want them on my side. But actually, I think that brings up a good point. The US right wing is often unapologetically antisemitic while also holding up Jews as a mystical model minority required for the Second Coming. The US left wing is often unapologetically antisemitic while holding up Israel as a mystical model state that must be punished/destroyed for its wrongdoings and holding US Jews accountable for that. I guess that's my answer to anyone who says that antisemitism isn't a problem still.
posted by Ruki at 11:36 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


this isn't just a couple people in charge of the Dyke March- antisemitism is apparently embedded in the Chicago activist community.

The Dyke March reportedly had 1,500 attendees, which is not huge, and I think the owner of the @Slutwalk account says they were there. Frowner (?) was very probably right about the organising groups having a lot of cross-membership, so I wouldn't read too much into the fact that they're amplifying each other's positions. That being said, it would be nice to see more allyship from the rest of Chicago's GLBT community.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:08 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


"Banned Zionist symbols"

I'm going to have to see a list of these.
posted by mikelieman at 4:00 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


It would be helpful, wouldn't it? Because at the moment, any Jewish symbol seems like it could be declared Zionist at any moment. It really seems like what is being communicated is that Jews are only welcome if there is no public indication of their Jewishness, because any overtly Jewish symbol could be radically reinterpreted at a moment's notice, the bearers subject to a public trial, and then banished.

Or how to keep Jews out of your event 101.
posted by maxsparber at 7:18 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


It's surprisingly similar to the way LGBT activity is policed: the complainants aren't prejudiced, they were just reacting to people "flaunting" their differences. So if you're one of the people affected you need to contend with gaslighting from the complainants, an unfriendly audience, and the risk that you'll derail everything by accidentally implying that the complainant was prejudiced rather than merely mistaken.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:58 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


happyroach, your linked article, while factually correct, also cites Breitbart, and I don't want them on my side.

You're right and I agree, but in my defense the main alternatives were trying to dig it out of a Facebook page (and I don't do Facebook), or trying to weld a bunch of tweets into something cohenent. The actual news articles were all very axe grindy in one direction or another.

Which illustrates part of the problem in dealing with this: mainstream news is well behind the curve in reorting.
posted by happyroach at 2:34 PM on July 24 [3 favorites]


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