On anti-Semitism at Chicago Dyke March
I am a queer Israeli Jew of Arab and North African descent. I’m no stranger to oppression in many forms. My family escaped Iraq in the early 1950s as anti-Semitism in Iraq reached a peak. I grew up in an underprivileged neighborhood in Israel and struggled to make my way out of it. I served in the Israeli army as an openly queer commander for five years, and had to endure many battles on the path for acceptance. Yet I cannot wrap my head around the bigotry, hatred and anti-Semitism coming from my LGBT community.
On June 24, the final red line was crossed at the Chicago Dyke March. What was supposed to be a march for equal rights for an oppressed minority turned into a hate-fest targeting Jewish people — yes anti-Semitism in the guise of LGBT rights. Three LGBT Jewish participants were forced out of the parade for holding a rainbow flag with a Star of David on it. For the organizers, it was unacceptable to have a Jewish symbol at the parade. While you might think that they would try to apologize after this shameful act, they didn’t. The organizers took to Twitter and argued: “Queer and Trans anti-Zionist Jewish folks are welcome here …” In other words, some Jews can join, but they will decide which ones.
It is not a political stand; we all know it is not. If this were political, why are they not targeting the countless countries that ban homosexuality and target LGBT people on a daily basis? Would they be removing Iranians from the parade for holding a flag with crescent on it? In Iran, they hang gays every day. Why not Gaza, where they throw gays off of rooftops? Or Chechnya? It is not political, it is ideological, an ideology called intersectionality. The problem with intersectionality is that it doesn’t even adhere to its original meaning: All struggles for rights are inherently connected. It has now become a tool to be used against not only Israel, but Jews in general, who are accused of “white privilege” even though we’re not white.
What does the support of Zionism (the movement to liberate the Jewish people in their ancient homeland) have to do with your LGBT identity? What does your religion have to do with it? Even if you are critical of Israel’s politics and policies, as I am and many Israelis are, why are the organizers supporting only “anti-Zionists”? The only meaning of anti-Zionism is the destruction of Israel, the only Jewish state. For the organizers of the parade to support anti-Zionism can mean only that they support the end of Israel, destroying the Jewish state. Iran’s leaders, ISIS, and many terrorist groups hold similar views to the organizers of the Dyke March. It can be defined only as anti-Semitic.
We are witnessing a trend among many in the progressive camp, a camp of which I am a part, that is losing its true identity and being used by campaigners and strategists manipulating them. Some queer groups and other minority groups are being used as tools to promote hatred of the Jewish state and the Jewish people. They are being told to use their identity, be it their race, gender or religion, to fight Israel for a cause they have no connection to. These groups must ask themselves, before taking a stand about Israel, when was the last time they took a stand about another conflict around the world? When was the last time they’ve judged a participant in an event based on his ethnicity or religion? Why is it only with Israel and Jews that they feel that they have the liberty to boycott, to discriminate and to hate?
The signs are clear and this type of hateful incident is a red flag for the LGBT community. What is this community if not a community that is fighting for equality and justice, for our community and for all? Although it is not popular to stand up for the Jewish people and the Jewish state, we must remember the lessons of history. It might start with us but it never ends with us.
Also, everything can change very quickly. The just thing to do is to stand up to this type of hatred and call it what it is, nothing more or less than anti-Semitism.
Hen Mazzig is an Israeli writer, speaker and social activist from Tel Aviv. You can follow him @HenMazzig.