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Zionist Litmus Test on Jews at Left March

Jewish Rainbow flag
By TTN Blog

A new discussion topic for The Third Narrative online community is the following incident reported upon in Tablet magazine by James Kirchik:

Last weekend, organizers of Chicago’s Dyke March asked three participants carrying Jewish LGBT pride flags—a Star of David embossed over the traditional rainbow—to leave. “It was a flag from my congregation which celebrates my queer, Jewish identity,” Laurel Grauer told the Windy City Times. According to the paper, Grauer “lost count of the number of people who harassed her” at the festival. The only other individuals to be treated in such fashion were a contingent of Christian anti-gay activists, whom marchers surrounded with “sheets of tarpaulin, trans pride flags and bed linen” so that their hateful signs could not be seen.

Asked to explain why they would kick Jews out of their event, Dyke March organizers were unapologetic and unambiguous. The flags, they explained, “made people feel unsafe” and the march was “anti-Zionist.” Forget equating a piece of cloth with an act of physical intimidation, an illustration of the hysterical progressive rhetoric that likens speech to “violence.” There was nothing “Zionist” about the allegedly threatening flag (other than its containing the Star of David, which also appears on the Israeli flag). What made these people “feel unsafe” was the presence of Jews. Censoring this Jewish symbol, meanwhile, organizers were perfectly content to let participants wave the flag of Palestine, a political entity where LGBT people are routinely harassed and murdered.  . . .

While one may quibble with Kirchik (one of the trio of right-leaning contributors to Tablet, along with Liel Leibovitz and Lee Smith) as to whether this exclusion of “Zionists” is meant to be antisemitic, it is antisemitic in effect.  (Click here for his entire article.)

Our TTN colleague, David Schraub of the UC-Berkeley School of Law, has also written on this issue (click here for his blog post).  This is from Schraub’s conclusion:

Wanna support the miners–what’s your position on Zionism? Want to be a gay person–what’s your position on Zionism? . . .

As should be obvious, I don’t think one should have to “attack Zionism” to be part of the club . . .  The point is the tight regulation of Jewish political activities, under which Jewish access to progressive political spaces is always provisional. Having a Star of David shouldn’t be a license for an interrogation on one’s views about Zionism, and if the issue does come up Jews should not have to engage in ritual self-abasement to pass the test. When those requirements are in play — and for Jews, they’re always in play — antisemitism is alive and well.

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