Chicago, Antisemitism, and Ceding the Narrative

Let me start by saying something that should be obvious. Anti-Zionism is antisemitism. Always.

You can be opposed to this or that Israeli political party. You can be opposed to certain Israeli policies. But if you are against the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their own homeland, you are an antisemite.

That said, let’s talk about what happened last weekend at the Dyke March in Chicago. It’s been all over social media, and the reactions… well, let’s just say that some of the reactions have been more troubling than what actually happened.

The Chicago Dyke March is an event that’s been going on for over 20 years, separate from the actual Pride Parade. The women who started it felt that the Pride Parade was mostly run by the men, and they wanted something of their own. This year, three women were asked to leave because they came with a rainbow flag that had a Jewish star superimposed on it. This flag is used by Congregation Or Chadash, a gay synagogue in Chicago, and one of the women who was asked to leave had been participating in the Dyke March with that flag for the past 10 years.

But the organizers of the march this year told her and two other women that they had to leave, because it was an Israeli flag, and it made other women “feel unsafe.”

A word about “feeling unsafe.” A person who has been raped would reasonably feel unsafe around their rapist. A person who has been mugged would likely feel unsafe around the person who mugged them. But that’s not how the phrase is used today. In most cases, “that makes me feel unsafe” means “I don’t like what you’re saying or doing or representing, and I am claiming feelings of unsafety in order to make you, the victim, into an oppressor, and to bludgeon you into submission.” It is a phrase that is used as emotional blackmail. Those who use it generally do not feel unsafe.  They feel moral superiority and triumph.

In any case, the flag was certainly not an Israeli flag. But that’s the problem.  That’s all we’re hearing from the women who were forced to leave and from those complaining about this act of bigotry. No one is saying, “Who cares if it’s an Israeli flag or not. That’s no excuse for banning people.”

By arguing about whether these women were representing Zionism or not, you concede that being Zionist is a legitimate reason for exclusion. You are ceding a false narrative. You are granting them their premise. And that premise is evil.

A lot of readers just rolled their eyes at my use of the word “evil”. But there is an objective good and evil in this world. Lots of grey in between, it’s true, but it’s not all grey. Hatred of the good is evil. Antisemitism is evil. And anti-Zionism is antisemitism.

Some of the women who were kicked out said, pathetically, “But we are pro-Palestinian [sic]. We support a two state solution.” In other words, go ahead and hate Jews who aren’t willing to support terrorist organizations like the PLO. Go ahead and hate Jews who aren’t willing to create a terror state in their heartland. But don’t hate us. We’re the “good Jews”.

In Germany, before the Holocaust, Hitler talked about exterminating the Jews. And many of the cultured, assimilated Jews of Germany rolled their eyes at that and said, “They don’t mean us. They mean the dirty ostjuden.  The Eastern Jews with their payess and hats. The ones who refuse to be Germans of the Mosaic persuasion like us.”

The weak protests coming from left wing Jews in response to the hateful behavior of the Dyke March organizers bears a troubling similarity to the naive German Jews of the 1930s. The only correct response to this sort of hatred is utter rejection. Not ceding them one inch. If you are anti-Zionist, it means that you object to Jews, out of all nations in the world, having the right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland. And that is antisemitism. That is evil.

About the Author
Lisa Liel lives in Karmiel with her family. She is a member of the Zehut party, works as a programmer/developer, reads a lot, watches too much TV, does research in Bronze/Iron Age archaeology of the Middle East, and argues a lot on Facebook.
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