Ramón Epstein
Ramón Epstein

Keep hitting the snooze button

This past weekend I published a response to another blogger on this forum as well as a slew of other articles regarding the bizarre need of Jewish Americans, and specifically those of Ashkenazi origins, to pursue a quixotic quest for a minority racial identity. No sooner had this been published when an excellent exhibit of this fruitless endeavour occurred that has basically dragged the whole issue to the surface, possibly to the attention of the public at large. The recent incident of the women being ousted from the Chicago “Dyke March” (their words not mine) for hoisting rainbow-Jewish mash-up flags was instantly the object of both ridicule and consternation among people all across the spectrum. Many of the more angered respondents were incredulous that Jewish lesbians, many of whom like comedian Sadra Bernhard and singer Alix Dobkin had been central icons during the height of its era of confrontation, could now be pariahs at community events.

I’ve realized something long ago that should now be clear, these marches are NOT about people gaining acceptance as fellow human beings for all intents and purposes; they are a form of shock art meant to provoke observers and the larger audience on social media through a street performance art. But gay pride parades and related events like this are not the only place to see provocative performance art. Indeed I’ve never supported or enjoyed this parade (or parades of any other theme) yet on the other hand I am a huge fan of tasteless low-brow comedies like Goon, violent horror movies like the Omen, and shock rock acts like Rob Zombie.

Performance art vs. Artistic activism

Whereas the shock value of the other examples is meant mainly as a form of entertainment and only sometimes in passing in order to deliver a message, gay pride parades and the more overtly political dyke marches do push social and political messages. At one point it was to change the status quote regarding the legality of their lifestyle and overall to improve their perception among Americans as a whole. Along the way by virtue of the massive gay presence in the arts and media these parades were often a way to get non-members of their “community” (allies) to help de-stigmatize the atmosphere of the gay community, so the emphasis was on inclusiveness.

Back to this week, the truth is that the expelled marchers are not the pariahs at the events. The other people at the march are fine having more people of any background there, on one condition: They must make a CHOICE, just like the “community” as a whole. That choice is whether march participants agree with the values and attitudes of the collective whole, OR if they cling to the traditions or even the symbols of identities that clash with those values.

Simply put, the parade is a modern day allegory to ancient Greek Hellenism, the antagonist of the Jews in the true history of Hanukkah, not the universalist version that’s been commercialized and stripped of its real message. Simply put, the parade is a modern day allegory to ancient Greek Hellenism, the antagonist of the Jews in the true history of Hanukkah, not the universalist version that’s been commercialized and stripped of its real message.

The politics of habit
Yesterday I had another in a recent serious of mental earthquakes moments, a positive experience I assure you. The catalyst was an interview by Gad Sa’ad, a famous internet intellectual and Concordia University professor of evolutionary psychology, with attorney David Yerushalmi. In the midst of a conversation centering on the issues religious freedom and the application of religious law in a secular country, Yerushalmi was asked off hand why it is that Jews in the United States continue to vote for liberal and progressive candidates given a trending current of policies on the part of Barack Obama and others that are contrary to their interests. This includes self-censorship of criticism of Islamic doctrines, approving a nuclear deal with Iran that has been revealed to include many hidden strings of concessions, and granting official visits to explicitly hostile movements like CAIR and BLM.

the parade is a modern day allegory to ancient Greek Hellenism, the antagonist of the Jews in the true history of Hanukkah, not the universalist version that’s been commercialized and stripped of its real message.

In answering the question, Yerushalmi succeeded in cutting to two main points that many of us have been driving at for years:

  • “For them, their Jewish identity is wrapped up in the notion that Judaism is about peaceful coexistence . . . being tolerant.”

He elaborates that this has led to the creation of universal messages in Jewish holidays that is not true to the real meaning, and in fact draws on instinct among Jews, as a small minority, to call for coexistence due to their own subconscious knowledge that they themselves need it in order to survive and prosper. TRANSLATION: This is not an altruistic desire for tolerance, but a self-interested display of it in order to encourage reciprocation.

He then goes on to his second point:

  • “. . Like the blacks in this country, we simply look at the Democrats as the party of openness and inclusiveness”.

On this point Yerushalmi recognizes that this assumption is now being turned on its head. I would propose that this goes not only for the Democrats but also for the gay movement. (I leave “rights” out of that phrase, because it’s become clear that rights are no longer the objective), feminism, and other progressive social currents.

This has happened before

The Jewish allies of the gay movement  are coming face to face with the same brick wall as what happened after the late 1970s in regard to communal relations between Jews and blacks. The one key caveat to this is that Jews for the most part participated in the civil rights movement as allies rather than as those seeking the gains themselves, because the number of people that are both black and Jewish is proportionally small compared to those that belong to only one. So these Jewish civil rights activists could rarely find occasion to get fully “committed” to the cause and feel the consequences, except in such cases as the tragic murder of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner in 1964 by the KKK. As the legal barriers between whites and blacks began to disappear during the 60s and 70s, other racial tensions began to come to fore including ones between blacks and Jews as exhibited by the rhetoric of Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other black identity activists. By this time the past Jewish alliance with MLK, Jr. was irrelevant; Jackson was intent on pursuing an economic boycott agenda that directly clashed with corporate America and that included many Jews. Farrakhan pursued an even more militant agenda that sought to separate black Americans from their white neighbors on a religious and racial basis. By the late 1980s and early 90s Sharpton completed the separation by ranting against Jews and other white landlords in black New York neighbourhoods and inciting the Crown Heights riots after a traffic accident in which a black child was killed by a Jewish motorist.

However, with both the second wave feminist and gay rights movements one finds a qualifier in sexual orientation that makes it possible for people from any and all national, racial, and religious origins to be equally compatible as full fledged participants. So how is it that the movement arrived at an ugly episode like the Chicago Dyke March?  In an identical manner to the previous example, the gay movement has conquered so many hills (legal barriers) that once it has reached flat ground (full enfranchisement) it has been confronted with its own choice: accept victory and disband as a movement OR find new injustices, perceived or real, to try to conquer. It is easy to guess based on recent events which path has been chosen.

Along came the concept of “intersectional feminism” that has married a previously topical movement to critical theory and other postmodern Marxist concepts. This is how last year, during the run-up to the exact same event in Chicago, many of the same Jewish lesbians were accused of “pinkwashing”: using the liberal gay rights policies in Israel to gloss over alleged atrocities against Palestinians, an attack validated by hard left Israeli paper Ha’aretz. The individuals singled out by these tactics on the part of radical activists at the Dyke March probably have been blindsided; after all they are no less lesbian or less Jewish than they were during past years when they participated the same way with no incident. But that’s not the point.

The women ousted from the parade have willingly ignored the trend developing in these events over the past few years, just like the Women’s March has decided to actively exclude pro-life women and feminist Jews like Sally Kohn (a lesbian herself) have embraced the caustic rhetoric of militant anti-Jew activists like Linda Sarsour in order to stay in the good graces of the progressive camp.

after all they are no less lesbian or less Jewish than they were during past years when they participated the same way with no incident. But that’s not the point.

So my message to these people ejected from the Dyke March may seem harsh, but it’s the appropriate one, and I’ll try to make it direct:

SO WHAT if you yourself are a lesbian and have participated in this event in the past? As expressed both by its name and its history, the Dyke March is a militant confrontational event, not a celebration. As proven by an article by the event-friendly Windy City Times it is deliberately organized without a permit in order to be provocative towards local authorities including police.Well, since the police caved and allowed the march to go on and obstruct traffic, the activists didn’t have a genuine confrontation to feed off of emotionally. Luckily, they had an even softer target to turn their angst upon, YOU!

Oh I get it, you thought you were swimming with people of the same school, and you didn’t think people would object to you. I guess you didn’t notice that all around you were other angry people with banners calling for sanctuary cities or endorsing the Party for Socialist Liberation, and even Palestine flags, all of whom were broadcasting messages of #resistance.

So what did you think, that this collective negative energy couldn’t be turned on YOU? That you, a hitherto committed participant, was inoculated from their toxic emotionalism? Your consciousness of such ironic situations certainly makes me wonder how much you’re really in touch with the Jewish history of being the hated middleman between the lower classes and nobility. Also, you might want to consider reading up on the concept of the “useful idiot”. It appears that for your erstwhile comrades in this event you have outlived your usefulness. So either get with the programme now, or we’ll wait for you to hit the snooze button on reality during next year’s dyke march.

About the Author
Ramón Epstein writes analysis of political and social issues from a libertarian perspective. He also writes for the Hard News Network.
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