Yitzhak Santis
The Santis Clause

When Dykes ban Jews

That is a pretty offensive headline, I admit.  But it aptly describes a very offensive incident.

Here’s what happened as reported by JTA and carried in the Times of Israel, “A parade in Chicago celebrating the lesbian community banned three Jewish women carrying Jewish Pride flags.  Organizers of the 21st annual Chicago Dyke March told the women that the rainbow flags with a white Star of David in the center would be a trigger to people who found it offensive.”

In its statement posted on their FB page, Dyke March Chicago said they are not “explicitly antisemitic.” Well, I call b.s. on them. Their statement includes this gem: “We want to make clear that anti-Zionist Jewish volunteers and supporters are welcome at Dyke March.”

The very fact that they would subject Jews (and apparently nobody else) to an ideological litmus test is in and of itself anti-Semitic. Their exclusion of Jews carrying a Jewish Rainbow flag (NOT an Israeli flag) is explicitly anti-Semitic.

(In a textbook example of what we may call “Jew-washing,” the attempt to remove the moral stain of anti-Semitism through tokenism, Dyke March Chicago placed a statement on their Facebook page from an anti-Zionist Jew.  The statement read, in part, “I was at Dyke march yesterday and I am an white american (sic) queer disabled Jew. I was welcomed and affirmed there.  I am also anti-Zionist…”)

Screen capture of photo accompanying Dyke March Chicago’s statement justifying its expulsion of Jewish marchers.

Dyke march Chicago also posted a photo with their statement rationalizing their exclusion of Jews.  It shows a group of people holding the flags of various non-democratic Muslim-majority regimes with homophobic laws they enforce. There is Turkey, for instance, which just a few days ago cancelled the Pride Parade in Istanbul. There are also Mauritania and Egypt, which both outlaw same-sex relations.  Amazingly, the people in the photo are even holding the flag of Assad’s Syria, whose regime is responsible for the deaths of nearly a half-million people in the civil war and whose main regional ally is Iran, which publicly hangs gay men from cranes.

These regimes are practicing what we may call “pinksquashing.”

Yet, Dyke March Chicago excoriates Israel, whose laws protect the rights of all LGBT people living in its borders.  The charge is  “pinkwashing” as if those laws were passed only for PR purposes.  Dyke March Chicago cannot imagine that Israel is a complex, multi-layered open society with a dynamic, active and free civil society that participates in open debates protected by the law.  They cannot see that Israel’s gay-friendly legal protections came about because of struggles by LGBT people in a democratic society.  Their goal was not to serve their government’s PR, but to create a safe space for themselves.  There is more struggle ahead, over same-sex marriage for instance.  That debate is now happening, openly and in usual Israeli fashion, loudly.

Meanwhile, Dykes March Chicago is quiet on the repression of LGBT people in Muslim majority countries, making them silent accomplices of these regimes’ heinous practices.

That is the real “pinkwashing” going on: rinsing away the reality of the often violent repression of LGBT people by these homophobic  governments.

Dyke March Chicago diminishes and negates the LGBT Israelis who, ironically, is a community that is largely supportive of the rights of Arab Palestinians. Dyke March Chicago denigrates these Israelis who provide sanctuary to LGBT Palestinians escaping persecution in both the Palestinian Authority and in Hamas controlled Gaza. Of course, Dyke March Chicago ignores the persecution of these LGBT Palestinians.

There is, perhaps, no better example of how so many in the radical Left have lost their moral compass than what we witnessed in Chicago. The real tragedy is how this segment of the Left has sacrificed the rights of millions of LGBT Arab and Muslim people on the altar of an anti-Zionism that morphed into explicit antisemitism. It also shows that the Israel-obsessed radical Left is succeeding in putting the “National” into Socialism.

About the Author
Yitzhak Santis is a Senior Writer and Analyst at StandWithUs and a free-lance writer. He made Aliyah in 2011 from the San Francisco Bay Area where he was Middle East Affairs director at the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco. He lives on Kibbutz Hannaton in the Galilee.
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