What happened in Chicago this weekend was a community low point.
By Amanda Kerri
June 28 2017
This past Sunday afternoon, as our local Pride parade streamed by, signifying the semi-official end of our Pride weekend, I sat down to have a much-deserved drink and smoke, and casually checked my phone. There was an email from my editor at The Advocate letting me know about the Dyke March in Chicago, where a group of Jewish attendees were thrown out because they were carrying a Pride flag with a Star of David on it, which made attendees uncomfortable.
I simply rolled my eyes, shook my head, and muttered a well-earned “Goddamn it, people.” The organizers made sure to defend themselves with a statement that said they were certainly not anti-Semitic but were anti-Zionist and supported a free Palestine. They also made sure to let people know that they were welcoming of all, embraced diversity, and were not bad people. Well, of course they aren’t. They’re not bad people, just political partisans who are using LGBT issues to push their ideological agenda, which ironically is what they were accusing these individuals of doing, though only after apparently interrogating them.
What’s interesting is that according to everything I’ve read, these individuals weren’t carrying Israeli flags, just Pride flags with a Star of David on them. Now, yes, the Israeli flag does have a Star of David on it, but the Star of David is not the Israeli flag. Crazy concept, I know, but follow me on this one. The Star of David is an emblem of the Jewish faith that goes back over a thousand years, much like the crescent for Islam or the cross for Christianity. In fact, the image of the Star of David is called the Seal of Solomon in Islamic mysticism, it’s a symbol that predates the nation of Israel by centuries. So what appears to have happened is that a few people saw a hexagram and immediately concluded, “Star of David=Israel=Zionism=Evil.”
This is simple thinking for simple people who want a simple ideology that makes them feel righteous. That’s the problem, though; when you feel righteous in a belief that reduces the overwhelming complexity of humanity and the world to symbols, stereotypes, and a basic good versus evil dynamic, you usually end up being a bigoted zealot. This time around, these bigoted zealots have wrapped themselves in a rainbow shroud to defend their beliefs.
All of this stems from something a part of the left calls “pinkwashing,” which has come to describe the way Israel promotes its LGBT acceptance to allegedly cover up its mistreatment of the Palestinians in the occupied territories. Let me go ahead and say this right now and get this out of the way: If you think you can reduce the cosmic nightmare that is the Israel-Palestine conflict to fancy buzzwords, either/or equations, and a black-and-white morality, you are a moron.
The Arab/Palestinian-Israeli conflict is easily the most morally, legally, and geopolitically complex issue of modern history, with its roots going back hundreds of years, and is almost baked into the two sides’ identities. Oh, yes, I said the two sides because there is no “good guy” in this. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians have committed atrocities, violated human rights, broken treaties, and used religion and propaganda as weapons. I don’t pretend to think I have a simple solution or a hashtag-worthy buzzword to frame an issue this complex.
Additionally, and this is very important to understand, to use LGBT+ issues as a shield for your pro-Palestinian stance on the conflict is fundamentally morally abhorrent and hypocritical. For 10 years one of the participants in the Dyke March has carried her Jewish Pride flag with no incident till now. According to her, only anti-LGBT protesters harassed her previously, and they were asked to leave.