Article

Anti-Semitism at the #DCDykeMarch?


Last week, the DC Dyke March, an event for lesbians, made national headlines when the organizers announced they were banning the Jewish Pride flag because it too closely resembles the Israeli flag. This led to condemnation from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and prompted the National LGBTQ Task Force to pull its support from the march. Now, after the event, the group is apologizing for the “misinformation” that allegedly led people to falsely believe the Star of David was banned. The Capital Research Center, however, was at the DC Dyke March and witnessed the interactions between the DC Dyke March and Jewish supporters.

One of the listed sponsors of the DC Dyke March was the anti-Israel organization IfNotNow. Coincidentally, soon after flyers for the event started going up around the city, the Washington Post reported that the DC Dyke March was banning “nationalist symbols,” such as the Jewish Pride flag, the Israeli flag, and the American flag, but would be making an exception for the Palestinian flag.

While the ADL and the National LGBTQ Task Force issued their rebukes of the DC Dyke March, The New Synagogue Project, however, maintained its sponsorship of the DC Dyke March and even issued a statement about how “excited” they were for the march. The New Synagogue Project describes itself as a “new Jewish community” in Washington D.C. that is “spiritually vibrant, radically inclusive, and reflects our vision for collective liberation.”

In order to address the controversy surrounding Jewish Pride flags, the DC Dyke March issued a statement in the form of an op-ed on its website. In the op-ed, two of the “specifically and explicitly Jewish Anti-Zionist Dykes” involved in organizing the march said, “The star of David itself only became publicly popular as a symbol of Judaism in the 19th century — it coincided with the First Zionist Congress choosing the six-sided star for the flag of the future Israeli nation state in 1897.” As alternatives, the DC Dyke March’s Yael Horowitz and Rae Gaines suggested Jewish participants wear “yarmulkes, tallitot, tefillin, rainbow pomegranates, Lions of Judah, Hamsas, chai, a menorah and anything that doesn’t directly replicate nationalist images and symbols.” While yarmulkes, tallit, and teffilin are all traditional male religious icons, the DC Dyke March was reportedly meant for dykes–who are lesbians.

After hearing about the ban on the Star of David, pro-Israel, pro-LGBTQ 501(c)(3) A Wider Bridge organized a group of Jewish activists to engage with the DC Dyke March. At the event, A Wider Bridge handed out signs using the hashtag, “#LetMyPeopleMarch”:

When the Jewish activists approached the DC Dyke March’s meeting space, a group of marshals physically blocked them from joining the rest of the march:

A video from the march shows a marshal telling a group of people with Jewish Pride flags, “So like, in order to have the Jewish Pride flag not be about Zionism, all you got to do is just remove the star,” which was part of the flag:

Many of the people holding signs supporting Israel were able to walk around the marshals and join the rest of the crowd. According to Carly Pildis, the vice president of the board of the 501(c)(3) organization Zioness Movement, which was also involved in creating the Jewish contingent for the march, at first the DC Dyke March only wanted to allow Jewish queer people to march, but after an objection about wanting supporters there in case they witnessed anti-semitism, “A compromise was offered, and a few selected leaders agreed to accompany the queer Jewish women with their Jewish Pride flags.”

During the march, some of the signs mocked the ban on the Jewish Pride flag for creating a dichotomy between “good” and “bad” Jews:

Other signs at the event pointed out the hypocrisy between supporting pride for gay people, who are a marginalized group, and making Jews feel unwelcome:

Although the DC Dyke March has fallen out of the news cycle, and although the event has already happened, the DC Dyke March issued a statement apologizing for the “recent spread of misinformation” that led people to reportedly falsely believe “the Star of David was unwelcome.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Following the historic return of the DC Dyke March and recent events, a statement from #dcdykemarch

A post shared by DC DYKE MARCH (@dcdykemarch) on

While this was the first DC Dyke March in Washington D.C. in 12 years, the Chicago Dyke March made headlines in 2017 over its decision to be Jewish Pride flags as well. According to local LGBTQ newspaper Windy City Times, three people were kicked out of the Chicago Dyke March for carrying Jewish Pride flags because the flags “made people feel unsafe.” A statement from the Chicago Dyke March at the time said they were kicked out of the march “for expressing Zionist views” that reportedly “go directly against the march’s anti-racist core values.” The reporter who first covered the skirmish between the Chicago Dyke March and Jewish activists has since blamed the Chicago Dyke March for her losing her job.

The 2017 Chicago SlutWalk also similarly banned people from carrying “Zionist displays,” but later issued an apology. Coverage of the event, however, claims people who held signs featuring women wearing Stars of David were physically blocked from viewing speakers at the event. One of the speakers also reported ended his speech by saying, “you cannot be Zionist and feminist,” echoing a statement by the Women’s March’s Linda Sarsour. The Chicago SlutWalk favorably praised Sarsour in its statement, “Palestinian Human Rights are a Feminist Cause.”

Instances like the latest DC Dyke March, the 2017 Chicago DC Dyke March, and the 2017 Chicago SlutWalk are going to continue to happen as Progressive activists are telling Jewish supporters and allies that Zionists aren’t welcome in their new movement.

 

Ashley Rae Goldenberg

Ashley Rae Goldenberg is an investigative reporter at the Capital Research Center. Before joining CRC, she was a reporter at the Media Research Center. She is a 2015 graduate of…
+ More by Ashley Rae Goldenberg