We have spent the last few days in conversation with our Chicago Zionesses and our LGBTQ+ partners to determine our response to the vile antisemitism that is apparently an animating force of this year’s Chicago Dyke March.
Under some circumstances, confronting antisemitic imagery and language and exposing its dangerous implications is necessary to ensure that such messages are not normalized within the progressive movement writ large. Given the extraordinary leadership of proud Jewish, Zionist, LGBTQ+ individuals in every facet of Pride Month, including and since Stonewall, our community absolutely refuses to cede this critical movement to such outrageous bigotry.
But the antisemitism at the very core of this year’s event has made the event toxic for such a huge swath of LGBTQ+ activists and allies that the anticipated turnout of the march is limited. The language has led Chicago-area LGBTQ+ and progressive organizations to publicly condemn the hatred it espouses, and to remind the community that they have had no relationship with and give no support to the Dyke March since it became infected with antisemitism in 2017. This is critical because when we allow progressive spaces to be overtaken with antisemitism, the people who are harmed are the very LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and otherwise marginalized individuals real progressives work to protect.
We are so grateful that so many partners and leaders in this fight have have unequivocally condemned this horrific anti-Jewish animus in both public and private communications. It is because of their leadership that we know that the dehumanizing, ignorant, ahistorical, violent, and dangerous language of Chicago Dyke March will not be mainstreamed.
Let us be crystal clear: Antisemitic bullying will not stop us from participating as Zionist activists for queer liberation. We will not allow our LGBTQ+ Jewish siblings to be forced into the closet as Jews and Zionists by a perversion of everything Pride stands for. Zioness will continue to show up, proudly and authentically, as both Zionists and progressives, as LGBTQ+ Americans and allies, as Jewish activists committed to liberation for all, no matter their ethnic identity or religious affiliation. Our Pride is a community led by principles of diversity, inclusion, tolerance and equality for all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, or national origin. Anything less harms the integrity of the movement which has seen such remarkable progress since its origins at Stonewall 51 years ago.
After 2 months of gross antisemitism appearing from every direction, and violent attacks on Jews being “justified” with reference to a geopolitical conflict thousands of miles away, we ask all Americans of conscience to understand this simple fact: attacks on Zionists are attacks on Jews. 95% of American Jews are committed Zionists in our belief that the Jewish people, like all oppressed peoples, are entitled to liberation and safety in a world that constantly displays contempt for Jewish life. Antisemitism unchecked will be antisemitism that divides and destroys the movements we care about.
This Pride weekend, please join us in celebrating the beautiful inclusion and diversity at the heart of the LGBTQ+ movement. Join us to celebrate each piece of our identities. Join us to fight for the real progressive values that are at the core of our Jewish identities, that demand our commitment to the liberation of us all.
Happy Pride and Shabbat Shalom.