The organizers of Friday’s “D.C. Dyke March,” a parade to celebrate LGBT Pride Month, have banned Gay Pride flags with a Jewish “Star of David” because they say it resembles the Israeli flag and evokes “violent nationalism.”
Writing in the Washington Blade, a Washington, DC, newspaper focusing on the LGBTQ community, Yael Horowitz and Rae Gaines — two self-described “Dykes … [and] self-loving Anti-Zionists” explain their reasons for the ban:
We are asking people to not bring nationalist symbols because violent nationalism does not fit with our vision of queer liberation. And because we need the march to be a space that is as welcoming to Palestinian Dykes as it is to Jewish Dykes. … The flag is a Star of David placed in the center, superimposed over a rainbow flag, and is almost entirely reminiscent of the Israeli flag, swapping out the blue and white for a rainbow.
The organizers say that the Star of David can be displayed in other ways — just not on a Gay Pride flag. They appear to have a particular problem with the “Jewish Pride Flag,” a rainbow flag with a white Star of David in the middle, and refer to events at the “Chicago Dyke March.”
It was there, in 2017, that marchers were ejected for wearing the Gay Pride flag with a Jewish star, which in turn drew publicity and condemnation to the exclusion of pro-Israel, or merely proudly Jewish, participants.
Lesbian Jewish activist A.J. Campbell wrote at Tablet:
I didn’t expect that to attend this year’s march, I would have to hide my Jewish identity. I didn’t come out of one closet just to be forced back into another.
As a proud Nice Jewish Girl, I have walked in the D.C. Pride Parade with a hundred or so other Jewish queers and their supporters, for years carrying the Jewish Pride flag, a rainbow flag with a Star of David at its center. I have manned booths at the parade with the flag draped over the table, and wore t-shirts with the image on it. Never once has anyone said a word. But in the back of my mind was the Chicago SlutWalk of 2017, when Jewish Queer women were asked to leave because they carried the very same flag, which organizers banned in solidarity with pro-Palestinian marchers, concerned that any flag with a Jewish star too closely resembled that of the state of Israel.
With that in mind, I reached out to the organizers of the D.C. Dyke March to make sure that they had a plan in place in case anyone tried to harass marchers who, like me, wanted to fly the flag of their gay Jewish pride. Their response was like a sucker punch to the gut: They told me that although Jews were welcomed to march, the Jewish Pride Flag was not.
The left-leaning Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has already condemned the D.C. Dyke March for its stance, according to the Jewish Journal:
“It is outrageous that in preparing to celebrate LGBTQ pride, the D.C. Dyke March is forbidding Jewish participants from carrying any flag or sign that includes the Star of David, which is universally recognized as a symbol of the Jewish people,” [ADL CEO Jonathan] Greenblatt said. “Banning the Star of David in their parade is anti-Semitic, plain and simple. The LGBTQ community and its supporters are diverse, and that is part of its tremendous strength. We call on the organizers to immediately reverse this policy.”
It is unclear whether any other national flags — including the American flag — are also being suppressed by the march. One organizer wrote to Campbell: “Palestinian symbols and Jewish symbols are both welcome and encouraged. However, Israeli symbols will not be welcome.”
Israel is the only country in the Middle East that protects LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights. Prime Minister Benjamin Nentayhu recently appointed Israel’s first openly gay minister, Amir Ohana. He will serve as interim justice minister until a new government is formed after the Sep. 17 elections.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.