Three marchers carrying pride flags adorned with the Star of David say they were asked to leave Chicago’s annual Dyke March this weekend because of the symbol.
They told the Windy City Times that members of the Dyke March Collective told them the flags “made people feel unsafe.”
"Sadly, our celebration of dyke, queer and, trans solidarity was partly overshadowed by our decision to ask three individuals carrying Israeli flags superimposed on rainbow flags to leave the rally,” march organizers posted on Twitter in response to the incident. “This decision was made after they repeatedly expressed support for Zionism during conversations with Dyke March Collective members."
One of the people carrying the flag with the Star of David who was asked to leave is Laurel Grauer, a manager at A Wider Bridge, an LGBT organization that advocates for “equality in Israel” and promotes ties between Americans and Israelis. Grauer said she felt harassed by people at the march for carrying her flag.
"They were telling me to leave because my flag was a trigger to people that they found offensive," Grauer told Windy City Times. "Prior to this [march] I had never been harassed or asked to leave and I had always carried the flag with me."
Shoshany-Anderson was also asked to leave the march. "I was here as a proud Jew in all of my identities," she told the Windy City Times. "The Dyke March is supposed to be intersectional. I don't know why my identity is excluded from that. I feel that, as a Jew, I am not welcome here."
Some social media users showed support of the Dyke March Collective’s decision to remove the flag bearers, accusing the marchers of pinkwashing, a term used by some activists for their idea that Israel's support for LGBT people is part of a broader campaign to win sympathy in comparison to Palestinians. Others are calling the explusion anti-Semitic. And Grauer’s organization, A Wider Bridge, is demanding the Dyke March Collective apologize for its actions.
Chicago was also the backdrop when in 2016 the annual Creating Change conference was marred by a protest, also involving A Wider Bridge. Protesters marched through the conference hotel, ultimately confronting participants and shutting down the Wider Bridge panel discussion. Protesters were accused of anti-Semitism for blocking the conversation and frightening participants, who said they worried for their safety.