Last month, the Chicago Dyke March, a far-left alternative to the city’s main Pride parade, expelled several Jewish lesbians for carrying Jewish pride flags emblazoned with a Star of David. You can find links to the victims’ accounts and the reasons this discrimination was anti-Semitic here. At the time, the Dyke March’s officials claimed they were merely being “anti-Zionist” in expunging those brandishing Jewish stars, disingenuously conflating the ancient Jewish symbol with the modern Jewish state.
But if any doubt remained as to the true intentions of the March, they should be dispelled by its official Twitter feed, which went full white nationalist last night. (To be clear, far from a freelance operation, the Twitter account is listed on the March’s official Facebook page.) Unprompted, the March’s feed deployed the anti-Jewish slur “Zio,” originally popularized by former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke:
The term “Zio” has a very ugly history. The Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League have tracked Duke’s deployment of it in his anti-Semitic rants for years. Examples include “Zio control of Hollywood” and other traditional anti-Jewish conspiracies like “CNN Goldman Sachs and the Zio Matrix.” A cursory search of Duke’s web site for the term returns hundreds of unique results. Patrick Slattery, dubbed Duke’s “right hand man” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, runs a site called “Zio-Watch.” Even leftist British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, no one’s idea of a Zionist (and who has had his own controversial associations with anti-Semites), has said, “‘Zio’ is a vile epithet that follows in a long line of earlier such terms that have no place whatsoever in our party.”
Responses to the March’s tweet immediately noted the slur’s provenance, but far from apologizing for their mainstreaming an anti-Semitic expression, the March doubled down.
Wow, trying to compare a group of queer people of color to the KKK, so fucked up. and are you foreal @GlitterGutsy for liking that shit?
— Chicago Dyke March (@DykeMarchChi) July 14, 2017
Being a marginalized group does not grant you the right to use terms that other oppressors use.
— Rich Seviora (@RichSeviora) July 14, 2017
After reporters began inquiring about the tweet, the Dyke March attempted to hide the evidence by deleting it.
While this episode is disturbing, it is also clarifying. People who kick Jews out of their spaces for displaying Jewish symbols, then deploy neo-Nazi terms to defend their conduct are not “anti-Zionist.” They are “anti-Semitic.” Progressives and all people of good will should treat them as such.
Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.