Over the weekend, Jews were ejected from Dyke March Chicago, a far-left alternative to the main Pride parade. Their crime? Carrying Jewish pride flags, which feature a star of David on a rainbow background. You can read the emotional testimony of one victim of this discrimination, an Iranian Jewish lesbian, here. The march claimed that the Jewish star was actually “Zionist” and thus “threatening” and “triggering” to their group. In actuality, this was a classic example of anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism. The march’s apologists have since attempted to obfuscate this basic truth, so it’s worth spelling out the bigotry at play:
1. The star of David is one of Judaism’s basic symbols. It dates back many centuries before the founding of the state of Israel. It is worn by all Jewish chaplains in the U.S. Army, and Nazis forced Jews across Europe to wear it to identify themselves. If one of Judaism’s classic symbols makes you feel “threatened,” the problem is with you, not the symbol.
2. Jews are not collectively accountable for the actions of all other Jews, any more than Muslims, African-Americans, or immigrants are. If you feel the need to interrogate every Jew and demand they denounce Israel (or any other Jews or Jewish actions) before allowing them into your space, you are a racist.
3. Medieval Christian Europe persecuted its Jews because it considered them responsible for the alleged acts of completely different Jews in the Middle East. The Chicago Dyke March just did the exact same thing to American Jews. While these people present themselves as the farthest thing from medieval theocracy, they are actually reenacting its worst pathologies. Being progressive does not insulate you from falling prey to bigotry anymore than being conservative does, which is why this particular expression of anti-Semitism continues to be a staple of even enlightened European discourse, from the BBC to Swedish public radio.
4. During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump shared an anti-Semitic meme on Twitter featuring a Jewish star. When confronted, he insisted it was not a Jewish star, but a sheriff’s star. Similarly, in the face of the obvious, the Chicago Dyke March insists that the Jewish star is actually an Israeli star. When you find yourself in the same Jewsplaining rabbit hole as Donald Trump, it’s time to rethink your life choices.
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Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.