A gay pride festival in Chicago, called “Dyke March,” that takes place annually before the official Gay Pride Parade took an ugly turn when a group of Jewish marchers was expelled for carrying a flag with the Star Of David on it. The reason, apparently, was that many at the parade were made uncomfortable by the presence of the universal symbol of Judaism. The march was considered pro-Palestinian and the flag, in the minds of its organizers, represented Zionism and thus a symbol of oppression.

Accusations of anti-Semitism

The expulsion of the Jewish LGBT marchers elicited charges of anti-Semitism on the part of the march’s organizers, reported the BBC.

The leaders of the march vehemently denied the accusation, claiming that they were only anti-Zionist. Zionism is a political philosophy that claims the ancient land of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people. The State of Israel was declared in 1948 and ever since has faced savage opposition by its Arab neighbors, including Palestinian Arabs who claim the region as their homeland.

The distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism has become somewhat blurred with many people expressing opposition to the State Of Israel and its policies exhibiting bigotry against Jews in general. That attitude could be seen as having been displayed at the Dyke March and its exclusion of Jews.

LGBT rights in Israel vs. the Palestinian territories

One of the marchers who was expelled was Laurel Grauer, an activist who supports LGBT rights in Israel. The Jewish state is the most advanced in the Middle East and indeed in Asia where it comes to gay rights and the tolerant treatment of LGBT people. While same-sex marriage is not performed inside Israel, marriages of that sort performed in foreign countries are recognized.

Openly gay people serve in the Israeli military without hindrance. Employment and housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited. Same sex adoption is restricted to certain circumstances.

The situation is vastly different in the Palestinian territories. While gay Palestinians are not subject to execution as LGBT people are elsewhere in the Middle East, such as Iran or Saudi Arabia, they are subjected to honor killings at the hands of their family members, a practice that is ignored by and large by the government authority.

Gay Palestinians have no civil rights protection. Often LGBT Palestinians attempt to flee to Israel for asylum.

When these facts were pointed out to the organizers of Dyke March, they dismissed them as “pinkwashing.” Pinkwashing is apparently a practice in which the Jews of Israel foster tolerance for LGBT people as a ploy to conceal their natural oppressiveness.