Palestinian flags flew as a major focal point of the 22nd annual Chicago Dyke March on Saturday — one year after three lesbians carrying Jewish Pride flags were asked to leave the march, resulting in allegations of anti-Semitism.
"No pride in occupation, no pride in deportation!" were among the chants at this year's march, which the Windy City Times — an LGBT publication — characterized as "very pro-Palestinian," citing march organizers.
What did an official say about the march's pro-Palestinian focus?
Chicago Dyke March Collective representative Melisa Stephen echoed that sentiment in a separate interview with the paper, noting march officials "intend to uplift the struggles of Palestinians, abroad and locally."
"This year it has become more imperative than ever for our collective to raise awareness of the atrocities being continually committed by the state of Israel against the Palestinian people and build cross movement coalitions to ensure that our oppressions are not siloed and are in fact intersectional," she told the paper. "We do not consider this to be a one-time 'special theme' but rather an iteration of our longstanding core values."
Stephen noted that the Chicago Dyke March is "anti-racist" and told the Times that "all anti-racist work must inherently be anti-Zionist."
On last year's incident, she told the paper that "a few folks in attendance" upheld "politics and consequent behavior" that "were clearly at odds with our values and culminated in an unfortunate incident."
What are the details surrounding last year's 'unfortunate incident'?
Laurel Grauer said she and two others holding rainbow flags with the star of David embroidered in the center were told by march organizers to leave because the flags “made people feel unsafe.”
“They were telling me to leave because my flag was a trigger to people that they found offensive,” Grauer told the Windy City Times, adding that never before in “over a decade” of participating in the Dyke March had she been “harassed” by anyone while carrying the Jewish Pride flag.
“People asked me if I was a Zionist, and I said, ‘Yes, I do care about the state of Israel, but I also believe in a two-state solution and an independent Palestine,'” she recalled to the paper.
Grauer added to the Times that she isn’t quite sure how a group can pride itself on inclusion when it excludes others: “People are saying ‘You can be gay but not in this way.' We do not feel welcomed. We do not feel included.”
Eleanor Shoshany-Anderson, an Iranian Jew, told the paper she also got the boot.
“The Dyke March is supposed to be intersectional," she told the Times. "I don’t know why my identity is excluded from that."
The Times noted that people carrying the American flag also were confronted while those carrying other countries' flags — besides Israel — were left alone.
Here's a clip from this year's march:
(H/T: Arutz Sheva)