On June 24, as part of gay pride festivities taking place in cities around the world, an incident occurred at a “dyke march” in Chicago that rightfully caught the attention of people everywhere. A group of Jews who were attending the event with rainbow pride flags emblazoned with the Star of David were asked to leave.
There are at least two galling aspects to this incident. The first and most obvious is the unabashed bigotry of throwing people out of what is ostensibly a human rights march because they belong to an identifiable group. The second is the misrepresentation of victim and victimizer – Jews were asked to leave because some other participants might feel “triggered” or “unsafe.”
To understand the reasoning, such as it is, we need to recognize how concepts of minority and human rights have altered in recent years – and how these changes bode ill for Jews.
Among the varied forms of antisemitism is one that sees Jews as the embodiment of privilege. This is because antisemitism differs from many other forms of discrimination in part by how the perpetrators view their target. White supremacy, which also seems to be having a renaissance in the United States, is a strain of discrimination that allows the perpetrator to feel better about themselves by positioning themselves (in their minds) above members of another group. Antisemitism, at present at least, differs in that the perpetrators often attribute to Jews a sense of superiority. Review the comments section of almost any news story involving Jews and see how ubiquitous the term “Chosen people” is in the screeds of antisemites. There is a prevalent idea that Jews think they are better than other people – and deserve to be brought down a notch.
In Chicago, people who see themselves as victims turned what limited power they had onto a group that they miscategorized through a crude and racist ideological lens: the powerful Jews may oppress Palestinians and control Hollywood, Washington, the banks, the media and what not, but, at the very least, we can promote equality and justice by kicking them out of our dyke march. There is actually a logic to it, if you recognize the prejudiced reasoning behind it.
Economic inequality experienced by minorities, police violence, systemic discrimination, growing social intolerance, a rise of open racism and xenophobia and a vast range of other problems are real. The idea that anyone was “unsafe” because Jews were present in a lesbian march is not. This type of thinking diminishes the credibility of these movements. It also undermines the foundation of the entire social justice movement, which talks constantly about “allies.” When it comes to Jews, it seems, talk is all it is.