Thursday, September 29th | 4 Tishri 5783

July 6, 2017 2:46 pm

We Must Call Out Activists’ Antisemitic Bigotry

avatar by Abraham Cooper


A Palestinian flag flies at Chicago’s 2017 Dyke March, where Jewish participants were excluded. Photo: Screenshot.

A good litmus test for the strength of a society is how it perceives and treats its minorities. In the United States, there was no more effective a proponent of equal rights for all than the late Martin Luther King, Jr.

King derived his moral power from a biblical vision of peace and justice, which — in the American vernacular — meant equal rights for African-Americans and all minorities.

Today, the struggle for that elusive level playing field extends to other issues, such as immigrant rights, and especially the LGBTQ community.

In recent years, gay pride parades have become a fixture in major cities in America, and around the world. These events publicly promote and celebrate the inclusion of all people — whatever their sexual orientation — and push for maximum rights and inclusion.

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In Istanbul, Turkey, 100,000 people marched in the 2014 gay pride parade. In 2017, the parade was outlawed by President Erdogan, as he continues his drive to Islamicize the once predominantly secular nation. As a result, police fired at the few dozen activists who tried to defy the ban and host a gay pride parade in Turkey.

In contrast, Tel Aviv hosted a huge gay pride parade a few weeks ago involving more than 200,000 people. In the Jewish state, gays serve openly in the military and are fully welcome and accepted in all aspects of society –such as the arts, business, politics and diplomacy.

In Tehran, there aren’t any gay pride parades. Gay people who dare to openly express their sexual identity in Iran often find themselves thrown off of rooftops, hung or “disappeared” into prison.

And there are many other countries, including Russia and Ukraine, where gays often fear for their lives.

So LGBTQ activists have their work cut out in the pursuit of global rights, equality and acceptance.

But the LGBTQ movement has not been well-served by a recent ugly incident at the Chicago Dyke March — where three Jewish women carrying the multicolored flag of the LGBTQ movement were told to leave the march because they had sewn in a Jewish Star of David.

The Jewish marchers were told that the presence of this central Jewish symbol “made people unsafe,” and that the march was “anti-Zionist” and “pro-Palestinian.”

Yet these progressive bigots insisted that they were not antisemitic.

But who else except an antisemite would feel threatened by the Star of David — an age-old, peaceful symbol of a faith and a people? Who else would support an ideology that denies the legitimacy of the presence of six million Jews living in a modern Jewish state? Who else but an antisemite would hold three women in Chicago collectively accountable for the alleged misdeeds (real or imagined) of other Jews who reside thousands of miles away?

That would be news to Israelis, whose families often hail from Morocco, India, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Libya. And it would be a real shocker to Yityish Aynaw, the first black Miss Israel, and the more than 100,000 other Ethiopian Jews who have returned to the Jewish state.

This white supremacist canard also comes about 75 years too late for six million European Jews. They were isolated, dehumanized and mass murdered by the Nazis’ white, Aryan, racist and genocidal regime, who apparently were unaware of the “whiteness” of their Jewish victims.

Far from being an aberration, the wholesale demonization of Israel, Zionists and Zionism that was seen at the Dyke March follows on the heels of others such as Linda Sarsour — the Palestinian-American political activist and national co-chair of the Women’s March. Sarsour, for instance, told The Nation that there is no room in the feminist movement for those who identify with Zionism.

Apparently the vision of a society based on “equality for all” isn’t something that these self-appointed gatekeepers of America’s progressive social agenda believe in.

The embrace of history’s oldest hate in the name of social justice is an abomination — and it helps explain the roaring silence when gays are executed in Iran or persecuted in Arab lands. In the final analysis, such unbridled hypocrisy diminishes and degrades the cause that claims “equality for all” as its ultimate goal.

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. — a great admirer of the Jewish state — say? I believe that he would issue a warning to bigots hiding beyond their progressive slogans. As he once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

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