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June 18, 2019 6:13 am

The DC Dyke March: When the Oppressed Become the Oppressor

avatar by Harold Ohayon

Opinion

A Palestinian flag flies at Chicago’s 2017 Dyke March, following the exclusion of Jewish participants. Photo: Screenshot

It seems that a segment of the infamous Dyke March has once again exposed itself as being a bastion of hypocrisy and bigotry.

In theory, the group stands for equality, acceptance, and tolerance. After all, is that not the essence of the LGBT movement?

After countless years of oppression, persecution, and harassment, members of the LGBT community finally joined together to fight for a more open-minded and tolerant society. But alas, that is not the case anymore.

As with so many things in today’s day and age, anti-Israel fanaticism has seeped into an event that should stand above such things. The organizers of the Washington, DC Dyke March banned Israeli flags and Stars of David from their event, effectively isolating and segregating Israelis and Jews that are either members of the LGBT community or its allies.

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So much for tolerance and acceptance.

This constant assault on Israel in some quarters of the LGBT community is both fascinating and quite curious. While it is perfectly acceptable to debate Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, the Jewish state’s stance in regards to LGBT rights is something to be proud of.

While there is still much to do, Israel has continuously advanced in regard to LGBT rights. One only needs to look at the thriving gay community in Tel Aviv and elsewhere in the country to realize this truth.

Israel is the only Middle Eastern country to host annual gay pride parades. Members of its LGBT community are not arrested or molested because of their sexual identity, something that cannot be said of any of Israel’s neighbors. And this reality should be celebrated within the global LGBT community.

Israel serves as an island of safety and tolerance in a hostile regional sea. But instead of celebrating Israel’s achievements, a vocal segment of the LGBT community has openly sided with the Palestinians on all issues — a curious fact, seeing as how Palestinian society is extremely hostile, violent, and intolerant towards members of the LGBT community.

There have been reports of harassment, intimidation, and assault against members of the LGBT community in the Palestinian territories. And yet, certain LGBT groups overlook this and instead jump on the ever-popular anti-Israel bandwagon.

What made the decision by the organizers of the DC Dyke March even more egregious is the fact that they have allowed Palestinian flags to fly at previous rallies. If they wanted to remain true to the essence of the LGBT struggle, the Dyke March should have allowed Palestinian and Israeli flags to fly together as a sign of hope.

Palestinian, Israeli, Muslim, and Jewish members of the LGBT community should be able to stand together without letting the wider political conflict pollute the community. But the DC Dyke March organizers do not want unity. Nor do they want diversity. They have betrayed the symbolism of the very rainbow flag they so proudly wave. They have adopted a totalitarian mindset that refuses to allow or accept a diversity of opinions. Instead, the DC Dyke March has become just another anti-Israel mouthpiece.

Due to this hypocrisy, members of the LGBT community have lashed out against the DC Dyke March. And rightfully so.

The LGBT community already deals with issues pertaining to “othering” and exclusion. The actions of the Dyke March have basically “othered” Jewish and Israeli LGBT members, and have effectively pushed them into the metaphorical closet. This is unacceptable and must be continuously challenged.

And so, on the day that the Dyke March took to the streets of Washington earlier this month, a counter protest stood loudly and proudly waving rainbow and Star of David flags, and let themselves be seen and heard. In addition to this, several reports mentioned that a few celebrants managed to get into the Dyke March itself with the aforementioned banned flags.

Welcome news indeed.

In recent days, several other branches of the Dyke March have publicly stated that they would allow all flags to be waved at their events — Star of David flags included.

While it is admirable that the decision to ban Jewish pride flags by the Washington, DC branch of the Dyke March has been challenged on several fronts, it is important to realize that the struggle against anti-Israel elements within the LGBT movement is far from over.

As more and more LGBT groups continue to demonize Israel and accuse her of “pinkwashing,” it has become clear that a constant and concerted counter-push must be made by the pro-peace and pro-Israeli segments of the LGBT community.

If left unchecked, the toxic mindset that has corrupted several branches of the Dyke March will continue to spread and fester until the once welcoming LGBT community becomes the very oppressor they have spent lifetimes battling against.

Harold teaches junior high school students in Hokkaido, Japan. When not slaving away at school, he enjoys musing about politics, religion, and philosophy over Korean food.

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