Human Rights

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D.C. Dyke March Bans Jewish Symbols on Pride Flags

Organizers of a gay pride parade in Washington, D.C. have come under fire for banning Jewish rainbow flags adorned with the Star of David, which they said too closely resembles the flag of Israel, from its Friday event.

While the Dyke March is supposed to be a celebration of inclusiveness, organizer Rae Gaines told the Forward that for Jews to be accepted in this circle, they must openly disavow Israel or else face exclusion from the event.

Gaines noted that symbols banned from the march include “Israeli flags, as well as flags that resemble Israeli flags, such as a pride flag with a Star of David in the middle.” She charged those symbols “create an unsafe space” for participants.

She slammed Israel for taking “this symbol of Judaism and turn[ing] it into this nationalist symbol.”

Gaines clarified that while Israeli and American flags were strictly banned, Palestinian symbols would be welcomed at the march.

The Israeli flag represents a “settler colonial government, a lot of violence against Palestinians, a lot of things that I don’t want at this march,” her co-organizer Yael Horowitz said.

The march, which took place in Washington, D.C. after a 12-year hiatus, is not affiliated with the annual Pride Parade.

Jewish groups condemned the ban, citing anti-Semitism and saying it sowed division within the LGBTQ community. “Banning the Star of David in their parade is anti-Semitic, plain and simple,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.

The expulsion of visibly Jewish participants from the Dyke March recalls an incident from January 2016, when a Sabbath service at an LGBTQ event in Chicago was shut down by anti-Israel protesters.

At the annual LGBTQ march in Chicago in 2017, organizers of the event demanded that Jewish participants leave because they carried a rainbow flag superimposed with a Star of David.

[Photo: Tom Morris / Wikimedia Commons]