I found this incident at a lesbian march in Chicago to be very disturbing. If you can’t read the article because you don’t subscribe to the NYT, the gist is that organizers of a lesbian march kicked out a couple of women who carried flags with a Star of David. Evidently, the purpose of the march was for lesbians to celebrate their identities. These women identified as Jewish lesbians.
So many of us are more than one thing. In fact, we all are. Part of life is to deal with the struggle to balance the often contradictory aspects of our natures.
The problem, as the organizers saw it, is that the state of Israel is an oppressor of Palestinians. Therefore, a Jewish lesbian who wants to celebrate both parts of her identity is not welcome in progressive feminism. She would have to deny part of her Self (in this case, hide the flag) if she wished to participate.
In this case, the women in question were not advocating for, or even supporting, the political policies of the State of Israel. They were declaring their Jewish-Lesbian identities. I’m pretty sure the Jewish religion does not condone homosexuality, which means that these women, like many of the “Christian” attendees in the march, have had to deal with disapproval and/or rejection from loved ones and religious figures.
Yet, they are Jewish, and happy to be so, despite the shortcomings of the religion. And let’s not forget, that in the case of Jews, the “Jewishness” is an ethnic identity as well as a religious one. It’s as if I were told I could not be Irish or Italian for the purposes of the march.
It’s a strange line to draw, in my opinion.
Imagine instead, a march where Jewish lesbian feminists walked along with Palestinian lesbian feminists. Because the fight in this march was not about government polices of war or aggression. It was about feminism and gay rights and identity. It was about forging bonds with others of similar, but maybe not identical, persuasions. It was about community.
As long as participants were not advocating for the destruction of another group, they should be able to participate. For example, I could see banning skin-head lesbians (if such exist) who deny the right of existence to lesbians of other colors or ethnicities. But Jewish lesbians are not at all represented in that category. Skin-heads choose to be that way. Jews are born. You’d think the gay community would understand the difference. The Left needs to get this stuff figured out, before we turn into the same bullies we are trying to displace.
ON THE ISSUE OF ISRAEL
I have my own opinions about Israel, mostly along the idea that a bunch of men from western nations had no right to carve up the globe to their preference after WWII, and that includes drawing lines in a country none of them lived in, and forcing the inhabitants to pick up and move out, because they were giving the land to other people.
I have no problem with the Jewish people having a state, especially after the horrors of the Holocaust. The world did indeed have to do something. And I completely understand the desire of the world’s Jews to have a place of their own once again. And yes, I know that the area of “Israel” used to be theirs. But after 2,000 years, it wasn’t theirs anymore, and it was the height of western arrogance to give it to them.
It was all wrapped up in that Judeo-Christian thing, where Christians have to admit that the Jewish god is also their god, and that Jews are the “chosen people.” Christians always struggle with the dichotomy of this Chosen-ness, against the idea that the Jews are “Christ-killers.” They really don’t “like” the Jews and would prefer they keep to themselves, but they’re afraid God will be mad if they act on that. So throughout history, Christians mostly tolerated Jews in their midst while practicing mild-to-medium prejudice and segregation.
Many times the prejudice boiled over and pogroms were enacted. Mostly these were ignored by the rest of the world. Hitler just went too far, while also trying to take over the world. This could not be ignored. And the extremeness of his actions required the rest of the world to make restitution to the Jews.
No argument from me. But again, it wasn’t our place to give them Palestine. Maybe we should have given the Jews Eastern Germany instead of letting Stalin have it. It would have been payment the Germans in particular owed to the Jews, and the Jews would have done a much better job of running the place.