Event illuminates that Jews and supporters of Israel are unwelcome in the progressive movement.
On Saturday afternoon, approximately 150 progressive activists attended the annual SlutWalk Chicago. Billed as a rally in support of women and to end “sexual violence and the social codes of shame, silence and blame,” the event seemed more like an anti-Israel rally with women’s rights serving as a mere opening act.
Controversy surrounding SlutWalk Chicago began long before the first speaker grabbed the megaphone.
In June, three Jewish women were ejected from the Chicago Dyke March for carrying LGBTQ Pride flags featuring a Star of David. Organizers declared Dyke March an anti-Zionist event and removed the Jewish activists even though they did not display anything advocating for Israel. In solidarity with the Dyke March decision, SlutWalk Chicago originally banned the Star of David from their event. They later reversed that decision, stating, “Bring symbols of your respective faiths, if that is what you choose to do. Bring symbols of resistance, but leave symbols of nationalism and oppression at home.”
According to attorney Amanda Berman, Jews and supporters of Israel have found themselves unwelcome in the progressive movement.
“In the progressive Jewish community, it’s been very difficult to participate in progressive activism as a proud Jew and proud Zionist. We’ve been unwelcome for quite some time,” Berman told the Observer. “This year has been especially challenging, considering the Women’s March, support for BDS and this notion that Zionists can’t be feminists and Zionists can’t be progressive. Meanwhile, we are excluded based on our innate characteristics.”