Over the weekend, Jennifer wrote about an incident at a gay pride march in Chicago that serves as the classic example of progressives eating their own. Laurel Grauer, a Jewish lesbian, was banned from the event. The Dyke March said that her rainbow flag with the Star of David on it was triggering other participants. As a result, she had to go. The organizer for the march said her flag “made people feel unsafe.” Oh, and that the event didn’t want to be confused as inadvertently or advertently expressing support for Zionism. Staff editor Bari Weiss is glad that the Dyke March put the kibosh on the Jewish stars, but it’s not for the reason you think. Weiss says it shows the dark side of intersectionality, which is popular among progressive circles. Frankly, the whole theory is rather insane, but let’s have her explain it—and why Jewish liberals are often left out in the cold among their fellow progressive peers. Hint: it has to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Intersectionality is the big idea of today’s progressive left. In theory, it’s the benign notion that every form of social oppression is linked to every other social oppression. This observation — coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw — sounds like just another way of rephrasing a slogan from a poster I had in college: My liberation is bound up with yours. That is, the fight for women’s rights is tied up with the fight for gay rights and civil rights and so forth. Who would dissent from the seductive notion of a global sisterhood?
Well, in practice, intersectionality functions as kind of caste system, in which people are judged according to how much their particular caste has suffered throughout history. Victimhood, in the intersectional way of seeing the world, is akin to sainthood; power and privilege are profane.
By that hierarchy, you might imagine that the Jewish people — enduring yet another wave of anti-Semitism here and abroad — should be registered as victims. Not quite.
Why? Largely because of Israel, the Jewish state, which today’s progressives see only as a vehicle for oppression of the Palestinians — no matter that Israel has repeatedly sought to meet Palestinian claims with peaceful compromise, and no matter that progressives hold no other country to the same standard. China may brutalize Buddhists in Tibet and Muslims in Xinjiang, while denying basic rights to the rest of its 1.3 billion citizens, but “woke” activists pushing intersectionality keep mum on all that.
One of the women who was asked to leave the Dyke March, Eleanor Shoshany Anderson, couldn’t understand why she was kicked out of an event that billed itself as intersectional. “The Dyke March is supposed to be intersectional,” she said. “I don’t know why my identity is excluded from that. I felt that, as a Jew, I am not welcome here.”
She isn’t. Because though intersectionality cloaks itself in the garb of humanism, it takes a Manichaean view of life in which there can only be oppressors and oppressed. To be a Jewish dyke, let alone one who deigns to support Israel, is a categorical impossibility, oppressor and oppressed in the same person.
That’s why the march organizers and their sympathizers are now trying to smear Ms. Grauer as some sort of right-wing provocateur. Their evidence: She works at an organization called A Wider Bridge, which connects the L.G.B.T.Q. Jewish community in America with the L.G.B.T.Q. community in Israel. The organizers are also making the spurious claim that the Jewish star is necessarily a symbol of Zionist oppression — a breathtaking claim to anyone who has ever seen a picture of a Jew forced to wear a yellow one under the Nazis.
Weiss then directed us to Ms. Anderson, who takes pride in the fact that she’s a gay Jew of Persian and German descent, and her account of why she got booted from the Dyke March. She said that organizers pointed at her in the park, obviously disconcerted by the pride flag with a Jewish star on it. she added that she tried “using their language,” explaining that she just wanted to be open about her identity.
“This is my intersection. I’m supposed to be able to celebrate here.” She was barred nonetheless for being Jewish. Weiss added that this incident should be a teachable moment for liberal Jews, who might not be welcomed with open arms among their left wing colleagues. She closed by saying, “That’s a warning for which to be grateful, even as it is a reminder that anti-Semitism remains as much a problem on the far-left as it is on the alt-right.”
First, that a flag made progressives wet themselves is both highly entertaining and sad. Second, what in the fresh hell is this? Gay Jewish people are not allowed to celebrate who they are because of Israel? Also, accusing Grauer of fanning the flames of right wing politics because she brings American and Israeli LGBT communities together is just insane. When will liberals get that Palestinians, and Muslims as a whole, are probably not the best coalition partners with the LGBT community. At least there’s an interaction between communities from far away places in what Grauer does. In the West Bank, all they can do is paint rainbow flags on the barrier walls, only to have them covered with white paint because homosexuality is not accepted with Palestinians. But please, tell us how gay Jewish people are the real problem, progressives.
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