- The Washington Times - Friday, June 7, 2019

The D.C. Dyke March, which is being billed as an all-inclusive celebration of underrepresented people, is banning Israeli and Jewish Pride flags but allowing Palestinian flags during Friday’s event.

The march, which is returning to Washington after a 12-year hiatus, is seeking to be more radical than its previous version, including LGBTQ people of various races, religions, socioeconomic classes and gender identities, organizers told The Washington Post.

However, pro-Zionist and “nationalist symbols,” including Israeli and Jewish Pride flags, will not be welcomed at the event, organizers said.

Yael Horowitz, a Jewish march organizer, said the ban is a protest against “nations that have specific oppressive tendencies.”

“If someone would show up with an American flag but with the stripes as a rainbow, we would treat it the same way,” she told The Post. “I think what’s getting erased here is pro-Israel and pro-Jewish are very different things.”

The Palestinian flag, however, will be permitted, she added.

“Jewish stars and other identifications and celebrations of Jewishness (yarmulkes, tallit, other expressions of Judaism or Jewishness) are welcome and encouraged,” Ms. Horowitz said in a Facebook message explaining the decision, The Post reported. “We do ask that participants not bring pro-Israel paraphernalia in solidarity with our queer Palestinian friends.”

March organizer Rae Gaines, who is also Jewish, told the Forward that Jewish Pride flags, which are rainbow flags with a Star of David in the middle, are also banned because they too closely resemble the Israel flag.

“The issue [with the Jewish Pride flag] is where the Star of David is positioned in a way that looks like an Israeli flag, it creates an unsafe space,” she said. “It really is a shame that Israel took this symbol of Judaism and turned it into this nationalist symbol. … I understand the Jewish pride flag is a symbol that a lot of Jews have come to embrace, but there are so many other Jewish symbols that we can use to express our Judaism, like a Star of David [on a necklace], like a yarmulke, a tallit.”

Banning Israeli symbols from events advertised as inclusive is not new. In 2017, the Chicago Dyke March came under fire after ejecting three pro-LGBTQ marchers who were waving Jewish Pride flags. Organizers defended their decidion by saying the ban was against Zionism, not Jews. Several organizations soon followed suit under the same argument, including Chicago SlutWalk.

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