(JTA) — After a week of consultations with “Jewish and Palestinian community members,” organizers of a Chicago demonstration on behalf of women’s rights said they would allow religious symbol at its Aug. 12 event, but not “nationalist” ones.
“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,” SlutWalk Chicago posted Monday on its Facebook page.
“Let us be clear: the Star of David is welcome at our event, just as all symbols of faith and heritage are welcome. We are as firmly against anti-Semitism as we are against Islamophobia,” it also said.
The organizers’ statement on the issue came in the wake of a controversy surrounding the decision in June by the Chicago Dyke March, a separate group, to remove three Jewish women from an LGBTQ demonstration who carried rainbow Pride flags bearing the Star of David. Dyke March organizers said the women were advocating for Israel at an anti-Zionist event.
Under the SlutWalk policy, Jewish Pride flags will be permitted, but Israeli flags and all other national flags are not.
“SlutWalk is a day where people come together to fight back against rape culture,” the Facebook post read. “We can be proud of our own individual identities while doing so, but this is a march to stand firmly against the oppression people face because of patriarchy, rape culture, and inaccessibility to reproductive healthcare, not expressly a pride parade.”
The group also apologized for tweets supporting Dyke March’s decision to remove the three Jewish women .
“We also apologize for two retweets posted to the SlutWalk twitter last weekend that stated that the Magen David was always a Zionist symbol and could not be claimed as a symbol of Jewish pride outside of the context of Zionism. This is not a position that we as a collective stand behind, the person responsible for the retweets has removed themselves from the group, and we are no longer organizing with them pending an accountability process,” the apology said.
Haaretz reported Sunday, citing an organizer of the SlutWalk Chicago, that the group would welcome all participants at the Aug. 12 march who wish to protest sexual violence and the attitudes of shame and blame that surround it. The organizer, identified as Red, also said the collective needs to make amends to the Jewish community for past actions.
SlutWalk Chicago advocates against sexual violence and perceptions that women are to blame for the actions of sexual predators.