(JTA) — About a dozen activists from the “Zioness” initiative attempted to participate in SlutWalk Chicago.
The group, which calls itself progressive and Zionist, had announced prior to Saturday’s demonstration that they would join in the annual demonstration against sexual violence to promote the idea that Zionism and liberal values are compatible.
SlutWalk Chicago organizers said prior to the march that they did not support the participation of the new Zioness initiative.
“SlutWalk Chicago does not support the ‘Zioness progressives’ planning on coming to the walk Saturday. We at SlutWalk Chicago stand with Jewish people, just as we stand for Palestinian human rights. Those two ideologies can exist in the same realm, and taking a stance against anti-Semitism is not an affirmation of support for the state of Israel and its occupation of Palestine,” the group wrote on its Facebook page.
The women joined the initial rally in a local park, carrying signs depicting a woman wearing a Star of David necklace and some wearing rainbow-colored T-shirts emblazoned with a Star of David, according to reports. During the rally, when the Zioness women waved their signs, SlutWalk participants would block them from view with the red umbrellas they were carrying, the symbol of solidarity with sex workers.
At the end of the speeches, which concluded with a Palestinian activist telling the crowd “you cannot be a Zionist and feminist,” the crowd began chanting “Free Palestine,” the Windy City Times reported.
Organizers of the SlutWalk initially said that they would ban Stars of David from the event, but later altered their policy to allow religious symbols but not national flags.
The SlutWalk policy came in the wake of a controversy over the Chicago Dyke March in June, when three Jewish participants at the LGBTQ demonstration were ejected for carrying LGBTQ Pride flags adorned with the Star of David. Dyke March organizers said the women were advocating for Israel at an anti-Zionist event.