Pro-Israel Protesters Disrupt SlutWalk Chicago: 'We're Being Excluded'

Pro-Israel activists wave posters featuring the Star of David and boo Palestinian speaker at SlutWalk Chicago

Activists try to block pro-Israel protesters' banners at SlutWalk Chicago, August 12, 2017.
Taly Krupkin

CHICAGO - Pro-Israel activists disrupted the SlutWalk Chicago march on Saturday amid tensions over the use of Zionist and Jewish symbols.

A dozen activists calling themselves the Zioness movement showed up uninvited at the annual march that protests sexual violence. Upon learning of the activists' plans to attend, organizers said the group wasn't welcome and that the march is pro-Palestinian.

The Zioness activists gathered on the outskirts of the rally at first, holding up signs depicting a woman wearing the Star of David. But as the rally began, they mingled with the SlutWalk activists, holding up their banners behind the speakers. SlutWalk Chicago volunteers attempted to use red umbrellas to block posters. The result was a non-violent struggle, with each group trying to get its banners into the spotlight. 

The Zioness activists stayed silent and nodded in agreement as speakers addressed police brutality, rape culture and transgender rights, but booed during the speech of a Palestinian woman who criticized Zionism and the occupation.

An argument developed once the rally ended and hundreds of participants began to march in downtown Chicago. The pro-Israel activists attempted to march behind the main SlutWalk banner, and were met with resistance from other demonstrators. 

When the Zioness activists said that they were being excluded, someone answered "Why don't you organize your own march then?"

"A march just for Jews?" One activist replied. 

The march proceeded, but a few blocks into the walk, the Zioness banners were nowhere to be seen.