The Chicago Dyke March Collective, which threw Jews out of its march last month for carrying LGBT Pride flags with a Star of David on, has been criticised for using a phrase popularised by Neo-Nazis.
On the Friday, the collective tweeted out pictures of the pop star Beyoncé, along with the phrase “Zio tears replenish my electrolytes!”
The term “Zio” was first popularised by the far-right, with antisemitic hate preachers such as former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke using it on a regular basis.
However, the term has since gained popularity on the far left. Last February, when Alex Chalmers, the co-chair of the Oxford University Labour Club, resigned, alleging antisemitism among the society’s members. The frequent use of the phrase “Zio” was one of his charges.
When Shami Chakrabarti published her inquiry into “antisemitism and other forms of racism” in the Labour party, she described the epithet as “a term of abuse, pure and simple, and should not in my view have any place in the vocabulary of Labour members, whether online, in conversation or anywhere else”. This recommendation has been adopted by the Labour party, and party members can be suspended for using the term.
The Dyke March collective initially responded angrily to criticism of their use of the phrase. When one tweeter described it as “reprehensible… Do you want to associate yourselves with the KKK? Because that's what you're doing”, the Dyke March response was: “Wow, trying to compare a group of queer people of color to the KKK, so f***ed up”.
However, when criticism grew, the collective deleted their tweet, saying:
“Sorry y'all! Definitely didn't know the violent history of the term. We meant Zionist/white tears replenish our electrolytes.”
However, as pointed out by another Twitter user, the majority of Israel’s Jews are of Middle Eastern heritage, rather than European – and that by identifying Israel as “white”, the Dyke March was “erasing” the existence of millions of Jews.