Pro-Palestinian Activists Force Resignations From Cincinnati Pride

Two prominent leaders of queer Jewish life in Cincinnati abruptly resigned from their positions with Cincinnati Pride after facing harassment and violent threats over their support for Israel.

Cincinnati Pride is a volunteer-run organization. One Jewish community member was a board member and director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, while their spouse was a member of a planning committee.

The threats began after a Northern Kentucky Pride event on June 2, when members of Cincinnati Socialists and DivestCinciPride were removed from the event after handing out antisemitic literature about the Israel-Hamas War. The flyers alleged the war is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “Final Solution” genocide against Palestinians.

“We do not use the term ‘Final Solution’ lightly,” wrote Cincinnati Socialists in a blog post. “As Hitler and the Nazis did with the Jewish people, Netanyahu and the IDF have forced Palestinians into open-air concentration camps where they are living in overcrowded, unsanitary areas with little to no basic resources.”

The Cincinnati Jewish Community Relations Council called the flyers Holocaust inversion.

“Language comparing Israel’s fight for self-preservation to Nazi Germany’s ‘Final Solution’ is a gross manipulation that trivializes the Holocaust,” the JCRC said in a statement. “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a complex territorial and national dispute, not an orchestrated attempt at genocide.”

The Cincinnati Socialists who were handing out the literature were removed from the event by NKY organizers. After that, Cincinnati Socialists began a public doxxing campaign in an Instagram post titled “Naming and Shaming Cincy Pride and NKY Pride Organizers.” 

Their Instagram post included pictures of the two in a public Instagram post that received nearly 1,500 likes. 

Numerous posts on the Cincinnati Socialists Instagram account feature antisemitic tropes, including blood libel around discussion of the Israel-Hamas war. 

The Cincinnati Socialists post also included criticism of an article the former dei director wrote for Cincy Jewfolk, in which they called for activists to show more empathy towards one another. They highlighted specific language they found problematic and noted instances in which they felt faced with antisemitism. 


In the aftermath of the post, the two began receiving threats. In a statement on Instagram, Cincinnati Pride acknowledged that: “Individuals and Organizations have targeted our board members, including [with] threats of violence.” 

The statement continued, “Due to these threats our Director of DEI resigned out of concerns for their personal safety. Their spouse who served on a committee also resigned due to the same concerns.”

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Cincinnati Pride statement leaves out an important detail: they were told they would be voted off the board if they didn’t resign. 

In their statement, the JCRC said that Cincinnati Pride succumbed to antisemitic pressure and did not stand up for or protect its Jewish members. 

“Under duress from these groups [Cincy Socialists and Divest Cinci Pride], the Cincinnati Pride Board of Directors made significant missteps, capitulating to antisemitic pressure. Instead, many members of Pride’s board pressured the targeted Jewish members to resign. This behavior undermines Cincinnati Pride’s principles and nondiscrimination policy, and –  intentionally or not – they emboldened antisemitic actors in their behavior.”

Cincinnati Pride did not comment on that claim and referred Cincy Jewfolk’s request for comment to the statement they posted on Instagram

Over the past several years, there has been an increase in antisemitism around Israel at numerous pride events across the country. Most notable was the banning of the Jewish pride flag, a rainbow flag with a star of David, at the D.C. Dyke March in 2019

In March, the executive director of A Wider Bridge, a queer Jewish advocacy organization, published an op-ed asking if Jews will feel safe at pride celebrations this year.

“As many Jews increasingly feel alienated and excluded from progressive spaces, we’re left to wonder: If I wear a Jewish symbol, march with a Jewish group, or wave a rainbow flag adorned with the Star of David, will I be safe at Pride?” wrote Ethan Felson.

“It’s imperative that Pride committees around the country proactively address these concerns. They must implement training programs focused on de-escalation and fostering an environment of understanding and respect.”

According to an American Jewish Committee survey released earlier on Monday, 85% of American Jews believe it is important for the U.S. to support Israel in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attacks, and 57 percent of Jews feel more connected to Israel since Oct. 7 than before. 

The JCRC acknowledged in its statement the complex differences between criticism of Israel and antisemitism. 

“While critique of Israel is not innately antisemitic, anti-Zionism, when it targets individuals for having any connection to Israel, often serves as a guise for antisemitic activity,” the statement said. “The pressure campaign seeking the Jewish board members’ resignation underscores the problematic nature of any policy or position that prevents individuals with a relationship to Israel from serving in any public role, because such efforts effectively ban normative Jewish involvement therein.”

Editor’s Note: The Jewish community members who resigned asked Cincy Jewefolk not to identify them and declined to comment further.