Some 30 Jews and Christians gathered across the street from a Target store in Midtown Miami on June 1 to protest the retail corporation’s LGBTQ Pride merchandise for children.
There were also counterprotesters and a police presence outside the Target store in southern Florida. Among the protesters’ signs were those that read “Stop Grooming Our Children” and “Save the Children.”
“A lot of people think that this whole thing is people protesting against the gay community, which is not the case,” Jimmy Levy, an Israeli-American musician and an organizer of the rally, told JNS.
Levy said he wanted to bring Christians and Jews together for the rally, and hopes to inspire more people around the world to protest Target’s Pride merchandise for children.
The musician collaborated with Kurt Jantz—the rapper known as Forgiato Blow—on the song “Boycott Target,” which the two released on May 25 and which includes other rappers. The iTunes-topping song, and the June 1 protest, respond to Pride-themed children’s clothing that Target sells.
‘It’s about the children’
Michelle Terris, founder and president of JEXIT, which stands for Jews Exiting the Democratic Party, told JNS the rally was about protecting children.
“I love people of all walks of life,” she said. “You’re free to practice whatever your religion or culture is. This is about the children. They don’t need to know about sexual orientation. They need to be children. They need to be protected.”
JEXIT’s participation in the rally draws on its Jewish values, Terris told JNS.
“That’s all our religion is about. It’s about our children,” she said. “I have obligations as a strong leader in my faith and in God that the children come first.”
“My children are very proud that their mother stands for all children, not just her own,” Terris, a mother of two, added. “If we all did that, the world would be a better place.”
Her organization educates Jews “on the dangerous shift that the Democrat Party has taken.”
“It’s not that Jews have abandoned the Democratic Party. It’s that the Democrat Party has abandoned Jews, and we can see this today,” she said. “We are uniting with our Christian brothers and sisters for the Judeo-Christian principles that this country was founded by, which are rooted in the Torah. If we were following those principles, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Terris praised Levy for his song’s success on iTunes.
“The song, without a record label, beat Taylor Swift,” she said. “That should give you an idea of the climate and the temperature of what people want and where they stand. It’s not against any affiliation, orientation or religion. It’s about the children.”
“As a Jewish mom, I believe every Jewish family has an obligation to their children,” she added.
Target has offered products that celebrate Pride Month, held in June, for more than a decade. The retail giant removed some LGBTQ items from its stores recently, following a backlash from conservatives.
Target stated on May 24 that the company has received threats impacting its employees’ safety and well-being at work since introducing this year’s Pride collection.
“Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior,” it stated. “Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year.”
Bethany Mandel, a conservative writer, told JNS that Target is prioritizing its corporate equality index score, which the Human Rights Campaign Foundation issues, “and their public perception of being pro-LGBT, rather than their bottom line.”
Target’s stock has been dropping, recently snapping its largest losing streak in 23 years, MarketWatch reported.
“They’re feeling the heat,” Mandell said. “It seems like they’re making a really bad business decision that their shareholders may not be happy with in the long term.”
Mandel thinks that the protests against Target and Bud Light, which came under fire from conservatives for a transgender spokesperson, won’t be short-lived.
“American consumers are going to hold on to this memory and make their shopping decisions accordingly,” she said.