“MASSIVE TURNOUT AT SOLIDARITY RALLY FOR ISRAEL” by Fern Sidman

New York City’s East Side was transformed in to a sea of humanity as over 10,000 supporters of Israel gathered for a massive solidarity rally in front of the Israeli Consulate on East 42nd Street and Second Avenue. The crowd, sporting bright red baseball caps and carrying Israeli flags sprawled out on East 42nd Street, from Second Avenue all the way to Grand Central as they vocally expressed support for Israel’s military strike into Gaza. Organizers of the rally which included the UJA Federation of New York, The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations distributed the red baseball caps to participants to symbolize the “Code Red” signal and sirens that residents of Sderot, Israel hear 15 seconds before a Kassam rocket attack is about to occur.

New York Protest

Holding aloft signs declaring, “End The Terror”, “Israel Wants Peace, Hamas Wants War”, and “We Stand With Israel” among many others, the rally attendees represented the gamut of Jewish organizations and community centers including The Jewish Action Alliance, the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, Religious Zionists of America, the National Council of Young Israel, The Jewish Theological Seminary, The Union for Reform Judaism, the Baltimore Zionist District, the Westchester Jewish Conference, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, the Sephardic Community Center among many others.

New York Protest

“I traveled from Central New Jersey to be here today,” said Masha Kornblit. “I am here along with a formidable group of other supporters of Israel from my area to say to the world that Israel will not acquiesce to world pressure. We are a nation that seeks peace; we pray for peace every single day, but we will not allow terrorists to wreak havoc on our cities and towns.”

New York Protest

Between speeches from the sponsors of the rally and elected officials, the rally-goers also chanted, “Peace, Yes; Terror No” and “Am Yisroel Chai” (the nation of Israel lives), and “Never Again”; a reference to Israel’s endurance of constant rocket attacks by Hamas. Expressing indignation that Israel has been lambasted in the media for defending itself against rocket attacks launched from Gaza by Hamas militants into southern Israel, United States Senator Chuck Shumer pronounced, “”What country would be asked not to defend itself? Would any country that had rockets launched at it day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year be told, ‘Let the rockets continue’? Just sit down and talk? Israel calls and send text messages to residents of Gaza as well as dropping thousands of leaflets warning them to evacuate. What other country in the world does that?”

New York Protest

Many of the speakers took verbal swipes at the United Nations for pressuring Israel into a cease fire with Hamas without guaranteeing Israel’s long term security. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D) of New York said, “Over a million Israelis listen to sirens which give them 15 seconds to run for cover when Hamas initiated rocket attacks occur. Why is it that we don’t hear of any UN resolutions condemning Hamas? Why is the UN not calling for Hamas to lay down their weapons? Why is there a UN double standard when it comes to Israel? Why is Israel condemned for defending herself?” Speaking of congressional support for Israel during this war for it’s survival, Maloney continued, “On Friday, the United States Congress passed a resolution making it clear that Israel has a right to defend itself. In 2005, thousands of Israeli citizens were removed from their homes in Gaza in a gesture at attaining true peace with the Palestinians. Over the last 8 years over 10,000 rockets have been fired in to Israel, killing 28 and injuring over 7000. Since 2005, we have witnessed a 500 percent increase in rocket attacks launched from Gaza into Israel. ”

New York Protest

“For the last three and a half years, Israel’s been bombarded daily by a number of rockets coming from Gaza,” said New York State Governor David Paterson. “The founding charter of Hamas calls for the obliteration of the state of Israel and we are here to say, ‘No, Hamas, you will not destroy Israel because we extend our full support to our friend and ally.'”

Yeshaya Rosenblatt of Brooklyn said, “At this time, we are asking all Jews throughout the world to storm the gates of Heaven with their heartfelt prayers for the State of Israel; for in the end our victory or failure will depend on the will of our Creator. Without our reliance on Hashem (G-d of Israel) we are doomed to defeat. It is up to us to return to Him through prayer, learning Torah and scrupulously adhering to G-d’s commandments to us.”

New York Protest

New York State Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver addressed the issue of Hamas using Palestinian civilians as human shields, while the media engages in assigning blame to Israel for purportedly murdering innocent women and children. “Hamas militants are cowards who attack Israel with the goal of transforming it in to a huge bomb crater”, he said. “The twisted minds of Hamas terrorists allow them to use the Palestinian people as human shields. It is time that Israel end the constant terror. We say “Never Again” to terror and “Yes” to peace. The world must support the iron fist of the Israeli military as it clears Hamas out of its hiding places. World leaders must raise their voices and work to end the flow of arms to Hamas. When you stop Hamas, then you will stop the bloodshed.” he continued.

Citing the Iranian backing for Hamas, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) representing his predominantly Jewish constituency from Brooklyn said, “This was is not between Israel and the Palestinian people. This war is between Hamas and the civilized free world. Our future; our survival depends on whether we stand up for Israel in this Iranian proxy war. When we support Israel’s valiant efforts to stamp out terrorism, we validate our own right to do so as well.”

New York Protest

Echoing his sentiments was Malcolm Hoenlein, representing the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.”You can’t equate a terrorist entity such as Hamas with a sovereign state such as Israel that has a right and obligation to defend it’s citizens,” he ruefully observed. There is no moral equivalency here. Hamas is a proxy of Iran and the Iranian government has promulgated its credo that Jewish children throughout there world are legitimate targets for murder. Why is it that we hear nothing but deafening silence from the United Nations when it comes to proposing resolutions directed against Iran?”

Assuring the crowd that their participation at this event was not for naught, Asaf Sharif, Consul General of Israel in New York said, “Believe me, 10,000 voices of support for Israel in New York will be clearly heard in Sderot, Netivot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Be’er Sheva and throughout all of Israel. Our soldiers in Gaza will hear your voices too and our commitment not to remain silent will also be heard around the world.”

New York Protest

Speaking of her own experiences in Israel, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn intoned, “I want you to know that the members of the New York City Council support Israel in her quest to rid herself of incessant terrorist attacks. I have visited Israel and was present in Sderot when I had to take cover when a rocket attack was imminent,” she recalled. “It is clear that the media does not understand the fear and the constant violence that the residents of Sderot have to endure. Rockets have hit health crisis centers there as well as universities. Israel is a country where all people can be who they are, can express themselves openly without fear of government reprisals and for that we must support Israel.”

Between speakers, rabbinical students representing the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform branches of Judaism led the rally participants in the collective recitation of Tehillim (the Book of Psalms) asking that G-d protect His people Israel and help to thwart His enemies. The conclusion of the rally saw groups of people dancing in circles to the tunes of inspiring Hebrew songs calling for the eternal survival of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.

New York Protest

Across town, on Manhattan’s West Side, about 150 pro-Hamas supporters staged their own rally at Times Square before beginning their protest march up to Columbus Circle. Draped in Palestinian flags, the pro-Hamas supporters accused Israel of engaging in a “Holocaust” against Palestinian civilians; especially women and children. “The Zionist pariah enemy must stop its genocidal tactics in Gaza”, said Khalid Mohammed, 22, of Union City, New Jersey. As the demonstrators waved signs with pictures of dead and wounded children they chanted, “No justice, no Peace! Israel out of the Middle East.” Refusing to address the possibility that Hamas was using the Palestinian people, the organizers vociferously condemned the media for what they perceive to be “skewed coverage of the Gaza crisis in favor of Israel.”

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Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are pleased to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

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