WASHINGTON (RNS) — Thousands of U.S. Jews and their allies rallied for Israel on the National Mall Tuesday (Nov. 14), in a single of the largest and most bipartisan D.C. marches in most fashionable memory.
The March for Israel brought collectively between 100,000 and 200,000 demonstrators, per organizers, who gathered in entrance of the U.S. Capitol in accordance with the Oct. 7 assault on Israel by Gaza militant crew Hamas, which killed 1,200 of us. Demonstrators and speakers loudly proclaimed their opposition to any dwell-fireplace in Israel’s big militia counteroffensive and demanded that the estimated 240 hostages taken by Hamas be freed.
“No dwell-fireplace,” the crowds shouted. Holding up posters of the hostages, they demanded, “Bring them home!” And declaring the long history of antisemitism and persecution of Jews, culminating within the Holocaust, they chanted, “By no map all once more!”
The three-hour principal occasion, towards a backdrop of fluttering U.S. and Israeli flags, featured an array of high Democratic and Republican lawmakers sharing an birth-air stage and even preserving hands. Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, newly minted Rental Speaker Mike Johnson and the Rental Democratic chief, Hakeem Jeffries, got right here collectively on the stage with Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa to expose that they’ve Israel’s encourage.
Several renowned that they flew to Israel days after the Oct. 7 assault to comfort Israelis of their time of distress and said they might be able to continue to rally for monetary and upright help as the Israeli military mounts its ground assault on Hamas.
U.S. Rental Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana, from left, Rental Minority Chief Hakeem Jeffries of Unusual York, Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer of Unusual York and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, right, be half of hands at the March for Israel on Nov. 14, 2023, on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Describe/Brand Schiefelbein)
“We stand with you and we is no longer going to relaxation until you salvage the total relief you wish,” said Schumer, who’s Jewish, sooner than main the crew in chants of “Am Yisrael Chai,” or “the of us of Israel stay.”
The march was once supposed as a response to a colossal want of demonstrations everywhere in the country and the enviornment — some led by Jews — calling for an slay to Israel’s retaliatory strikes in Gaza, which have reportedly killed extra than 11,000 Palestinians, leveled noteworthy of Gaza’s infrastructure and plunged the territory into a humanitarian disaster.
Excellent within the future earlier, a crew called Rabbis for Ceasefire convened birth air the Capitol. Other Jewish activist organizations equivalent to IfNotNow and Jewish Drawl for Peace have demonstrated in Unusual York City; Durham, North Carolina; and Philadelphia, amongst diversified areas.
Crowds detect as Rental Speaker Mike Johnson is projected on a display disguise disguise throughout the March for Israel, Nov. 14, 2023, on the National Mall in Washington. (RNS characterize/Jack Jenkins)
On the March for Israel, these pleas were roundly discredited. All over his speech, Johnson, an evangelical Christian, declared requires a dwell-fireplace to be “unsuitable.” The crowd erupted in response, with many spontaneously launching into one of many loudest chants of the day: “No dwell-fireplace! No dwell-fireplace!”
Rally speakers for essentially the most segment kept a long way from mention of Palestinians, Israel’s 56-year occupation of Palestinian land or its 16-year blockade of the Gaza Strip. Nor was once there mention of Israel’s govt leaders or of the failed peace alternate choices.
The rally was once organized by the Jewish Federations of North The US and the Convention of Presidents of Significant American Jewish Organizations, two of the largest and most centrist U.S. Jewish organizations.
In a expose to display disguise pan-Israel enhance, organizers invited televangelist John Hagee, an ardent Christian Zionist, whose Christians United for Israel sends millions of bucks to Israel. Hagee made no bones of his Christian detect that Israel is the success of God’s final knowing.
“Israel is no longer merely a narrate,” he said. “When millions of Zionists mention Israel, they don’t point out the handiest freedom-loving democracy. Israel is that this and additional. Israel is the apple of God’s glance. Israel is the intellectual city on the hill. God says of Israel, ‘Israel is my firstborn son Judah.’ Jerusalem is town of God. Jerusalem is the shoreline of eternity.”
The occasion also featured three households of hostages who addressed the crowds in withering, mournful phrases.
“Why?” asked Rachel Goldberg, the mother of 23-year-used Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who’s a hostage, presumably in Gaza’s underground tunnels. “Why is the enviornment accepting that 240 human beings from nearly 30 countries were stolen and buried alive? These kids of God differ in age from 9 months to 87 years. They’re Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindu. Why are they being left underground within the dirt?”
Organizers took unfamiliar security precautions for the occasion, surrounding the National Mall with sizable fences and requiring attendees to enter at particular checkpoints by metallic detectors.
Participants got right here from everywhere in the country by bus, dispute and airplane.
Brian Muni attends the March for Israel on the National Mall, Nov. 14, 2023, in Washington. (RNS characterize/Jack Jenkins)
Joshua Abrams of Rockville, Maryland, voiced ambivalence relating to the Israeli govt and framed his views as “fair a runt bit apolitical” in phrases of Israel. However he felt compelled to help the march in segment out of a decide to explicit harmony with fellow Jews, citing concerns about antisemitic threats going by Jewish of us worldwide.
“The object that terrifies me essentially the most is that Jews are a drop within the bucket within the ocean of humanity,” he said. “Jews are a extraordinarily little minority. … It’s essentially easy to snuff minorities out on memoir of there aren’t very many.”
As for Israel’s ongoing ground assault into Gaza, Abrams said the total scenario left him rather dismayed.
“I’m in prefer of peace, however at the same time, when there’s an existential chance that’s essentially main to the execute of innocents, what enact you enact?”
Brian Muni and his wife traveled from Nyack, Unusual York, for the occasion, citing their daughter — who no longer too long ago returned from Israel after living there for 3 years — as inspiration.
“We’re right here fair frequently in harmony for Judaism and Israel and humanity,” Muni said. He said the return of the hostages was once “paramount.”
Wrapped in an Israeli flag, Shira Shvartsman, a Brooklyn, Unusual York, native with Israeli citizenship, argued global criticism of Israel’s response to the Hamas assault on Oct. 7 is steadily rooted in forms of antisemitism.
Shira Shvartsman attends the March for Israel on the National Mall, Nov. 14, 2023, in Washington. (RNS characterize/Jack Jenkins)
“In phrases of Jews, we continuously have to articulate ourselves,” she said. “We continuously have to reward and clarify our actions, whether in retaliation or no longer. I deem that that’s rooted in antisemitism.”
As for the demand of dwell-fireplace, Shvartsman insisted the proposal doesn’t elevate the scenario faced by Israelis.
“I deem that of us calling for a dwell-fireplace per chance don’t fully imprint that if a dwell-fireplace occurs, that’s potentially the slay of Israel,” she said. “That doesn’t point out that anyone who’s towards the dwell-fireplace condones what’s occurring to the harmless of us in Gaza. I fair deem that Hamas got us to the point the place they left us no want. It hurts us too — it does, whether of us give it some conception or no longer.”
Sitting alongside the fringe of the occasion preserving a “Christians stand for Israel” be aware were Amy and Rick Bookwalter, a Catholic couple from Manassas, Virginia.
“I choice to the March for Lifestyles in January yearly, and this is a march for all times,” said Amy Bookwalter, referencing the anti-abortion rally that meets yearly on the National Mall. “I treasure the Jewish of us. I’m a gentile, obviously, however these are our brothers and sisters by adoption by Jesus.”
Rick and Amy Bookwalter help the March for Israel on the National Mall, Nov. 14, 2023, in Washington. (RNS characterize/Jack Jenkins)
She said she hoped their presence at the rally would stand as a symbol towards antisemitism.
“Hatred in the direction of Jews is good, and it’s heinous to the core, and it desires to terminate,” Amy Bookwalter said.