Renata Kiss, FISM News
Amid rising antisemitism and pro-Hamas sentiments, support for Israel and the Jewish people remains strong in the U.S.
Tuesday marked perhaps the largest gathering of Jews in the United States, a large rally at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Organizers of the pro-Israel rally said 290,000 people attended the event, while another 250,000 watched on livestream, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
“We march for a light over darkness,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog said at the event. “We will heal, we will rise again, and we will build.”
Everyone from actors and musicians to politicians and college students took turns offering statements of support for Israel and condemnation for Hamas. It was a politically diverse group, yet the message was one of unity as the crowd chanted, “Bring them home,” “Let them go,” and “Never again!”
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) spoke at the event as well, responding to video footage from Hamas shown in the House that day.
“We wept as we watched the film together,” he said. “Most couldn’t sit through it. These Israeli hostages were kidnapped in their homes by barbaric Hamas terrorists for simply being Jewish and living in Israel.” Johnson called the idea of a ceasefire “outrageous” and added that “Israel will cease their counter-offensive when Hamas ceases to be a threat to the Jewish state.”
The event contrasted ongoing pro-Palestinian gatherings in both size and sentiment. Just a few weeks ago, tens of thousands of pro-Palestinians marched in D.C. to protest Israel’s retaliation in Gaza.
Their central message included calls for a ceasefire while accusing President Joe Biden of “backing a genocide” of the Palestinian people.
According to early November reports, over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s counter-offensive. However, reports have since confirmed that most of these fatalities occurred at the hands of Hamas terrorists who notoriously use Palestinian civilians and hospitals as human shields.
Nevertheless, protests in support of Palestine continue around the world and in the U.S., sometimes with less-than-peaceful outcomes.
Newsweek reported that a day after the pro-Israel rally, pro-Palestinian activists took to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters, “illegally and violently” calling for a ceasefire as they clashed with the police. Six officers suffered minor injuries, while one protester was arrested for assaulting a police officer.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, pro-ceasefire protesters blocked the San Francisco Bay Bridge, a key commuting route into the city that recently hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. According to organizers, about 200 people showed up to the event and demanded the U.S. end military aid to Israel.
Similarly, across the pond, the BBC reported that 300,000 pro-Palestinians marched through central London on Nov, 11, Armistice Day in the United Kingdom, for a ceasefire.
About 100 counter-protesters, including some far-right and antisemitic protesters, were arrested. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the violence and those who sang antisemitic chants.
These protests come as the U.S. has repeatedly confirmed support for Israel in its effort to eradicate the Hamas terrorist group from Gaza, despite growing tensions at home and abroad.