July 17, 2006
10,000 Rally for Israel in NYC
[ From Judith: Pamela has a huge report with several videos and lots of pix. ]
An estimated 10,000 people gathered at 42nd Street and First Avenue in New York today to show their solidarity with Israel and hear speakers support Israel's defensive moves and blame Syria and Iran for ultimately controlling and causing the crisis.
Israel's UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman set the aggressive tone when he said, "This is a loud and clear message to that glass building [the UN] behind you -- let us finish the job." Gillerman responded directly to carping about whether Israel is using "disproportionate force" by saying "damn right we are, adding, "We will cut off the fingers of Hezbollah" and free the people of Lebanon from terrorist forces that have "raped" them.
Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel, shown below with New York Senator Hillary Clinton, touched a common theme: that Hamas and Hezbollah don't have territorial ambitions so much as an overriding desire to destroy Israel. He said "They are are believers in the cult of death and must be vanquished." Wiesel was heartened by Arab leaders' steps to place responsibility for the violence on Hamas.
Clinton attacked the "unwarranted and unprovoked attacks" on Israel, gaining some of the loudest cheers at the event, which was sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, and UJA-Federation of New York.
Clinton asked the audience to imagine Americans' response if missile attacks were launched against the U.S. from Mexico or Canada. "Would we stand pat or defend ourselves?" she asked.
Several speakers analyzed the war in terms of proxies, with Israel standing in for the democratic forces and Hamas and Hezbollah representing Syria and Iran. While all speakers voiced intense support for assertive Israeli action, few urged the democratic proxies to get more directly involved in the war. Almost nobody had specific ideas beyond support for Israel. One exception was New York congressman Eliot Engel, who called for sanctions against Syria in line with the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, which he co-sponsored several years ago.
"That's the only language they understand," Engel said of the Syrians.
New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler used stark language to counter comments that the war involved democracy or Israel's government.
"With all due respect, the issue is genocide and Jewish survival. The issue has very much been clarified," he asserted. "Sine when should a response to aggression and murder be proportionate? Colin Powell said aggression should be met with overwhelming force."
In addition to Jewish officials, the rally included Catholic, Protestant, and Chinese speakers (and a statement of support from a Turkish-American group), giving the event an ecumenical broadness. One noted that 3,000 members of the new group Christians United for Israel will gather in Washington, D.C. tomorrow to lobby Congress to support Israel. As one speaker noted, "This is not just a Jewish rally . . . what happens to Israel happens to all of us." Rev. Michael Faulkner (shown below) of Harlem's New Horizon Church, spoke, as he did at the recent rally to free Gilad Shalit. He picked up on a useful theme, the need to free Lebanon of terrorist influence, stating, "We want justice for Lebanon -- they want it, too."
The event also had appearances by Andrew Cuomo and Mark Green, who are running against each other in the Democratic primary for the New York Attorney General position. In the photo below, Cuomo speaks while Green dazzles the crowd with a cool "voguing" move.
Below, some of the press cameras at the event.
She beat the heat with her water bottle.
Some of the loudest cheers were for the wrap-up speaker, Guardian Angel head Curtis Sliwa.
Van | 07/17/06 at 03:20 PM | Categories: - The War of Dire Straits
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Tracked on July 17, 2006 07:30 PM
Thanks for the coverage, Van. And all the pictures.