Thousands Of Demonstrators Gather On National Mall In Support For Israel


LAGOS NOVEMBER 15TH (NEWSRANGERS)-Thousands of demonstrators descended onto the National Mall in the nation’s capital on Tuesday to express their support for Israel amid its war on Hamas, and to condemn antisemitism that has spiked amid the conflict.

D.C. officials ramped up security ahead of the rally, with multiple reports saying that up to 100,000 people were expected to be in attendance at the March for Israel. The event is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. on the National Mall.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) were among the featured speakers.

During his comments, Johnson denounced calls for a ceasefire in the war, which has been the focus of pro-Palestinian protestors who have rallied in DC in recent weeks.

“The calls for a ceasefire are outrageous,” he said, before the crowd then erupted in chants of “no ceasefire.”

“We stand with you in that Hamas terrorists waged the bloodiest assault on Jewish lives since the Holocaust and there are hundreds of hostages, many of them Americans still stuck inside Gaza,” he continued.

“Israel will cease their counter offensive when Hamas ceases to be a threat to the Jewish state.”

Actress Tovah Feldshuh opened the rally by condemning the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas that killed an estimated 1,200 people in Israel, saying “to lose a life is to lose a universe.”

“And as we stand shoulder to shoulder we transform thousands of our yahrzeit candles into one supernova of light and hope illuminating the memories of those we have lost and shedding light on the murderers who brought them to their death,” she said.

“We stand here firm against global antisemitism. We stand here firm in confrontation of antisemitism here in these United States.”

National Park Police and emergency responders had a large presence outside the gathering. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday that the Metropolitan Police Department will be assisted by the National Guard at some traffic points, as certain roads are closed for the event.

Schumer chanted “We stand with Israel” to kick off his remarks, and was followed by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) on the stage.

“And history shows that when antisemitism rears its ugly head if it’s not dealt with forcefully and directly, it grows into deadly force or deadly force,” Schumer said. “But my friends, history reminds us also of one thing, that even in its darkest days, the United States has always stood with Israel, and we will do everything to say that that never, ever changes.”

Schumer also condemned the phrase “from the river to the sea,” a slogan refers to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, which is seen by many as advocating for the removal of Israel to make way for a free Palestinian state. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) has used the phrase, drawing condemnation from both sides of the aisle.

“In fact, Hamas has said that what they did, the horror that they did on October 7 to the Jewish communities near the Gaza border, they should do to all Israelis,” Schumer said.

Jeffries led the crowd in chanting “never again” during his time at the podium.

“The Jewish people were violently expelled from the Middle East. The Jewish people was systematically murdered by the Nazi regime. The Jewish people were violently attacked by Hamas on October 7, resulting in the largest loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust,” Jeffries said.

“So we are here more than 100,000 people strong to unequivocally declare never again.”

After delivering their remarks, the bipartisan group of lawmakers stood on the stage holding hands and led the crowd in chanting, “We stand with Israel.”

CNN commentator Van Jones addressed the rally before the lawmakers, emphasizing rising antisemitism and calling for the release of the more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas on Oct. 7.

“Now if you’re not Jewish, you may not know this. But since October 7, there has been literally an explosion of violence against Jewish people, attacks against Jewish people, horrific acts of hatred against Jewish people,” Jones said.

“The Jewish community stood with the civil rights movement and I cannot be silent when Jews fall under attack today,” he added later on.

“Now, whatever our different political beliefs and views are about what’s happening overseas. You do not have to support all the policies of Israel to support and love and stand with all the people of Israel during a time of profound mourning.”

FBI director Christopher Wray warned of “historic” levels of antisemitism last month. Between Oct. 7 and Nov. 7, the Anti-Defamation League recorded 832 antisemitic incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment across the U.S, which it said marked a 316 percent increase from the same period last year.

Demonstrators in the crowd were holding up missing posters of those who were taken hostage by Hamas. Organizers played a video showing the faces of Israelis taken hostage and the crowd shouted, “Bring them home.”

Leaders of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus to Combat Antisemitism — Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) joined Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Kathy Manning (D-N.C.) — offered a prayer near the conclusion of the event for the hostages.

There was at least one smaller anti-Israel protest in the area. Dozens of members of the group Neturei Karta were protesting against Israel near the rally, surrounded by members of law enforcement. The ADL says the group “has a very extreme agenda and has regularly aligned with international anti-Semites, Islamic extremists and groups that advocate violence against Israel.”

A few people, holding Israeli flags, passed by the group, shouting vulgarities and in one case giving the middle finger.

On the edge of the rally, a small group held up a large Israeli flag, while one man stood in front of the flag, holding a poster that read “Free Palestine. A liberated land is a peace of land.” A man behind the flag began shouting at the counter-protester before the two engaged in an argument about free speech.

The Hill

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