Tuesday saw a huge pro-Israel rally take over Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., which organizers say was in support of ongoing Israeli military efforts to free hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, and towards denouncing antisemitism in the US and globally.
Some reports estimate the crowd was nearly 300,000 people, as it filled the National Mall and stretched for several blocks. Jewish organizations had been active in bussing activist groups from cities across the east coast.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog addressed the crowd via live video feed. He said people from all over the US and world were in D.C. “to march for the babies, the boys and girls, women and men viciously held hostage by Hamas; to march for the right of every Jew to live proudly and safely in America, in Israel and all around the world.”
The march is being widely reported as the largest pro-Israel demonstration to occur anywhere since the killing of some 1,200-1,400 Jews in Hamas’ Oct.7 attacks:
Addressing the pro-Israel rally on Washington’s National Mall, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations CEO William Daroff says over 290,000 people are in attendance, making it the largest pro-Israel gathering in history.
He adds that more than 250,000 people have also been watching online and on C-SPAN.
US House Speaker Mike Johnson spoke in person, receiving loud cheers when he denounced any talk of ceasefire. He actually called the very idea of ceasefire at this point “outrageous.” He emphasized, “Israel will cease their counter-offensive when Hamas ceases to be a threat to the Jewish state.” The crowd then broke out into chants of “no ceasefire!”
Some critics said the march had the atmosphere of a “pro-war rally”…
As Speaker Johnson declares that “The calls for a ceasefire are outrageous,” the crowd starts chanting “no ceasefire.”
Difficult to see how a demonstration demanding that the carnage continues can be called anything other than a pro-war rally.
Also difficult to see how this… pic.twitter.com/BQYgTWlYxz
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) November 14, 2023
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also addressed the rally, saying “When Hamas says from the river to the sea, they mean all the present-day Israel should be a Jewish-free land.” He said: “We stand with you, and we will not rest until you get all the assistance you need.”
Many Evangelical pastors and leaders were also present. The Evangelical movement, and particularly those who have ‘end times’ Biblical prophecy as a primary doctrinal focus, represent a significant base of Israel’s unwavering support in America. Arguably the most controversial pastor to address Tuesday’s rally was Christians United For Israel’s Pastor John Hagee, who is based out of San Antonio.
— Pastor John Hagee (@PastorJohnHagee) November 14, 2023
“You, the leaders of Israel, and you alone, should determine how this war is going to be conducted and concluded,” Hagee told the cheering crowd. “You decide — no one else.”
He continued, “Choose Israel or Hamas,” and emphasized: “There is no middle ground in this conflict. You’re either for the Jewish people or you’re not.”
But Hagee has long been well-known to make incredibly controversial statements regarding the Jewish state, which he says Christians must support as a matter of dogma. For example:
Here’s #MarchForIsrael speaker John Hagee claiming, in a 2005 sermon broadcast internationally and sold by Hagee’s ministry, that Hitler was a “hunter” sent by God to chase Europe’s Jews to what is now Israel.https://t.co/dhGuatz8Gv
— Bruce Wilson (@brucewilson) November 14, 2023
Tuesday’s massive march comes after dozens of large pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the US and across major Western and global capitals have denounced Israel’s military operation as “genocidal”. These rallies have become particularly big in London. They have denounced Israel’s killing of well over 10,000 Palestinians (and now, the mostly civilian death has surpassed 11,200). However, strong supporters of Israel have often deemed these events ‘antisemitic’–and the Israeli government has also accused these marches of being “pro-Hamas”.
The D.C. event was considered a ‘high security’ situation, and Metro police were out in force. Earlier in the day it was reported that “The Department of Homeland Security has designated Tuesday’s March for Israel in Washington, D.C., as a ‘Level 1’ security event, the highest rating of risk assessment, sources tell ABC News.” But thankfully there appears to have been no significant security incident.
Tue, 11/14/2023 – 21:40