Elster's World

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rally For Israel

Today during lunch I attended the The Standing Together With the People of Israel Solidarity Rally on 47th Street between first and second Avenues. And yes, that's quite a mouthful. I guess We Are All Gathered Here Today To Show Our Support For Israel, Our Hatred Of Iran, To Support The Missing Soldiers And To See All Of Our Friends From Camp was already taken. You can see the flyer for the rally here.

The rally's purpose, sponsored by the entire spectrum of orthodoxy (including, of course, the ever important bangitout.com), was twofold; it was (i) a cry against Iranian president Ahmajejadenbejahjerdan and terrorism against Isreal in general as well as (ii) a show of support for Israel.

I think these rallys serve little purpose outside of public relations victories (or defeats, when only Rabbi Avi Weiss and seven of his most loyal followers show up), but I also feel that certain rallys are more important than others. This rally was considered a MAJOR rally by the Jewish powers that be - important enough that all of the usual suspect yeshivah high schools bussed in their students (more on that in a minute). The local rabbanim in my neighborhood were pushing it hard (including one rabbi who said, sure Ahmajegdamshedf is a nut - but so was Hitler. Imagine, he said, if Hitler would have come to speak at the UN in 1936. Would the jews of America have stood outside and raised their voices? This man denies the Holocaust. He is calling for Israel, a memebr of the UN, to be wiped off the map. Yet he is invited to speak there? How then, can we not raise our voices in protest? - Some very solid points if you ask me, and well worth y Wednesday afternoon lunch hour).

The rally itself was the usual jewish person's event. Eclectic speakers ranging from the wife of one of the kidnapped soldiers to a preacher from Harlem who did everything but scream "Can I get an amen my brothers?". Incidentally, he was my favorite speaker. It was filled with hundreds, nay thousands of shreiking high school girls. I was jostled and bumped about like a piece of wood plank in an ocean tempest.

And let's not forget the inevitable appearance from our friends the Neturei Karta - which supposedly started a near riot at one point, forcing the police to get involved. With Jews like these, who needs enemies?

Regarding the bussing in of high school kids. Despite the fact that all they don't listen to a word of the speeches, are generally disruptive and don't take these events seriously (they are like giant camp reunions to these vapid teens) I am all for them being there. As I said before, these rallys are all about how many people showed up? Better to say 10,000 than 4,000. Incidentally, seeing the next generation acting like a bunch of idiots in public scares the crap out of me - these are our future??? - until I remember that I probbaly acted the same way when I was in 10th grade (though I had shorter, less bushy, hair).

Speaking of which, I have no idea what the guesstimates were on the final tally, but the turnout seemed pretty big to me. 47th between 1st and 2nd were jammed with people, even spilling over to between 2nd and 3rd. Also, more people were streaming in at 1:00 as we were leaving.


  • Awesome post. I wish I had been there.

    By Blogger Sara, at 5:16 PM  

  • "I think these rallys serve little purpose outside of public relations victories"

    I'm not sure that this rally will have a significant effect, but I otherwise disagree. I believe strongly - and perhaps I am the only one who believes this - that the 2002 DC rally was responsible for saving hundreds of Israeli lives.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 6:27 PM  

  • Hey look another Sara with no h. I think this rally was full of excitement. I especially enjoyed that one girl that had no shirt on and was painted like the israeli flag. What a lovely portrayal of our people, huh? Other than that (did you sense the sarcasm?) I think anything that brings this many jewish people together in the same place is meaningful in itself. It shows the unity of the jewish people.

    By Blogger Sara with NO H, at 10:09 PM  

  • Sara - From what i could see, a good time was had byt all. And isn't that really what a protest rally is all about?

    Joe - Please explain. I was at the 2002 rally by the way.

    Sara wmh - Unity of the Jewish people is rare these days. Jews have trouble unifying about anyhting. And it takes all kinds - from shirtless flag painters to men in bekishers - we have always to remember that we have more in common with each other, no matter our differences, then we do with the goyim.

    By Blogger Elster, at 9:22 AM  

  • The 2002 rally was a factor in the pro-Israel shift of the Bush Administration, specifically Bush's support for Israel's war against terror. Prior to the rally, Bush was demanding that Israel withdraw from cities in Judea and Samaria, and his administration was insisting that Israel had to talk with Arafat, and that Palestinian terror was not the same thing as al Queda terror.

    The massive crowd in Capitol Hill and the interruptions of Wolfowitz's speech (of which I was a proud and vocal participant from my place all the way in front) all had the desired effect.

    Alas, most Jewish rallies are similar to pro golf, the only political rallies in which quiet and politeness are demanded.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 10:18 AM  

  • joe- love the comparison :-)

    great rally, but the niturai karta always have to stir things up. it makes me sick... looks so bad

    By Blogger bellanny, at 8:31 PM  

  • kesivah v'chasima tova to you and yours.

    By Blogger Sara with NO H, at 10:17 AM  

  • Joe - Perhaps you are correct. i guess it's really impossible to know if the rally really shifted policy. We will haver to wait for the president's tell all book.

    Bell - Everyone has the right to their beliefs. What I fiond offensive is that NK feels the need to publcize it AT pro-Israel rally - causing ppl to see Jew against Jew strife - which doesnt look dgood for anyone.

    Sara - I wish that same bracha right back at you - to you and yours. Thanks you for your words.

    By Blogger Elster, at 11:00 AM  

  • 1. No president will remember a rally of this sort, or acknowledge it had any effect.

    2. Everyone does not have a "right to their beliefs." In the case of NK, those beliefs are submitted to the world in an effort to support those who mass murder Jews, and those who seek to do so.

    While I am not a rabbi, it's likely that NK's leaders are subject to din rodef; of course, American law does not permit implementation of the appropriate sanction.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 12:30 PM  

  • True. I will be the first to agree with you. The NK make me sick that "Jews" would turn against other Jews like that after out history with persecution. My Dad showed me a clip from CBS of the Nk meeeting with the Iran pres. After 2 min. i had to leave cuz it was tearing me up inside. they are even going so far as to rewrite the Holocaust. That's all for now maybe I will post just to vent.

    By Blogger bellanny, at 9:42 PM  

  • Let me amend that. In a secular world they have a right to their beliefs, but not in a Jewish world. If you try to help along a country that is murdering Jews then they are no longer Jews to me. Let them show up, but not dressed as Jews.

    By Blogger bellanny, at 9:46 PM  

  • Let me amend my statement as well.

    1) I was joking abt the book. 2) In the context of America, they have the right to their beliefs, not perhaps within the world of Judaism (though they would of course argue that they have the correct jewish position and will even bring sources to back up the claim that no Jews should be running the govenment of Israel). My point was more the second half - that their public opposition does MUCH more harm than god,whether they are correct or incorrect.

    By Blogger Elster, at 9:34 AM  

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