Nearly 300,000 people rallied in Washington DC on November 14 at the March for Israel, calling for the release of hostages held by Hamas terrorists and condemning the October 7 onslaught with a cry of “Never Again.”
The March for Israel, held on November 14 in Washington DC, was attended by almost 300,000 people; hence, it has become the largest pro-Israel event in US history, reports The Times of Israel.
According to law enforcement officials, the Homeland Security Department designated the march a “Level 1” security event, the highest classification in its system, which meant the event required substantial law enforcement assistance from federal agencies.
Many demonstrators wore Israeli flags wrapped around their shoulders, flowing behind them, or held small Israeli flags in their hands. They condemned the October 7 attack of Hamas on Israel and were calling for the release of the hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke virtually at the event with a video link from the Western Wall in Jerusalem, demanding the return of the hostages held in Gaza and declaring that “Never Again is now.”
“Eighty years ago, Jews came out of Auschwitz and vowed ‘Never Again.’ As the blue and white flag was hoisted over our ancient homeland, we vowed ‘Never Again.’ Forty days ago, a terrorist army invaded the sovereign State of Israel and butchered hundreds upon hundreds of Israelis in the largest massacre since the Holocaust. Let us cry out, together: Never Again. Never Again is now,” he said.
“To march for the right of every Jew to live proudly and safely in America, in Israel and around the world. Above all, we come together to march for good over evil, for human morality over blood thirst. We march for light over darkness. “
In one of the most warmly received speeches, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries listed a history of persecution of the Jewish people through the ages, noting, “The Jewish people were violently expelled from the Middle East. The Jewish people were 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. So we are here, more than 100,000 strong, to unequivocally declare, Never Again. Never Again. Never Again. The State of Israel must always exist as a safe haven for the Jewish people.”
The US congressional leadership condemned the common phrase of pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel protests, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told the crowd. “When Hamas says from the river to the sea, they mean all the present-day Israel should be a Jewish-free land.”
US House Speaker Mike Johnson said, “We’ve heard many echoes of Hamas’s rallying cry, ‘From the river to the sea,’ and I’m convinced that a lot of these college students who are engaging in these protests do not understand that is an explicit call for the extermination of Israel… It is unacceptable for any political leader in this nation to give credence to this dangerous rhetoric,” referring to US House of Representatives Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib using the phrase.
“Israel will cease their counter-offensive when Hamas ceases to be a threat to the Jewish state,” Johnson said, describing the calls for a ceasefire as “outrageous.”
The Biden administration’s antisemitism envoy, Deborah Lipstadt, told the crowd that the US government “stands shoulder to shoulder against Jew-hatred,” adding that “when protesters chant ‘Peace and glory to the martyrs,’ that incites more hatred, more deaths.”
Relatives of the hostages taken captive by Hamas and other terror groups also addressed the demonstration, describing the time having passed since the kidnapping as “39 days in slow-motion torment.”
In a fiery speech, a Columbia University student described how over 100 professors have advocated for the destruction of Israel on her campus and said, “We are the Jews of the Diaspora; this is how we fight. We fight loudly, and we fight peacefully.
The demonstration, which was also seen by many as a message of gratitude to Biden for his strong support of Israel in its war against Hamas, came after multiple pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel protests in the US, as well as a sharp spike in antisemitism, particularly on college campuses.
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations CEO William Daroff said that a delegation of 900 people organised by the Jewish Federation of Detroit was unable to make it to the rally, as they were left stranded at the airport by their bus drivers, who refused to take them to a pro-Israel event.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin