The fifth annual Yom HaShoah Rally at the Iranian UN Mission in Manhattan took place on April 27. Hundreds gathered to highlight the dangers posed by the Iranian regime in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Public officials and community leaders spoke out about Iran’s nuclear weapons program and its sponsorship of global terror.
The event was organized by the Yom Hashoah Mobilization Committee, led by Lynne and Nessim Tammam, who also organized the four prior Yom HaShoah events at the Iranian Mission.
The opening words of event MC and veteran activist Jeff Wiesenfeld, “We will never be fooled by the designs of the government of Iran,” reflected a common theme in this year’s demonstration in light of the deals and charm offensive by the Iranian regime over the past year,
New York State Assemblyman, David Weprin, reflected on the easing of sanctions on Iran in reference to the negotiations by the P5+1, stating, “We need to be constant and [vigilant]. Sanctions were actually working. It’s important that sanctions continue. Diplomacy is no substitute with Iran.”
“Let us not be fooled by Iran,” declared New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who added, “It is the Iranians who are chief sponsors of terror around the world. Anyone who trusts Iran that they will give up their nuclear dream is foolish in my opinion.”
Regarding the recently elected Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, Hikind pointed to the dangers he presents despite his more moderate image. “Now we have Rouhani and he is more dangerous than Ahmadinejad. There is no question in my mind that the goal of Iranian government is to develop a nuclear weapon.”
Referring to the grassroots turnout at the rally without the backing of major establishment organizations, Hikind added, “While I wish there were rallies of major Jewish organizations, we need to continue to do our part.”
According to US congressional representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), a nuclear Iran is the “greatest threat to Israel and all people.” Maloney stated that while the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) has confirmed that Iran has given up half its 20-percent-enriched uranium, a nuclear Iran is still a danger since, “Iran is not ready to give up its capacity to enrich uranium. Israel and the world cannot rest easily unless Iran gives up its capacity to enrich uranium.”
Noted author, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, condemned the recent relief of sanctions on the Iranian regime, asking, “What is Iran going to do with that money? Will they use the money to build roads? No! They will use it to build bombs.” Boteach offered three prerequisites for the Iranian regime; they must repudiate their genocidal intentions, repudiate their nuclear intentions, and stop funding terror around the world.
Also among the speakers were Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Helen Freedman of Americans for a Safe Israel, and Alan Mazurek of the Zionist Organization of America. Rabbi Allen Schwartz of Congregation Ohab Zedek of Manhattan and Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov of Kehilat Sephardim in Queens led the concluding benedictions.
Regarding the event organizers, Nessim and Lynne Tammam, long-time activist Glenn Richter, one of the founders of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, stated that “they deserve extraordinary thanks from the Jewish community for doing what they are doing.”
A statement by the event’s organizer, Lynne Bursky Tammam, read, “it is not enough to shed tears at the memorials we attend each year in our shuls knowing that there is a determined foe of the Jewish people who has called for Israel’s annihilation. We feel very strongly that it is necessary that our voices be heard at the place that represents those who have been fomenting the demonization of Israel for years, who threaten Israel and the world with their nuclear ambitions. We must combine action with prayer and memorial.”
Along with the Yom HaShoah Mobilization Committee, the rally was supported by organizations including the National Council of Young Israel, Orthodox Union, United Against Nuclear Iran, the Zionist Organization of America, NY Association of Holocaust Survivors, Friends of Ateret Cohanim/Jerusalem Chai, AMCHA–Coalition for Jewish Concerns, Americans For a Safe Israel, and the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET). v