In a rally organized by Rubin Margules, president of the ZOA Brooklyn region, and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, over 2,000 people—Jews and non-Jews—came from all over the NYC area and gathered in Brighton Beach to show their support of Israel in the struggle against the Hamas terror organization.
The speakers ran the gamut of Jewish activism. Assemblyman Dov Hikind spoke of his recent visit to southern Israel, where he witnessed firsthand the everyday trauma that Israelis were experiencing on a daily basis. “Thank G‑d there are no sirens going off on 5th Ave or 13th Avenue. Americans don’t know what it’s like to run for cover.”
Malcom Hoenlein, chairman of the Conference of Presidents, spoke of how America has reacted in the past when they inadvertently killed innocents in Iraq or Afghanistan. No one ever mentioned civilians being killed in the “shock and awe” opening attack on Iraq or the drone attacks that killed wedding parties by mistake. No cries of war crimes were ever heard. It seems that Israel is held to a different standard. “Hamas exists to kill; Israel, sometimes, has to kill to exist.”
Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization, reminded the crowd: “If Hamas had not started launching missiles at Israeli cities, Israel would never have had a need to launch a defensive war. Israel always looks for peace, but as President Obama has said, Israel has a right to defend its civilians; but more importantly, we don’t need his permission. We have a G‑d-given, natural obligation to defend ourselves. The blame for the war and the civilian deaths is not Israel’s but Hamas’s. The ‘peace-loving’ Palestinian civilians have a dining room, a living room, a bedroom, and a missile room.”
Andrew Gross, political advisor to the Deputy Consul General, represented the State of Israel at the rally; he told the gathering how Hamas fires rockets from heavily populated areas, schools, hospitals, and mosques. We have no choice but to destroy these locations, and it is the fault of Hamas when they tell their people to stay, thinking of the PR battle over civilian deaths. Israel uses missiles to defend its citizens while Hamas uses Palestinian citizens to defend its missiles.
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, representing the Brighton Beach area, said, “Israel uses painstaking restraint not to harm civilians. We finally need to tell the world: enough.”
While there were many speakers in support of Israel, the rally was also treated to a pro-Israel concert the likes of which had not been heard in a long time. Benny Elbaz, Gershon Veroba, Sandy Shmueli, Galit Burg Michael, and Ron Eliran all gave of their time, performing gratis, just to come out and sing from their hearts to support Israel. The event ended with the performers singing together with many from the audience joining them in dancing on stage. ϖ