newsU.S.-Israel Relations

Pro-Israel rally in NYC to counter anti-reformists hounding Netanyahu

"Somebody needs to get the message out that we American Jews support Israel and its democratically elected government."

People rally in New York in solidarity with Israel and against rising antisemitism, May 23, 2021. Photo by Ron Adar/Shutterstock.
People rally in New York in solidarity with Israel and against rising antisemitism, May 23, 2021. Photo by Ron Adar/Shutterstock.

Organizers are gearing up for a large demonstration in support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government scheduled for Thursday evening in New York.

The Stand With Israel gathering will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. outside the Regency Hotel at 540 Park Ave., where Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are staying during the U.N. General Assembly’s annual general debate.

Sponsoring organizations include AMCHA, Americans for a Safe Israel, Mothers Against Terrorism, The Legion, the Zionist Organization of America, Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), Americans for Peace and Tolerance, the Israel Independence Fund, the Jewish Leadership Project and Americans Against Antisemitism.

The counter-demonstration is being held while anti-government protesters hound the prime minister during his weeklong U.S. trip that took him to California and New York.

On Sunday, protesters from the UnXeptable movement projected an image of Netanyahu behind bars onto the abandoned prison on Alcatraz Island offshore from San Francisco. The image read: “Welcome to Alcatraz Bibi!”

Last week, they projected a message onto the U.N. headquarters in New York reading: “Don’t believe Crime Minister Netanyahu. Protect Israeli democracy.”

“The slogan projected on the U.N. building wall is just a small taste of what is awaiting the indicted defendant Netanyahu on his visit to NYC,” the protesters said in a statement. “We will be waiting to greet him. In the air, on land and at sea. The whole world will know that Netanyahu is a liar. We will not allow him to disgrace Israel and deceive world leaders with his speeches.”

Netanyahu lashed out on Sunday night against anti-judicial reform protesters, saying they are “joining forces with the PLO and Iran” in harming the Jewish state.

“The protesters have made blocking roads a normal event, refusal [to serve in the military] normal, and they are defaming Israel before the world,” said Netanyahu ahead of his departure for the United States.

“I was the head of the opposition, and I did not slander Israel before the world,” he added.

Members of Netanyahu’s Likud Party also criticized the anti-Netanyahu protests in the United States, with coalition whip Ofir Katz writing on X (formerly Twitter) that “factually, until today those who protested against representatives of the government abroad and in particular at the U.N. were Israel-haters, in demonstrations that were accompanied by PLO flags.”

Katz added, “Now they are leading to the same result—harm to the State of Israel.”

Lauri Regan, one of the chief organizers of Thursday’s pro-Israel event, told JNS, “The protest is going to be very positive. While their message is very negative—’Bibi is destroying democracy’—we’re going to have videos showing Israel intervening in tragedies across the world, helping to show the positive side.

“Israel is a beautiful, powerful force for democracy and peace in the world. And Israel has contributed unbelievably to the world. It needs to be recognized in the face of what I think these really ugly people are doing in the streets of New York,” she added.

Rallies in support of the Netanyahu coalition’s judicial reform efforts have also taken place in Israel, including an estimated 200,000 people converging on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv in July and a similar gathering held in Jerusalem in April that was attended by hundreds of thousands.

“Their message is anti-Bibi, under the guise of democracy, but it’s really anti-Bibi. And our message is pro-Israel,” Regan said.

“Somebody needs to go out there and get the message out that we American Jews support Israel and its democratically-elected government,” she said.

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