A rally set to take place in Manhattan on Thursday evening seeks to counter incessant left-wing protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. It is expected to draw thousands, pro-Israel organizers in the city tell JNS.
The “Stand With Israel” gathering will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. outside the Loews Regency Hotel at Park Aveunue near East 61st Street, where Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are staying during the U.N. General Assembly’s annual general debate.
Hillary Barr, who spearheaded the initiative on behalf of Mothers Against Terrorism, told JNS she hopes not just Netanyahu but “all of New York City” will hear their “loud and proud” show of support.
“We’ve done a lot of rallies for Israel; during the [Second] Intifada; when they [Hamas terrorists] kidnapped the three boys in 2014; as well as protests outside the PLO mission,” she said. “This week, somebody reached out to us and asked: ‘These haters will harass Netanyahu all week long. Can’t you do something about it?'”
The anti-judicial reform protesters, many of whom flew in from Israel, fail to understand the damage they’re inflicting, charged Barr.
“When you’re in Israel and you want to protest, be my guest. But now you’re in New York. There’s “The Squad,” and we have an administration that isn’t favorable to us,” she said, referring to the group of progressive Democratic Congress members known for their anti-Israel stance.
“This morning, I spoke to an Israeli woman named Anat. I told her: I feel for you, whatever your stance is on judicial reform. But you’re not understanding the nuances, and giving the Squad ammunition to say: ‘Why should the U.S. give aid to Israel?'” said Barr.
Thursday’s rally will include music, prayers for the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces, as well as speeches to express gratitude for the Jewish state. Well-known attorney and Israel advocate Professor Alan Dershowitz has been confirmed as one of the speakers.
Sponsoring organizations include the Republican Jewish Coalition, Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), Americans for a Safe Israel and AMCHA-The Coalition for Jewish Concerns. The initiative also enjoys support from former New York state representative Dov Hikind and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.
The counterdemonstration is being held while anti-government protesters hound the Israeli prime minister during his week-long trip to California and New York.
In a video shared by the organizers of the rally, Jews and Israelis in New York can be seen protesting against Netanyahu’s legal reform agenda alongside activists with PLO flags.
“Whether you’re pro-reform or against the reform, join us and stand united with Israel. They kicked Israel’s ambassador, Gilad Erdan, out of the United Nations; they would never do that to any other ambassador. We need to stand together, whatever your political views are,” said Barr.
‘First international show of support’
Also on Thursday, Times Square was lit up by billboards in support of Netanyahu. The ads were put up by Tekuma 23, an Israel-based NGO founded by political activist Berale Crombie together with Likud Party Knesset member Avichay Boaron, the organization announced in a press release.
“It is important for everyone to know that the global Jewish community strengthens the prime minister, who is acting responsibly and protests the Israel Defense Forces and the State of Israel,” stated Crombie, adding that the billboards were paid for by members of New York’s Jewish community.
According to Tekuma 23, which previously organized several pro-judicial reform rallies in Israel, the campaign on Times Square marked the “first international show of support” from the world Jewish community for Netanyahu’s proposed changes to the judiciary.