James D. Besser |
Washington — In New York, leaders of the Jewish community made the decision to hold Monday’s massive pro-Israel rally on the Capitol grounds with only five days’ lead-time. And then they told Washington’s small army of Jewish representatives: Make it happen.
And that’s exactly what they did, coordinating everything from the 1,500 buses from up and down the East Coast to the 75 portable toilets and 10,000 bottles of water.
Washington will be filled to overflowing with assorted protesters over the weekend, and some promise to turn their attention to the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
More than 3,000 pro-Israel activists from around the country, a record number, are expected to gather for the AIPAC event, which traditionally sets the tone and establishes the themes for the pro-Israel movement.
by Adam Dickter & James D. Besser and Washington Correspondent |
Who got to speak, and who didn’t? That was the question among elected officials during Monday’s historic Israel rally in Washington. Given the length of some speeches, had everyone who sought inclusion been allowed to the podium, the rally might still be going.
With more than 100,000 in attendance and live coverage on C-Span, the rally was an ideal platform on the national stage — particularly for those representing Jewish or conservative Christian areas.
One day before the massive pro-Israel rally in Washington, some 2,500 Russian-speaking immigrants in a Brooklyn neighborhood put on their own show of solidarity.
In Brighton Beach, protesters held up signs in Russian and English and chanted pro-Israel slogans as they listened to rabbis and politicians. They then marched in the shadow of the overhead Q train tracks from Brighton Beach Avenue to a candlelighting vigil.
Washington — They came from Memphis and they came from Midwood. They bused in from Bayside and they rode the rails from Richmond. There were Hoosiers and Bluegrass Staters and a soul or two from Alaska who took a long day’s journey into the Lower 48 wearing their love of the Jewish state — and their fears over its future — on their sleeves.
James Besser |
Home Fires Spurning
by James D. Besser
A year ago, with a new Republican administration coming into office, Jewish groups were arming themselves for political trench warfare over a host of thorny close-to-home issues.
But the war on terrorism and the worsening emergency in Israel have shoved those issues into the deep freeze — so much so that some Jewish activists worry that the community’s interests will not be fully represented as Congress chugs along on the domestic front.