Over the past few months, American Jews have expressed increasing vulnerability and fear of attack in public places because of rising anti-Semitic violence stemming from the war between Israel and Gaza in May. In response, Jewish communities have come together to counter their discomfort with a strong showing of religious identity and unity.
One such demonstration, attended by thousands, was “No Fear: A Rally in Solidarity with the Jewish People” July 11 on the National Mall outside of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.
The gathering was co-sponsored and organized by over 100 Jewish and interfaith organizations, which funneled over 2,000 people to the rally. The pro-Israel organizations that co-sponsored and attended the event included The Jewish Federations of North America, the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee and leading Republican and Democratic Jewish groups. They came together to promote awareness about the imminent threat to Jewish people across the U.S. following anti-Semitic violence in such cities as Boston, Los Angeles, New York, parts of Europe and Israel.
Cheryl Dorchinsky, executive director of Americans United with Israel and Atlanta Israel Coalition, traveled to D.C. for the rally. In a phone interview with the AJT, she said that although it wasn’t an easy trek and the heat was challenging, it was wonderful to see the crowd. “The last big rally I experienced that invited many heads of organizations and individuals was the one in Atlanta, but this one was on a bigger scale.” The Atlanta rally she referenced was one of several demonstrations in Atlanta following the Israel-Gaza war in May.
One of the main organizers of the rally was Elisha Wiesel, son of the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel. “Looking out at all of you today it becomes clear that instead of dividing us, the enemies of the Jewish people, whether from the right or the left, at home or abroad, they have instead united us,” the younger Wiesel said at the rally, according to The Times of Israel.
“Here we stand, a coalition of Jews and our allies from all backgrounds, all political beliefs, and all religious affiliations, who have come together to stand up to antisemitism. This coalition will not be silenced whether Jews are facing violence in Los Angeles, or Brooklyn, or Paris or Tel Aviv. It won’t be silent whether Jews are being attacked in our synagogues, on our streets, on our campuses, or on the floor of the House of Representatives.”
Among the other speakers were the chairmen of opposing Jewish political groups: Former Sen. Norm Coleman for the Republican Jewish Coalition and former Congressman Ron Klein of the Jewish Democratic Council of America. They took the stage together to address the gathering, according to The Times of Israel.
TOI reported that Coleman said at the rally, “We stand united in the belief that each of us has a responsibility to call out antisemitism in the political arena, whether it is in our own party or whether it rears its ugly face on the other side of the aisle.”
Klein said, “Antisemitism has no place in America or anywhere in the world,” “From this day forward, we must continue to stand together in this fight.”
Noticeably missing from the gathering were some left-leaning Jewish organizations such as J Street, T’ruah and Americans for Peace Now. They declined to co-sponsor the rally, partly because of the participation by right-wing organizations, including the Zionist Organization of America and StandWithUs, TOI reported.
Despite the participation of partisan groups, Dorchinsky took a strong stance on the subject. “I want to make this clear: Israel is a human topic, not a political topic; being Jewish is a human topic and should not be tied to political issues.”
Disclosure: AJT Editor-Managing Publisher Kaylene Ladinsky is founder and president of Americans United with Israel.
- Stephanie Nissani
- National Mall
- U.S. Capitol
- Washington D.C.
- Cheryl Dorchinsky
- American Jewish Committee
- Republican Jewish groups
- Democratic Jewish groups
- Israel-Gaza war
- Elisha Wiesel
- Elie Wiesel
- Sen. Norm Coleman
- Republican Jewish Coalition
- Congressman Ron Klein
- Jewish Democratic Council of America
- Zionist Organization of America
- americans united with israel
- Jewish Federations of North America
- Anti-Defamation League
- The Times of Israel
- J Street
- House of Representatives
- Americans for Peace Now