Hundreds of pro-Israel community members rallied outside of the Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta Sunday to support the Jewish people.
The rally took place at the same spot where the week before hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters defaced the property of the building owned by Selig Enterprises where the Israeli consulate is based and the surrounding streets and sidewalks. They chanted “Death to Jews,” among other anti-Semitic slogans as smoke bombs filled the air.
The Israeli American Council, Americans United with Israel and other organizations coordinated Sunday’s rally in response to the staggering incidents of hate crimes against Jews across the U.S and to celebrate the recently negotiated ceasefire.
Cheryl Dorchinsky, executive director of Americans United with Israel, said that there were hundreds of Jewish and non-Jewish community members who came to support Israel and to protest the prevailing anti-Semitism on U.S. soil. “We wanted a peaceful rally that will counter all hate and violence that has prevailed for the past two weeks,” Dorchinsky said. Across the street, seven anti-Israel protesters countered the peaceful rally.
The Israel rally organizers made arrangements to have extra security and an Atlanta Police Department presence in case violence erupted. Dorchinsky insisted that the rally should take place where the previous anti-Israel protest took place as a response to their hatred. “Where you want to spread hate, we will spread love. And where you want to spread darkness, we want to spread light.”
During the rally, several speakers advised that if there happened to be some counter protester inciting violence, “we should sing loud and clear, ‘Am Israel Chai,’” which means the people of Israel live.
Dorchinsky said the rally was aimed at anti-Semitism and the spread of false misinformation. “We will not live in fear. We will not live in hate.”
During the past two weeks, anti-Semitic assaults surfaced in various U.S. cities and even Canada, including New-York, where a man wearing a kippah was fiercely beaten by a mob that was believed to be a mix of pro-Hamas and Black Lives Matter supporters. The incident also triggered a small explosion in New York’s Diamond District, reportedly set by pro-Palestinians and BLM supporters, with no injuries reported.
According to other news sources, New York Jews live in fear of wearing their symbolic religious emblems in public. Others have decided to remove the mezuzot from their homes. A synagogue in Skokie, Illinois, was vandalized and the cause of fire was suspected to be arson. In Los Angeles, diners were attacked for being Jewish.
Despite the bilateral ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, hate crimes against Jews have not come to a halt. Anti-Semitism has reached record highs since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Anat Sultan-Dadon, the consul general of Israel in Atlanta, was among those who spoke at the rally. “Israel has acted and will continue to act, not only in accordance with international law but also in line with the highest moral and Jewish principles which sanctifies life. … In the face of terror, Israel makes every possible effort to protect our civilians while going to great lengths in order to minimize Palestinians’” civilian casualties.
She continued, “While we have not only the right, but the duty to protect our children, the last thing we want to see is Palestinian children killed even if Hamas is intentionally placing them in harm’s way. No matter where you stand politically, you cannot morally refrain from condemning terror and terrorists. No matter where you stand politically, you cannot morally refrain from condemning anti-Semitism in all forms.”
Others in attendance also expressed their support for Israel’s right to defend itself, and to condemn terrorism and anti-Semitism. They included such organizations such as Christians United for Israel and Christian leaders such as pastors Jamal Baker and Jay Bailey. The Jewish community was also represented by Dov Wilker, regional director of American Jewish Committee of Atlanta and Lori Kagan Schwarz, co-chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.
Among the rabbinic speakers, Rabbi Ari Leubitz of the Atlanta Jewish Academy finished with a prayer and expressed gratitude to the police officers and security who came to shield the community as they rallied.
- Stephanie Nissani
- Community Partners
- Consulate General of Israel
- Israeli American Council
- Selig Enterprises
- Cheryl Dorchinsky
- American Jewish Committee
- Atlanta Police Department
- Anti-Defamation League
- Anat Sultan-Dadon
- Rabbi Ari Leubitz
- atlanta jewish academy
- Christians United for Israel
- Jamal Baker
- Jay Bailey
- Dov Wilker
- Lori Kagan Schwarz
- jewish federation of greater atlanta
- americans united with israel