US Jews plan historic March for Israel at National Mall Tuesday

It comes on the heels of numerous demonstrations across the country — some led by Jews — calling for an end to Israel’s retaliatory strikes in Gaza.

People hold flags and banners during a rally in support of Israel, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

(RNS) — American Jews and their allies are expected to rally en masse on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Tuesday (Nov. 14), to show their support for Israel following the deadly Hamas terrorist attacks along its southern border a month ago.

The March for Israel, coordinated by two of the largest Jewish organizations in the U.S. — the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — is expected to be a historic event drawing tens of thousands of Jews from across the country.

Members of Congress and senior members of the U.S. administration have been invited to speak, as have families of the 200+ people still being held hostage by Hamas.

Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America, said he expected to see a wide swath of U.S. Jews — both liberal, centrist and conservative — resolute in their support for Israel and for U.S. policy in the region since the Hamas massacre of as many as 1,200 people on Oct. 7 (a number revised down Friday by Israel from the initially reported 1,400).

Yeshiva University, the private Orthodox Jewish school with four campuses in New York City, has canceled classes that day. Buses from hundreds of Jewish synagogues and communities are expected to arrive in D.C. 

“We’re going to come together in large numbers and we’re going to show Congress and the president that the vast majority of the American people support their policies with regard to Israel and that we are not scared and we are not intimidated and America is not going to succumb to antisemitism,” Fingerhut said.

He also acknowledged the march is partly a response to numerous demonstrations across the country — some led by Jews — calling for an end to Israel’s retaliatory strikes in Gaza, which have reportedly killed more than 10,000 Palestinians.

Just last Saturday, the streets of Washington, D.C., were flooded with people attending what organizers claim is the largest pro-Palestine rally ever held on American soil. Protesters demanded a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, a “lifting of the siege on Gaza” and an end to U.S. aid to Israel.

“We knew that Congress was starting to hear from other voices,” Fingerhut said. “We want to make sure they heard from us.”

RELATED: Protesters occupy New York’s Grand Central to demand cease-fire in Gaza

The march was purposely planned for a Tuesday when members of Congress are expected to be back in session.

The event, from 1 to 3 p.m., will include a long “pre-show” with Israeli musicians, social media influencers and a “Rally for Students,” to show solidarity with young people who have faced antisemitism on campus.

A poll released Thursday by the Jewish Federations of North America showed that 72% of Jewish Americans and 32% of the general population believe there is a rise in antisemitism. Among Jewish Americans, 58% think it will only get worse. The poll was fielded between Oct. 29 and Nov. 1, after the Hamas attack.

Demonstrations led by two left-leaning Jewish groups have suggested to some that American Jews may not be united in their support for U.S. policies in the region. The groups, IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace, mounted some of the largest anti-Israel protests. They forced a shutdown of Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Oct. 27, and brought Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station and Highway 147 in Durham, North Carolina, to a standstill last week.

Fingerhut, however, suggested the majority of U.S. Jews stand with Israel. His organization, the largest Jewish philanthropic organization in the U.S., was able to raise $630 million for Israel in less than one month.

An October Harris Poll, with the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard, showed that 84% of U.S. voters support Israel over Hamas, and 88% believe Israel has a right to respond militarily against Hamas.

Fingerhut said the March on Israel will not focus on Israel’s embattled government or its policies.

“This was an attack that occurred in Israel in land that’s never been considered disputed territory,” Fingerhut said. “These brutal murders and massacres constitute the worst slaughter of Jews in the world since the Holocaust.”

RELATED: Faith-based groups’ protests for cease-fire in Gaza gain momentum


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