On April 15, thousands of Jews from around the country saw the importance of supporting Israel, the Jewish homeland, at a D.C. rally. As synagogues burn in France and political cartoons portray Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon eating limbs of Palestinian babies, the echoes of anti-Semitism are heard again, and Jewish-Americans will not turn the other cheek.
The rally was not about denying inhumanity of the Palestinians in their territories. But media coverage of the rally depicted the crowd as the faction of the crowd that booed during Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz’s speech was small indeed and does not represent every Jewish point of view. It is disgusting this moment is solely what is shown on the news and reported in the newspapers as representative of the day’s events.
The reality is that currently it is not an easy time to be a Jew in America or a supporter of Israel. April 15 was a day that gave the opportunity for Jewish Americans of every religious sect to stand proudly united in the expression of the need for the state of Israel. Without Israel, Judaism will lose a necessary, secure home. Jews have never been fully accepted in the Diaspora. One can look back to the violent pogroms in Russia in the mid-1850s and early 1900s, the massacre of the Nazi Holocaust or even political commentary such as Jesse Jackson’s mid-’80s reference to New York City as “Heimy town,” as examples supporting the necessity of a homeland for the Jewish people.
This is the true expression of the rally on April 15. As Jews throughout America and throughout the world felt under constant attack from unequal media coverage and shaky political support from America, the answer was to show united support for Israel.
Judaism’s existence is in a large part dependent upon the survival of Israel. It is about knowing that when a Jew needs refuge from persecution, the nation of Israel will be there with open arms, allowing any Jew to immigrate. Jewish Americans urgently support Israel’s survival because Israel means the continued existence of the Jewish people.