Several thousand people filled the sidewalks along Seventh Avenue from 40th to 42nd Street in Times Square on Sunday in support of Israel.
One of the organizers, Avi Posnick, regional coordinator NY Chapter of Stand With Us East Coast, said the rally demonstrates the power of social media. He pointed out that the annual outreach figures of Stand With Us on Facebook is usually 10 million, but that in the last three weeks their site has been accessed, “liked, or retweeted,” by nine million people.
The two-hour rally featured several speakers, including Rep. Eliot Engle (D-NY).
Posnick said the overall message was that “we are here to stand in solidarity with Israel and Israel has the right to defend itself, as it defends its citizens against terrorism.”
Posnick distributed copies of StandWithUs’ Hamas Charter booklet (http://bit.ly/1nP64U7). “I told people to make sure they are educators for Israel,” he said.
“Make sure you can educate people about what Hamas really believes; everyone needs to know what Hamas says and believes.”
Student Tomer Kornfeld, spoke about the need to support the IDF here as they protect us over there, said Posnick.
Posnick noted that a Jew from France spoke about “how bad it is in France for the Jewish Zionist community.” Mobs of Arabs burnt two Jewish-owned stores and firebombed a synagogue in France on Sunday, in a second day of violence against the Jewish community there.
The wife of Silvan Shalom, a member of Knesset and Minister for Regional Development, Minister for the Development of the Negev and Galilee and Minister of Energy and Water also spoke. She thanked everyone for being there and said that it was great to see such an outpouring of support for Israel. Israeli musician Gadi Elbaz sang at the rally.
The location, Times Square, is not a familiar site for Israel-oriented rallies.
“It was easy to get to,” noted Posnick. “People walking by could see the message, too, and see the support base for Israel. People came from throughout the tri-State area,” and that it was a remarkable turnout on such short notice.