By: Fern Sidman
Angry demonstrators fire back.
As the world continues to demonize Israel for her role in defending her citizens in the Gaza flotilla debacle, livid Jewish demonstrators pushed back against the onslaught of invectives being hurled at the Jewish state in a rally that was staged on Tuesday evening, June 1st in front of the Turkish Consulate on E 46th Street and 1st Avenue, outside of the United Nations. Organized by the organization called RAJE, the Russian American Jewish Experience, over 300 rally attendees took to the streets in defense of Israel. Holding aloft such signs that read “Israel: We Stand With You,” “Gaza Peace Activists Don’t Use Clubs or Knives” and “Peace Activists Should Not Support Hamas,” the demonstrators held both Israeli and American flags and called for an end to Hamas terrorism.
Dovid Ha’Ivri of the Shromron Liaison office and a resident of the Israeli settlement of Tapuach said, “Any country in the world has a right to defend themselves and Israel is no different. Clearly, this purportedly “Free Gaza” flotilla was filled with Hamas supporters who refused to cooperate with the Israeli military. They had their own nefarious agenda and it’s just too bad that the lives of our commandos were put in jeopardy. Orders should have been given that the Mavi Marmara be sunk. Israel has nothing to apologize to the world for and certainly Turkey has no right to pass judgment on Israel after the Holocaust that they inflicted on the Armenian population.”
Just several blocks away in front of the Israeli Consulate, several thousand pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas supporters gathered for their own raucous demonstration in which they spewed forth their own inimitable brand of vitriol against Israel. “The Israelis are murderers and pirates and they should be tried for war crimes and genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza,” said Ahmed Wahad of the organization Al-Awda. Insisting that the mission of the flotilla activists was purely a humanitarian one, he denied allegations that the people on the Mavi Marmara brutally assaulted Israeli commandos as they descended on to the ship. “Look, the people in Gaza are suffering due to the inhumane Israeli blockade of food, medicine and other essential supplies and these people on the boat were victimized by the savage Israeli occupiers,” he continued.
Members of the anti-Israel contingent began marching down East 42nd Street towards Times Square shouting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “No more US tax dollars for Israel,” as they called for the end of the ‘occupation’ of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.
Video evidence of the incident reveals quite clearly that the Israeli commandos came aboard the boat peacefully, without the intention to inflict harm, when they were set upon by passengers wielding metal pipes, clubs and knives. Several pistols were stolen from the commandos and shots were fired as one commando was thrown overboard into a side boat.
“It’s really pretty simple. At one time such terrorist groups as Hamas and Hezbollah believed that the best way to destroy Israel was to murder our citizens either through conventional warfare or through suicidal terrorist attacks. They woke up and came to the conclusion that such actions only garner sympathy for Israel. Now, they are keenly cognizant of the fact that the war they are fighting is through the media and world opinion, so the best way to destroy us is to force us into a position to kill them,” said Meir Epstein, 52, of Monsey, NY who traveled down to attend the pro-Israel rally.
Across the street from the Turkish consulate stood Turkish nationals and members of the vehemently anti-Israel Neturei Karta movement who continued to berate Israel while leveling epithets laced with hatred at members of the pro-Israel contingent. “Murderers, occupiers and pirates” they shouted while calling for the annihilation of Israel. “Israel should not exist because it is a racist state and we oppose the Jewish character of the state. Why should the Jews have their own country, when the land that they live on was stolen from the Palestinians? A country composed of Jews cannot be a true democracy,” said Fagria Behar, a Turkish national.
The defiant pro-Israel faction continued to shout, “Am Yisroel Chai,” (the people of Israel live) and “We have the right to self-defense,” while police kept both sides separated behind barricades. “The fact that the UN saw fit to hold an emergency security council session to condemn Israel is nothing new,” said Ronn Torrosian, a renowned New York publicist and a board member of RAJE. “It is a cesspool of Jew hatred and what these so-called peace activists on the Turkish vessel pulled off was nothing short of a cleverly devised anti-Semitic lynching,” he added.
What best summed up the collective thoughts of the pro-Israel rally goers was a sign featuring an Israeli flag and the words under it: “It’s better to have a Jewish State that’s hated by the whole world than an Auschwitz that’s loved by it.”