Caption: No Fear rally, Deborah Friedman and Joshua Washington, Executive Director of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel
In response to the pro-Hamas rallies in May supporting Gaza rocket attacks against Israel, the Founder and Executive Director of Alliance for Israel, Melissa Landa, began to plan a rally to support the Jewish state on July 11th in Washington DC. When Elisha Weisel, son of famed Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel, heard of the plan he wanted to get involved and lend his support. His vision was for a big tent, to involve as many large Jewish organizations as possible, with smaller ones supporting as well. Vice Chair Deborah Friedman was key to NCCI’s involvement. Since the big tent concept has been problematic for our community, we did have the opportunity to discuss our concerns with Elisha and Melissa before the rally. We saw later that the anti-Israel JStreet would not be in attendance.
No Fear Rally Mixed Inspiration with Disappointment
Despite some uncertainty about the rally’s direction, a contingent of NCCI members went to swelter in the July heat of DC. It was encouraging to see that there were about 3000 others from across the country who came to support Israel and the Jewish people. We did miss a number of speakers since we were busy making contacts to help in our mission as we move forward. While we heard some inspiring speeches, we learned of others that were problematic because they focused very narrowly on certain “politically correct” forms of antisemitism. It was also disappointing to learn at the last minute that the rally organizers effectively watered down the focus on Jew hatred/antisemitism by adding what’s becoming standard wording about not tolerating racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, etc. In any case, we include here a few photographic highlights from our trip. Josh, Amy and Deborah were able to speak with Joshua Washington, Executive Director of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel. We are honored to share his words with you:
“Do not concede, do not concede. Don’t concede a single inch of your humanity. Don’t concede a single inch of your identity or your heritage because the moment you do that you have already lost.”