Bostonians rally for Israel amid Gaza operation
By MELANIE LIDMAN
Joint effort organized by synagogues, schools, and Jewish NGOs show solidarity for Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense.
Approximately 1,000 people rallied in Boston on Monday evening to show their
support for Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense – one of many pro-Israel
solidarity events held across the region and across the country.
event was a joint effort organized by a dozen synagogues, schools, and Jewish
nonprofit organizations: the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Jewish
Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, J Street, the Anti- Defamation
League, AIPAC, CAMERA, The David Project, AJC Global Jewish Advocacy, Congregation Mishkan Tefila and the Union for Reform Judaism among others.
“Part of the reason for the rally is
there’s a battle for American public opinion and world opinion, and we play a
part in that battle,” said Rabbi David Lerner of Temple Emunah in Lexington, one
of the congregations co-sponsoring the event.
“It’s a statement to our
sisters and brothers and cousins in Israel that we’re supportive and we feel
your pain,” he said.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D), a close
associate of President Barack Obama, also addressed the crowd.
visited Israel in March 2011 as part of an “innovation economy mission” to
strengthen ties between hi-tech companies in the Boston region and Israel. He
has attended many pro-Israel events in the past.
CJP president Barry
Shrage did not attend Monday’s event as he rushed off to Israel on Saturday
night to express his solidarity in person.
Shrage spent Monday driving
around the South and paying a condolence call in Kiryat Malachi for the victims
of rocket attacks killed last week.
“I like to have a presence here
whenever Israel is in trouble,” Shrage said in a telephone interview ahead of
“A problem for them is a problem for us too.
experience, when you are in Israel and visiting and talking to them, the broader
nation appreciates that someone is coming to town and not staying away,” he
Jewish Community Relation Council executive director Jeremy Burton
noted that American Jews have a responsibility to combat the skewed media
coverage of the conflict, the day after news of the deaths of 11 members of a
single family in an Israeli air strike against Hamas in Gaza dominated
“There is important work for those not in Israel about telling
the world what is going on and the untenable situation that Israel is dealing
with,” he said. During the rally, demonstrators heard from Israelis temporarily
living in Boston about their experiences. Burton said he hoped to encourage
demonstrators to engage on social media and to thank the political leaders who
have expressed unwavering support for Israel, including members of
Burton added that the event, which was thrown together in two
days, also allows Bostonians to feel like they're taking action during a time
when they’re worried about friends and family in Israel.
understands this is a time to stand with Israel,” he said.