I am a strong believer in the meaning and power of the United States Constitution's First Amendment. All five parts of this amendment are integral to American life throughout its years. Our freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition are so very important. However, each of the five freedoms does indeed have limits and aspects and cases that will make each of us uncomfortable at times.Too many people forget all the parts of the 1st Amendment, and too many people do not realize how complex they each can be.

Having said that, when I read about the Shame on the United Nations rally to be held in Manhattan's midtown east, at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza by the French Embassy, I decided that I should be there. I was angered by the recent United Nations votes condemning and contemptuous of Israel, and I was hurt and unhappy about the speech made by Secretary of State John Kerry. I made sure to carve out a parcel of time this Thursday, January 12, so as to be able to attend this rally. A rally such as this shows support for Israel, displays criticism of United Nations decisions I dislike, and combines the good old American tenets of free speech, freedom of assembly and to a lesser extent religion, press and petition.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


I came about 15 minutes into the rally and stayed for a little over half an hour. I joined about 200 people who waved American and Israeli flags. Others held up signs, most printed but a few hand-written. A few people had wrapped themselves in Israeli flags as capes. Among the speakers and presenters were local politicians, regional rabbis, students from a local Hebrew Day High School, a few musical groups, and others. Men and women spoke, prayed and sang. While there I snapped photos with my cellphone and posted them, along with hashtags, to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I did more of this afterward as well.

But as much as I wanted to be part of this movement wholeheartedly, I do admit to some misgivings. Not about my support of Israel, and not about my criticism of the United Nations in general. But I will mention certain aspects of this rally which frankly irked me and even ticked me off. One, a few people held up handmade signs that crudely bashed President Obama. While I have not agreed with every single move he made, every word he uttered, over the past eight years as our president, I think he has done many good things. I do not agree with all his words and actions when it comes to Israel, but I do not care to bash him and insinuate that he is a Muslim disciple, as a few conspiracy-minded folk here did.

I also disliked when an area politician made comments that were clearly positive about the man who is soon to be the United States president. I despise this man for a great many reasons and have little reason to trust him or his competence. I did not cheer when this local politician made positive remarks about this man. And I did anticipate some people in the rally would be supporters of him. For example, a loud woman wore one of those obnoxious (to me) red caps with the slogan "Make American Great Again.' I think that America is already great, yet does need improvement, but the man who popularized this slogan is in my estimation a lying, sleazy person unworthy of the office.

And there was at least one person who spoke on the main stage who has angered me and a great many people for her incendiary statements over the past few years. I had posted on social media a photo with this speaker but then realized who she was, and deleted the photo to replace it with another.

Having stated this, I feel that I did the right thing by attending this rally. I wanted to support Israel in this trying time. I believe the First Amendment is there to be exercised. But I also knew that I would feel conflicted about certain things here. And that is life in America: it is not a simple thing. It often involves complexities, competing thoughts, and navigating with a sigh.

Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

Think others should know about this? Please share