Photo: Reuters
Pro-Israel rally in Paris
Photo: Reuters

IN PICTURES: Thousands rally around the world to support Israel

From Guatemala to Zurich, pro-Israel activists gather to show their support for Israel during the Gaza conflict.

Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, hundreds of thousands of people have gathered all over the world to protest the operation, but numerous people worldwide have also come together in support of Israel.



From South America to South Africa, Australia, the United States and no few European countries, supporters have rallied in solidarity over the past few weeks.


In the United States, people have gathered everywhere from New York to San Francisco to Dallas to show their love of Israel.


Support for Israel in New York (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
Support for Israel in New York (Photo: AFP)

An estimated 700 people from around the Bay Area marched through San Francisco on Sunday to show their unwavering support of Israel. The rally was organized by three students from Stanford University. Demonstrators from about 40 different Bay Area Jewish organizations were bused to the San Francisco City Hall with Israeli flags and banners. They sang the Israeli national anthem as they marched through the city.




New York City was a host for several pro-Israel events over the past couple of weeks, but what was likely its largest took place last Monday in front of the United Nations building on the east side of Manhattan, where around 10,000 demonstrators and a host of prominent elected officials gathered to hear religious leaders and influential politicians profess their support for Israel.


New York (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
New York (Photo: AFP)

New York (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
New York (Photo: Reuters)


When Senator Chuck Schumer asked the crowd "who is responsible for the deaths of so many of these Palestinians civilians?" he was answered with a resolute "Hamas!"



"That is exactly right. The bottom line is very simple. We must send a message from one corner of this globe to the other and to that building over there that you will not have peace as long as Hamas has power. Hamas is a terrorist organization sworn to Israel’s destruction who believes they have a moral right to start war at any occasion," Senator Schumer went on to say.


Last month, a spontaneous pro-Israel rally erupted in Manhattan's Diamond District in response to pro-Palestinian protesters chanting anti-Israeli chants like "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," "resistance is justified, when people are occupied!" and calling for an "intifada."


Some of the business owners in the area closed their stores to demonstrate in favor of Israel, following the pro-Palestinian rally and chanting "Is-ra-el!" over and over again. More and more people joined them along the way, drowning out the sounds of the anti-Israel rally by singing "Am Israel Chai" and "David Melech Israel" ("David the King of Israel") and shouting "Hamas terrorists" and "I-D-F."



In Dallas, thousands gathered at the City Hall Plaza to listen to Gov. Rick Perry speak.


“It’s difficult for most of us to imagine what life must be like when our children walk to school and they are diverted by a rocket attack, where terrorists tunnel under our cities,” Perry said. “Yet Israel endures.”


But the support for Israel did not just come from Dallas' Jews. More than 50 churches, community groups and other pro-Israel organizations attended the rally. Demonstrators came armed with hundreds of Israeli flags - and some American flags - and signs that said "Dallas stands with Israel."


Dallas (Photo: MCT) (Photo: MCT)
Dallas (Photo: MCT)



In Brazil, some 2,500 people gathered in at the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, singing "Am Israel Chai" and other Hebrew songs, as well as the Israeli and Brazilian national anthems.



They too waved Israeli - and Brazilian - flags, and carried signs in Portuguese and English calling for peace and condemning anti-Semitism.





Another recent pro-Israel rally in Brazil took place in Sao Paulo, where some 3,000 people marched.


Hundreds of Israeli supporters also marched in Guatemala City. A sea of Israeli flags was led by one massive flag. Signs in Spanish called to "Repudiate any terrorist act against Israel," with one sign urging Guatemala to stand with Israel, otherwise, "friendship can die."


From Guatemala with love (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
From Guatemala with love (Photo: Reuters)

Guatemala City (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
Guatemala City (Photo: Reuters)


Pro-Israel protesters also descended upon two of Australia's major cities - Sydney and Brisbane.


On Sunday, a blue and white sea of 10,000 people gathered under tight security at Dudley Page Reserve in Dover Heights in Sydney's eastern suburbs to support Israel's right to defend itself. Despite that, rally attendees stressed, this was a rally calling for peace.


Sydney, Australia (Photo: Getty Images) (Photo: Getty Images)
Sydney, Australia (Photo: Getty Images)


"Every single person here is talking of peace. Today is about singing, camaraderie and friendship," said Rabbi Eli Feldman of the Chabad Synagogue in Bondi. "The overwhelming sentiment of Jewish people here and in Israel is for love and peace, which is in contrast with the chants and anger we saw in other rallies last week."





Demonstrators held up Israeli and Australian flags, waved signs in support of Israel and sang the Israeli national anthem under the clear blue sky. They also observed a minute's silence for IDF officer Hadar Goldin, who had been declared dead the day before.




Several hours later, some 5,000 people gathered at the Sydney Town Hall for a peaceful rally in support of the people of Gaza, condemning the Israeli operation.


A more modest showing of approximately 200 people gathered in Queen's park in Brisbane on Sunday, in a rally promoting a peaceful resolution and protesting anti-Semitism in Australia as a result of the conflict.


Over in The Netherlands, dozens gathered in Amsterdam's Leidse Square for a pro-Israel flash mob that started with a piercing rocket-alert siren blaring through the square. Onlookers looked curiously on as many demonstrators quickly fell to the ground, protecting their heads with their hands, some even protecting others with their bodies - just as Israelis with nowhere to seek shelters from the Gaza rockets have to do.


"In Israel, you have 15 seconds to save your life," an announcer said over a speaker. "This is the reality in Israel."




Supporters of Israel also gathered in Zurich, Switzerland. Swiss riot police stood guard over the demonstration.


Zurich (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
Zurich (Photo: Reuters)


In the city of Gori in Georgia, many came together for a support rally of Israel, with children painting their faces with the Israeli flag, wrapping themselves up with their blue-and-white flags and holding up pro-Israeli signs.




Meanwhile, in Budapest, thousands crammed into and around the main synagogue in the city last week for a rally attended by the Israeli Ambassador to Hungary Ilan Mor.


”It is not the Islamic faith or Palestinian people that Israel fights; rather, Israel is at war against terror. Israel’s existence is a miracle, but we must fight for it, as the only democratic state in the Middle East,” Mor said.


Budapest (Photo: Laci Molnar) (Photo: Laci Molnar)
Budapest (Photo: Laci Molnar)


In France, thousands turned out to a rally near the Israeli Embassy in Paris on Thursday for a pro-Israel rally. Demonstrators waved signs with slogans like "Gaza hostage of Hamas" and "We protest for peace."


Rallying in Paris (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
Rallying in Paris (Photo: Reuters)


The demonstration happened amid persistent reports the Jewish Defense League faces a government ban. JDD militants stepped in to assure security at synagogues during pro-Gaza protests, but were blamed for provoking violence at pro-Palestinian rallies.



Yaara Shalom contributed to this article






פרסום ראשון: 08.04.14, 22:58
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