Israeli DJ Aron Abikzer played the country’s latest electronic hits as LGBT and Israeli flags were waved side by side.
Consul General of Israel in New York Dani Dayan was a prominent figure at the event, surrounded by many flag-waving dancers on one of the parade trucks. He took pictures with passersby, including Alexis Michelle—a well known drag queen from the popular RuPaul's Drag Race reality show.
Dayan said during the event, “What surprised me the most is the excitement with which we were accepted by the thousands of people on sides of the road. This is not a pro-Israel crowd you’d find at AIPAC events. People were dancing to the songs ‘Toy’ by Netta Barzilai and ‘Tel Aviv’ by Omer Adam.
“We didn’t come here to pretend everything’s perfect. We’re marching due to awareness that there’s a long way ahead of us and we’re striving to do better,” added Dayan.
Almog Elijis, a spokeswoman for the Israeli consulate in New York, said: “Israel has become a regular guest at the New York Pride Parade. It was exciting and powerful to see thousands of New Yorkers, tourists and locals cheering Israel on the side of the road. The Consulate’s staff has been preparing for the event for weeks and the final result is a proud and colorful delegation.”
In the weeks leading up to the event, the Israeli Consulate put a lot of efforts into spreading the message about Israel being a LGBT-friendly place. DJ Aron Abikzer and Israeli-American actor Yuval David invited the crowd to join those celebrating in white and blue.
David said in a video promoting the parade, “Israel is proud not only of its hummus and tahini, but we’re proud of our Gay Pride as well. The LGBT community in Israel is one of the most thriving communities in the world. It’s wonderful to celebrate the community and its wonderful connection between Israel and the US.”
There were also those who demonstrated against the Israeli participation in the Pride Parade and against the campaign presenting Israel as LGBT-friendly.
Pro-Palestinian organizations attacked the campaign, which they claim was launched whilst the Israeli government was still oppressing the residents of the West Bank and Gaza. An article posted on the French AJ Plus network stated,“They kill Palestinians in the morning, then organize Pride Parades. It’s called ‘PinkWashing’ and it’s done in Israel.”