On November 14, tens of thousands of American Jews, and others, rallied on the National Mall to demonstrate solidarity with and support for Israel. Speakers included Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Democratic Congressman Richie Torres, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt, and many others.
Moment staff saw the rally up close and sent back these photos and a short video.
The two major organizers of the rally were the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.
Alexandra Moradi (right) came from Hillside, New Jersey, to attend the March for Israel, along with her husband (middle), their sons Aharon (7; on his father’s shoulders) and Akiva (10), and their neighbor Ora Sheinson (left). “They have cousins in Israel,” Moradi said of her sons, “who they know had to stay home from school and take shelter whenever they heard bombs.” At home in New Jersey, her sons now wear baseball hats over their kippahs when out in public—for safety, she says. “But today, we told them, you don’t have to.” All four of Moradi’s grandparents survived the Holocaust (“three had numbers on their arms”), and her kids have learned about their history.
Sheinson has a son at Rutgers and says that the antisemitic hate hurled at Jewish students has skyrocketed in the last month and that Jewish students use Whatsapp to learn about and avoid pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel demonstrations on campus. “If they aren’t physically attacked, they say, ‘it’s ok, I’m fine.’ And that’s not okay,” she says, referring to hateful things people have yelled at her son and other Jewish students. Sheinson is part of a Facebook group formed after October 7 called “Mothers Against College Antisemitism,” which has over 40K members. “Statements about the horrible devastation in Gaza are only accurate if you say it’s because of Hamas.” She felt it was vitally important for American Jews to show up at the rally. “If we start hiding, it won’t be safe. We’ve seen what that looks like.”
Among the countless signs were:
“I Stand with Israel”
“Never Again Is Now”
“Bring Home the Hostages”
“Let Our People Go”
“End Jewish Hate”
“Another Zionist for Peace and Coexistence”
“Defeat Terror. Protect Civilians. Pursue Peace.”
“Bipartisan Support for Israel Saves Lives.”
“I’ve never seen so many Jews in my life,” said a man who gave his name as Geoff, and had taken the subway in from Bethesda.
(From left): Rabbi Tsvi Hametz, head of STEM education at Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville, Maryland, brought his son, Izzy (6) to the March for Israel. He was joined by his in-laws, Ellen and David Krieger who came from Florida. Their son, Ellen said, is in Israel. “He’s friends with the parents of Hersh Goldberg Polin,” who was kidnapped by Hamas on October 7.
Hametz said he and his wife Malkie, who also teaches at Berman and was elsewhere at the rally with her students, have been open with their two children about what happened in Israel on October 7, giving them what he calls age-appropriate information about how people were attacked “because they were Jewish.” They gave their two kids the choice to attend the rally or not. “Our three-year-old was afraid there would be ‘bad guys’ here and decided not to come, but he really wanted to,” Hametz said, gesturing up to Izzy who was on his shoulders. “I’ve been to four marches on the National Mall,” Izzy’s grandfather David Krieger said. “In 1973, for a Vietnam War protest; 1987 March for Soviet Jewry; during the Second Intifada in 2002; and today.”
“Somebody has to say it,” this young man said while being photographed.
“Biden’s done okay,” said Jonathan Burstyn of Chicago, referring to the president’s immediate response to the Hamas attack and support of Israel’s right to respond militarily. “But if Trump were president, he would’ve told Bibi to wipe out Gaza.”
U.S. Special Envoy on Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt was one of many speakers at the event.
The Frisch School in Paramus, New Jersey, brought 19 busloads of students and administrators to Washington, DC, for the March for Israel on November 14, 2023.
Ten buses came from Pittsburgh, including these two women, both Israeli. Merris Groff is holding the sign.
One woman’s take on the “Bring them home” slogan. (The other side said: “Bring them home! But also…”)
The rally dispersed peacefully, without any major confrontations with counter-protesters. Many people had left by 2:30, but speakers continued until 4:30.
One highlight included a surprise performance by the Grammy-nominated singer Matisyahu, accompanied by the Maccabeats for an inspiring rendition of his 2008 hit song “One Day.”
Video and opening image credit: Suzanne Borden for Moment magazine.