Thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of Washington, D.C., to show their support for Israel in the midst of the conflict against Hamas Islamists. The demonstration, which passed in front of the White House and major landmarks in the capital, was intended to condemn the wave of antisemitic attacks that have been taking place in the country since the beginning of the war.
According to match's organizers, it was the largest pro-Israel march in U.S. history, with more than 290,000 attendees on the National Mall and more than 250,000 live spectators. It came just two days after a similar march in France, which brought together much of the country's political spectrum to condemn antisemitic attacks in Europe.
"We thank and appreciate the bipartisan support of Israel from the President of the United States, Joe Biden, and the United States Congress, all reflected here today. We want them to know that support for Israel in America is overwhelming, is bipartisan and transcends geography and ideology. Americans support Israel and understand why it must be victorious in its war against Hamas, and America’s leaders must continue to reflect the will of America’s people," said William Daroff, Chief Executive Officer of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.
Daroff insisted that Hamas is just as dangerous as ISIS and that is why it is necessary to put an end to that criminal organization. "As we leave this National Mall today, we do so with gratitude for all Americans of all faiths and walks of life who have joined in this march. You know that Israel’s fight against Hamas is no different than America’s fight against ISIS or Al Qaeda and must be fought to victory in the same manner," said Daroff.
One of the most touching moments of the demonstration was when Israeli artist Omer Adam sang the Israeli anthem with the march attendees:
Watch as Omer Adam sings the Israeli national anthem, "Hatikva," alongside tens of thousands of Jews and pro-Israel activists who gathered today in Washington, D.C. For more information visit: https://t.co/QTOr4NCII0
🎥 via עומר אדם - Omer Adam pic.twitter.com/39IgT2JNe5
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) November 14, 2023
Washington march alert
In previous weeks, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned of the high danger of attacks against the Jewish community, inspired by the events of Oct. 7 in Israel. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported that the alert for the Washington march has risen to Level 1. This is the highest security level.
The demonstration in support of Israel will now have the same alert level as the Super Bowl, which means that there will be a coordinated effort between different federal agencies and local authorities. The objective is to prevent any attack against the thousands of citizens, largely from the Jewish minority, who are traveling from different parts of the country to march in Washington.
The DHS issued a document in relation to the event, which was accessed by ABC pointing out the danger that looms over the demonstration.
Since the 7 October attacks in Israel, we have observed an increase in threats to these communities, including reports of physical assaults, bomb threats, and online calls for mass casualty attacks. Tensions related to the ongoing Israel–HAMAS conflict, coupled with the widespread sharing of graphic and disturbing content related to this conflict, increase the prospects for violence in the United States with little to no warning.
Some pro-Palestinian associations have asked their followers on social media not to approach the demonstration and not to instigate violence during the march being held Monday.