In a growing number of U.S. towns, Jews whose hearts ache over the terror faced by Israel and who are desperate to express their support, are starting to fear Arab hatred and the terror of radical Islam even more.
JewishPress.com has been asked to tell this story by an American rabbi who provided the information on condition that all identifying details be omitted “for the safety of those involved.” In particular, he requested that the location of the congregations involved be “blurred,” as he put it, in order “not to put Jews at risk.”
How scary is that?
“One of my congregants spoke to a friend whose son lives in a major Midwestern city where they had an Israel rally. They were greatly outnumbered by Palestinians,” he said. “That woman’s son called it a big disaster because it turned out to be great PR for the Palestinians, instead of support for Israel.”
As a matter of fact, the city in question had “10,000 Muslims show up to their rally,” according to the city police estimate.
Concerned rabbis who followed up raised the following question: “Without advertisement, we have no way to let those concerned citizens express their solidarity. With advertisement, how do we prevent this kind of fiasco?”
The rabbis also receive updates and security assessments from the Department of Homeland Security, which to its credit maintains contact with countless Jewish leaders and institutions.
“Clearly, I can’t give you a simple ‘it’s safe’ or not,” wrote one DHS official to the inquiring rabbi who asked during the summer of 2014 about the wisdom of joining a solidarity march for Israel.
“But, given the current situation in Gaza, it’s my opinion if the march was widely publicized prior to holding it, I wouldn’t be comfortable at all. If the group simply shows up, marches and departs, the risk would be much lower. As you know, there’s always a risk,” he wrote, adding that if the march is publicized “during or after, you also raise risk on existing Jewish facilities from retaliatory attacks.”
And that quiet warning was officially being transmitted more than a year ago, not in Europe, the Middle East or Scandinavia, but rather in the United States!
Below is a letter received by the same rabbi, who is among those who encourage their congregations to attend demonstrations of support for Israel. Note the emphasis on safety.
Dear Rabbi X:
As you know, these are tough times for our beloved Israel.
The Friends of Israel is having a public rally this Sunday, ______ , in the afternoon at the corner of _______________.
As you also may know at many other Israel rallies, scores of confrontational Palestinians have shown up, intimidated and stolen the PR. It becomes their hate fest instead of our peaceful rally in support of Israel’s right to self defense.
Will you please send this flyer out to your email contacts, call people and urge them to attend. Please speak about the rally at Shabbat services. Put this on Facebook, tweet, etc.
This is the time for all those who love and support Israel to come together; it is our responsibility!! Please do what you can to mobilize people. Even though people may only see Palestinian suffering, which ultimately Hamas has caused, on the news, we all know Israelis are suffering and being terrorized. My own family and several other friends have terrible stories.
We have a permit and police protection. This should be the safest place to be in _________ from ________ on Sunday! Thank you in advance for your support.
Rally for Israel
Hana Levi Julian