NEW YORK — Deborah Kaufmann expressed the sentiments of many here at the Nov. 6 rally marking 30 days since Hamas carried out its murderous pogrom against Jews in Israel. “I came to support Israel’s fight to survive, to demand the hostages be released and to oppose antisemitism everywhere,” she told the Militant. More than 10,000 people attended the protest, which was sponsored by major Jewish organizations throughout the city.
“Israel has the duty, the absolute obligation to protect its citizens and its country,” Eric Goldstein, head of the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York, said from the podium. “At the same time, we grieve for the suffering of innocent Palestinian civilians who are also victims of Hamas’ brutality.”
Family members of some of the 240 hostages taken by Hamas were featured speakers. Others who addressed the rally included Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. A national rally is being called for Washington, D.C., Nov. 14 around the theme “Americans March for Israel, March to Free Hostages, March Against Antisemitism.”
Brian Zlotnikov, a student at Brooklyn College who works at the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, came to the Nov. 6 action with a large contingent of young people from the center. “The root of the problem is Hamas,” he said. “If Israel puts down its arms, it will no longer exist.”
Zlotnikov said that over the past year he had participated in demonstrations in defense of Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion and that the center has organized support for Ukrainian refugees in Brooklyn.
Beejhy, who is an Ethiopian Jew, attended the rally. She grew up on one of the kibbutzim Hamas ravaged. She asked that her last name not be used. Some 140,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel. “Israel’s not perfect, there is racism,” Beejhy said. “But it’s important to note the diversity of the Jewish population.” She said 20% of the Israeli population is Arab.
“I’m not Jewish,” Luvita Rosa, a school worker originally from Mexico, said. “I came today because the whole world is affected by what happened in Israel. I want the hostages to come home. Their families are suffering.”
Socialist Workers Party candidates from New York and Northern New Jersey joined the action. “We spoke to people about why the fight against Jew-hatred is a working-class question,” Lea Sherman, SWP candidate for State Assembly in New Jersey, said. “Many at the rally wanted to discuss why we point to the fight for workers power and socialism as the only way to put an end to antisemitism.”
Roy Landersen contributed to this article.