“How long did it take you?” I asked a guy who was holding one end of a sign that said “Rhode Island Marches for Israel.”
“Eh, not long,” the guy said in a thick New England accent. “About ten hours.”
We were there, on the mall, from everywhere. Dozens of buses from Cleveland. People from Omaha. You may already heard about the chartered planes from Detroit, the passengers on one of which were stranded on the tarmac at Dulles because some anti-Semitic pieces of filth working for some bus company refused to show up and pick them up and drive them to the mall, may they be unemployed and destitute forever as a result. And the people in what the Left often calls “allyship”—the Christian Zionists and just general people of good will, there in the tens of thousands, because they know what a just war is, they know what evil is, and they wanted to show that in the battle between good and evil, they know which side they are on.
We drove and flew and took trains and got there. The program was fine–I was especially impressed by an Argentinian-born scholar named Mijal Bitton, who gave a corker of a speech about living under anti-Semitism and what Israel meant to her family and what her adopted country of America means to her. And it was stunning to note that in a crowd that probably voted 60-70 percent for Joe Biden, the biggest applause line of the day came from newly minted Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, the Republican from Louisiana, who said flatly, “Calls for a ceasefire are outrageous.”
But mostly we felt, as we have felt since October 7, that draw and pull to be together in the midst of the horror and the tragedy. Everybody who was there speaks of the astonishing feeling that, in a crowd nearing 300,000, we ran into Ben right there, or Dan, or Rabbi Buchdahl, or my son, who had traveled separately with his school. It was more like a Fourth of July parade in a small town than it was the most populous single event in the history of American Jewry. But then, American Jewry is a small town in the midst of a big country, and we tend to forget that as we battle with each other politically and religiously and socially. In the end, we are from the same place, the same ancient place, and that place was attacked, and so we were attacked too.
And we will not stand for it. And we did not. And we stood for what was right. Am Yisrael Chai.