By MELANIE GOLDBERG
In a sea of blue and white at a pro-Israel rally across from the Israeli Consulate on Tuesday, stood a lonely counter demonstrator: a ragged looking elderly man shouting obscenities and waving a self-made Palestinian flag.
When a reporter tried to interview him he just repeated the obscenities.
“I’m surprised they [the Palestinian supporters] didn’t show up,” one of the rally’s organizers who wished to remain anonymous said. “We’ve publicized this all over facebook, and the NYPD even set up barriers for them, air jordan 9 expecting them to be there. They definitely knew about it.”
The rally, organized by a coalition of Jewish organizations featured a crowd of about 300 supporters including students from at least ten Jewish schools and residents from cities ranging from South Jersey and Westchester and all the way to Baltimore.
The rally came in response to the violent conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas based in the Gaza Strip causing the deaths of more than 100 persons on both sides, including many children.
“There is no question that what’s going on in the Middle East affects every Jew and every civilized person in the Western world,” Jill Tekel, a retiree from West Orange, NJ, said holding her “Hamas kills” sign high and proud. “Israel has every right to defend herself.”
“They’ve [Hamas] provoked it,” said Barbara Bortnicker, also of West Orange, waving American and Israeli flags. “Hamas feels glorified when they cause death and destruction. It’s Israel and the US fighting against terror.”
Why were there so few pro-Palestinian demonstrators?
“Maybe they’re getting the message that the responsibility of attaining peace rests with Hamas and Gaza,” said Jesse Shore, another organizer. “They might have realized it rests with them and not us.”
Several local officials earlier attended a press conference across the street from the consulate to voice support for Israel.
“New York is Israel and Israel is New York,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “We are bound together in our struggle against terror.”
“We are moved beyond words for the display of solidarity and support,” said Israel’s Consul General in NY Ido Aharoni. “The people of Israel see this and are encouraged by this support. New York is Israel’s best friend.”