I attended a very large pro-Israel rally at the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles today. Numerus blocks were closed off.
First thing, whatever the media reports, there were more people there than they claim. To my untrained eye, there appeared to be many thousands. The crowd was tightly packed for blocks. There were so many people we found it hard to walk through to get closer to the speakers, so we stayed near the back.
After so much negative press and seeing the disgusting anti-Israel rallies everywhere — full of hatred and lies — it was a beautiful thing to see so many out to support Israel. We stood near a large Hispanic Christian group wearing tee-shirts in Spanish with a picture of a cross and a star of David. They held signs with slogans such as “Christians for Israel”. There were many Christians there supporting Israel. Israeli flags were everywhere as were American flags, and very effective posters asserting Israel’s right to safety and self- defense, and what constitutes a peace activist (not carrying murderous weapons or working for Hamas might be a good start).
My daughter and I had to park at least 5 blocks away after searching over 20 minutes for a space. While walking to the rally, we saw numerous cars drive by with huge Israeli flags flapping outside the window or sun roof. At first we had trouble hearing the speakers, though that was later fixed. I learned later that Governor Schwarzeneggar was there.
I heard Chuck Devore, who opened by having the crowd chant, “Free Gilad Shalit!” over and over. He said all the right things about security and the security lessons for America drawn from Israel’s experience with terror.
There were many speakers and I don’t know who most were. The only one who was jeered was the representative of Peace Now. Repeatedly people were told to just listen but my sense was the crowd was fed up with pie in the sky naive dreamers like Peace Now. With Israel in its current precarious position, people didn’t have the stomach to hear any kumbaya speech.
Two speeches really struck me. One was an evangelical preacher who shouted “Am Yisrael Chai” (The Jewish nation lives), and spoke about how Israel has 500,000,000 Evangelicals all over the world supporting it. He received great cheers from the crowd. Another Evangelical minister, from a Hispanic church, began his fiery talk — largely delived in Spanish — with “Viva Israel, Viva Israel, Viva Israel!!!” He said that he had hoped to get 100 from his church to come and more than 200 were there.
So about those numbers: The LA Times reported that “hundreds” were there. Later in the same article, they mention that the LAPD estimated the crowd at 2200. So, I suppose it was 100’s — 22 of those hundreds to be precise. I am pretty sure, though, it was more than that. People were constantly coming and going, but I would think we were looking at a minum of 5,000 and probably more.
No surprises to any of you, but the crowd was sane. There were no signs advocating ethnic cleansing, genocide or violent murder — all causes that the “peace” activists support. The world is morally confused and upside down, but I was glad today to see that there is a fierce love for Israel out there. It was a spirit lifter.