Pro-Israel Rally In LA: Schwarzenegger Speaks With Noam Shalit Via Cellphone, Applause Given To Brave LA Kid

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Supporters of Israel rallied in front of the country’s consulate in Los Angeles on Sunday as the Jewish state continued to defend itself against an international outcry over a deadly raid on a pro-Palestinian aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip last week.

“Today we call all the world to wake up,” said Israeli Consul General Jacob Dayan, who addressed the cheering crowd while wrapped in his national flag. “Those who led the flotilla were not peace activists. Those who tried to murder our soldiers were not freedom fighters.”

Protesters said Israel has been unfairly criticized for enforcing a blockade that is necessary to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that controls Gaza and refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Los Angeles police estimated the crowd in front of the consulate in the 6300 block of Wilshire Boulevard at about 2,200. It was the latest of several recent Los Angeles demonstrations supporting and opposing Israel’s raid.

A parade of local and state politicians dropped by Sunday’s demonstration, which was organized by the Israeli Consulate, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and other community groups. They included Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner, Republican Senate contender Chuck DeVore, U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D- Sherman Oaks), Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Council members Paul Koretz and Janice Hahn.

From the podium, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke by cellphone to Noam Shalit, father of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, whose capture four years ago was part of what prompted Israel’s blockade. He is still being held by Hamas in Gaza.

“I’m a father of four children. I cannot even imagine in my wildest dreams that one of my children [should be] kidnapped and be held for all these years,” Schwarzenegger said. “We all are concerned and we all love you and we want to pray for you and your son, that he gets released as quickly as possible.”

Daniel Pereg, who was captured on YouTube carrying an Israeli flag at a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Los Angeles last week, received loud applause from the crowd.

But a speech by David Pine of Americans for Peace Now, which has been critical of the Israeli government, was drowned out by boos and hisses. Organizers appealed to the crowd to allow him to speak.

Also making appearances were Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight and Judea Pearl, whose son, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was kidnapped and killed in 2002 while investigating Al Qaeda activities in Pakistan. Several Christian groups also were represented at the rally.


5 COMMENTS

  1. Peoples’ memories can be terribly short, especially on blogs with heavy idiological content.

    Dissident voices, such as mine, have been skewered here when we expressed the view that Pesident Bush’s Middle East policies were detrimental to Israel’s interests. With that background, it needs to be remembered the 2006 elections in Gaza almost certainly would not have happened – and most certainly would never have had the support of the outside world – but for George W. Bush.

    The Bush administration pushed for the 2006 Gaza elections in the belief that “our man” Abbas would capture the election, and usher in an era of democracy and peacemaking – this was inline with the now clearly discredited Neocon belief that we could win over countries like Lebanon and Iraq simply by introducing “democracy.”

    The fact of the 2006 election is being used against Israel – afterall, Hamas was democratically elected . . . and Israel is an anti-democratic bully thwarting the will of the people! (Never mind that Hiltler was elected Chancellor in 1933)

    The fact of the 2006 elections we owe to Bush and the Neocons – and their strong-arming the Israeli government into going along with them. Thank you Mr. Bush

  2. Thank you Yonason for your comment. More people need to start realizing that the US simply does not act in Israel’s best interest (and nor should we expect it to). Some presidents might be better than others, but there is no doubt that Bush pushed Sharon on the Disengagement, and every state department of every administration is pushing the two-state “solution”. It is time to call a spade a spade. America is not our friend. Friends don’t threaten to let anti-Israel resolutions pass in the US every time Israel doesn’t do what America wants. Friends don’t force an arms treaty which finances the American arms industry while undermining Israeli security (limits on weaponry, actively preventing Israeli defense firms form getting contracts, etc.). From Truman to Obama, the policy has been the same. Am Yisrael Chai.

  3. Binyomin123 – I wish it were the Two-state solution that we had to fear most. Rather, it is the 0ne-state solution that is being pushed by the delegitimizers of Israel.

    Theological issues aside for the moment, in the name of realpolitik, Israel could live with the Two-state solution…depending on the location of borders and a reasonable demilitarization of the “West Bank.” It could not, in my opinion, ever survive a One-state solution without being forced to concede control to what would be an arab majority.

  4. No conservative would ever have supported any elections in Gaza when the two choices were both terrorists.

    Also conservatives did not like everything Bush (who is a liberal)did anyway (such as not closing the borders).

    If Bush had not supported the elections, the rest of the world still would have.