Huge March for Israel on National Mall
By November 16, 2023 0 492•
Getting press passes and instructions for entry and access to attendees and speakers proved to be unusually difficult several days before a minimally advertised “March for Israel” on Nov. 14 at the National Mall.
The perhaps “ act on the side of over-caution” decisions about press coverage portended that this might be a highly contentious demonstration with possible violence.
Washington, D.C.’s multiple law enforcement agencies with various degrees of security responsibilities for large events on the Mall promised extra security even though the crowds were expected to be smallish.
Turns out there were surprises on all of these counts. For one, some 290,000 people of all ages and from throughout the United States and other countries were estimated to have participated.
“The crowds packed into the central part of the mall were courteous and patient,” a D.C. marcher reported to The Georgetowner. “The mood was very positive, hopeful, appreciative of the chance to show support for Israel.”
“It was a very powerful positive experience,” another Washingtonian said. “I’m very grateful I was able to go.”
It was well organized, according to other participants. The speeches from the main stage by political and policy leaders — including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Mike Johnson and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries — were upbeat, supportive and could be clearly heard and seen on large screens throughout the march area.
American and Israeli flags were given out to marchers as well as souvenir T-shirts with “Americans March for Israel, March to Free Hostages, March Against Anti-Semitism, National Mall, November 14, 2023” printed on them. Everywhere, there were posters with large red borders depicting one of the some 250 hostages still held captive by Hamas in Gaza.
Many marchers also carried their own signs — “Free the Hostages,” “Christians Stand With Israel” and “Cleveland Stands With Israel.”
“I’m here to stand with the Jewish people and against hate,” Jenna Lynn from Dallas told The Georgetowner. She heads a national Israel support group called Passages.
“I’m here because of the importance of showing concern for the hostages and to fight antisemitism,” said Steven Ludwig from Philadelphia.
Senior Rabbi Emily Segal from Phoenix also said she came for the same reasons.
Sarabeth Levine, executive director of Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim outside Chicago, said, “I am here with my congregation to support Israel and each other.”
The march lasted more than two hours and has been reported to be the largest public demonstration of Israel supporters in U.S. history.