Tens of thousands of Jews and allies from across the country met in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to rally against antisemitism and to ask for the safe release of the remaining hostages in Gaza.
Since the attack by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, in which at least 1,200 Israelis — mostly civilians — were killed and at least 240 taken hostage, antisemitism is on the rise across the globe.
"To demand the release of hostages is not an act of politics," said Alana Zeitchik, a cousin of six of the hostages. "It is not a cry for war. It is an act of love and a cry for humanity."
"There's a lot of people wondering 'Where are our allies?'" said Justine Fanarof, a march attendee.
Fanarof traveled from Bend, Oregon to Washington, D.C. for the march for Israel. Her mission: tikkun olam, a concept in Judaism that seeks to repair and improve the world.
"I do feel a sense of betrayal by my allies and I feel like I have been in places I thought were safe that I realized there was a lot of latent antisemitism," Fanarof said.
Twelfth-grader Zachary Wolf has seen antisemitism at his high school, even before the massacre and war began. Now he's paying attention to what's going on nationally as he figures out what's next after graduation.
"Seeing antisemitism on this scale around the world — it makes me nervous to go to college," Wolf said.
Wolf, too, came here to show his support for Israel. He feels there's been a disproportionately hateful response to Israel's war with Hamas compared to other atrocities in the middle east.
Fanarof, Wolf and so many other Jews at the march say having allies is more important now than ever.
"Muslims and Jews are not destined to be enemies," said Anila Ali, president of the American Muslim and Multifaith Women's Empowerment Council. "We are stronger together, we are blessed together."
Israel supporters at the march said they want peace, they don't want war. But they want Hamas gone and the hostages home.
Giorgio Kulp — whose parents both survived the Holocaust — says his family is reliving their past trauma.
"I feel like they are bookending their lives with two genocides," Kulp said. "They've internalized this fear and they want me to hide because they don't want me to be in danger. I feel like Jews had to cower in the past, and I feel like we have to come out and show we are not going to cower."
"We thought we were liked a little more than we are, but we love each other more than we knew," Fanarof said.
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