by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jews and non-Jews gathered on the National Mall in droves for a March for Israel rally in support of the Jewish state, in honor of the hostages Hamas abducted during its October 7 attack, and against the rising tide of antisemitism in the United States and the world.
In addition to figures like Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky and actress Debra Messing, the crowd — which, according to CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations William Daroff, reached 290,000 at its peak — heard from several U.S. political leaders.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), who is the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in American history, emphasized the hatred of Jews inherent in Hamas as an organization.
“When Hamas says ‘from the river to the sea,’ they mean all of present-day Israel should be a Jewish-free land,” he said. “In fact, Hamas has said that what they did — the horror that they did on October 7 to the Jewish communities near the Gaza border — they should do to all Israelis. Just look at Hamas’s founding document. It says, ‘Is that a Jew behind the tree? Cut down the tree so you can shoot him.’ That is the evil of Hamas. Never, never, never will we forget the evil of Hamas.”
The crowd reacted to his speech with cheers of “Chucky! Chucky! Chucky!” and Schumer himself led a “U-S-A!” chant after proclaiming that he and other lawmakers “will do everything” to ensure America’s support for Israel “never, ever changes.”
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R., La.) said to an eruption of applause that “the calls for a ceasefire are outrageous.” He then condemned the explosion of antisemitism that has occurred since October 7.