Wednesday, October 1, 2014 Tishri 7, 5775

Hate for Israel Can't Rain on Our Parade

May 22, 2008
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For the thousands of people of all ages who turned out to take part in Philadelphia's Israel 60 parade this weekend, as well as the thousands more who came to watch and also enjoy the accompanying festival, the joy of the day was somewhat dampened by the weather.

But if the heavy rain that arrived after the parade did abbreviate some of the fun, it didn't diminish the significance of the strong showing, as well as the hard work on the part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia that organized it.

However, one event during the day may also stick in the memory of those who took part in the parade as much as the weather: the appearance of small groups of well-organized, black-clad demonstrators protesting Israel's existence, which they think is a "disaster" that should be erased from the geography of the Middle East.

It is, thank heaven, a free country, and anyone can stand on a Philadelphia street and say what they like. However, we think the black balloons launched by the Israel-haters to distract from a joyous parade ought not to be forgotten by all who witnessed it.

All too many of Israel's friends in this country -- Jewish and non-Jewish alike -- tend to act as if the battle to defend Zionism is a foregone conclusion. Indeed, support for Israel cuts across partisan lines, and is strongly rooted in the hearts of the overwhelming majority of Americans.

But the virus of anti-Zionism, which in many instances is merely a thinly disguised form of anti-Semitism, is alive and well on our shores. With hatred for Jews and Israel on the rise around the world, anti-Zionists have established strong footholds in academia. Their goal is to delegitimize Israel's right to exist in the minds of Americans and to substitute their false narrative of its establishment as a crime against humanity in place of the truth.

The tiny band of anti-Zionists were not able to stop the parade. Their numbers were dwarfed by the outpouring of love for Israel, and there is little doubt that this imbalance represents just how small a minority they are among Americans as a whole.

But at a time when brazen hate is on the march, it is imperative that all persons of goodwill be prepared to continue to stand up in defense of Israel's right to exist and to defend itself against Islamist terrorists. On the one day that we officially celebrate Israel's independence -- as well as the rest of the year -- it should be clear that they can't rain on our parade.

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