One week after a much larger march over the Brooklyn Bridge drew 25,000 people to Manhattan and Brooklyn, more than 2,000 Long Islanders walked through Mineola en route to a rally in support of the Jewish community and in opposition to hate.
Sunday’s marchers along on County Seat Drive followed a huge banner that read “Long Island Is Against Anti-Semitism” and individually they held signs that read “No Hate, No Fear,” “Don’t Hate Just Love” and “Stop the Hate.” A group from Chabad wore bright orange T-shirts that proclaimed, “I’m Proud To Be Jewish.”
“My heart is overwhelmed by this amazing showing,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told the rally outside the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building on Franklin Avenue. “We are all together and stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters. We have got your back.”
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer said history has taught us that “when anti-Semitism raises its ugly head we must smite it down with all our force, all our power and we will.”
Rabbi Anchelle Perl from the Chabad of Mineola said everyone should oppose hate. “It’s our urgent task to build bridges with our fellow citizens, to support them when they are in need and call in allies when our communities are targeted,” he said.
Avi Posnick, northeast regional director for Stand With Us and a graduate of Rambam High School in Lawrence, noted the importance of influencing young people with education.
“We are all very concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism in New York and our streets,” he said. “We’ve also seen the rise of anti-Semitism in our schools. No one is born hating, no one is born being an anti-Semite. However, today’s students are the leaders of tomorrow. We must educate them today before their hearts and minds are poisoned tomorrow.”
When I look out at this sea of racial, religious and geographic diversity, I am heartened that are we speaking in one voice and saying loudly and clearly that love and acceptance will always win over hatred and intolerance,” said Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice, whose district includes the Five Towns.
Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi of Glen Cove said that “anti-Semitism is real and it’s growing.”
“Why is this happening at this time in history? There is too much divisive rhetoric,” he said. “Today we stand united to stop the hate.”
“Anti-Semitism is just not an attack on the Jewish people, it’s an attack on the very fabric of our flag, the very fabric of our society and we must stand as one, we must crush and stamp down on anti-Semitism where ever it is,” said Republican Rep. Peter King of Seaford.
“I want you to answer me loudly just one more time so they hear,” said Democratic state Senator Todd Kaminsky of Long Beach. “Are we a stronger Long Island when we are together? Are we going to look out for each other no matter our backgrounds like brothers and sisters? Am Yisrael Chai. The Jewish people will live. G-d bless you.”
“It is our mission to fight anti-Semitism in all forms of bias and bullying,” said Deborah Lom, director of development for the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Glen Cove. “It is so important to be here and not just for Jewish people, but for Muslims, African-Americans, everybody.” Swastikas were found spray painted at the museum last month.
Stacey Feldman, associate executive director of the Marion & Aaron Gural JCC in the Five Towns, said that “it’s important to come together as a community to stand strong against all forms of discrimination,” voicing opposition to “anyone who wishes to hurt anyone on the basis of religion.”
State Attorney General Letitia James said she was participating “as an African-American, because I know hate, because I’ve experienced it personally, because I know what it’s like to be discriminated against.”
“It’s critically important to understand that an attack against one of us is an attack against all of us,” James said. “I want to live in a world where we can respect one another. I want to live in a world where we all understand love and that love will triumph over hate. I want to live in a world where we don’t see our differences, we celebrate our diversity and we recognize our common humanity. I want to live in a world where we recognize we are all G-d’s children.”
Democatic state Senator Anna Kaplan of Great Neck said, “We are never going to accept anti-Semitism in our communities or anywhere. As a Jewish refugee, who came to this country fleeing anti-Semitic violence in my homeland [Iran], my heart aches over the out-of-control spree of anti-Semitic violence taking place here in our wonderful New York. We have to be the generation that stands up to it and takes decisive action to stop it.”
“We’re here today to make it clear by the number of people who gathered here today and marched, we as a community will not tolerate hate,” said Democratic state Senator John Brooks of Seaford.
“We as a community know that we are all far better than that. Today is just the opening salvo as a community, we’re going to bring ourselves together, we’re going to end hate, we’re going to create opportunity and we’re going to live together and benefit from everything that this great country brings to us and close out forever those who try to bring hatred into our lives.”
“We will defeat anti-Semitism and all forms of hate with love, with education and with strength. With love we have it right here,” said Democratic state Senator James Gaughran of Northport. “We will defeat it with education at every level. We’ve got to make sure that our young people always understand the horrors of the Holocaust.”
Democratic state Senator Kevin Thomas of Levittown pointed out that he is the first South Asian state senator in New York, and that “my community stands with the Jewish community. I brought my daughter because we have to start them young to teach them no hatred in our community.”
Recalling that an earthquake occurred 10 years ago to the day of the march, Democratic state Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages, who represents a portion of the Five Towns, highlighted that Israel was the first country to come to her native island nation’s aid.
“They came down with all the tools and resources and helped so many of our friends and family,” she said. “So, I want to personally say thank you. Express a debt a gratitude, and say my people will always stand by you.”
The Jan. 12, and one the same day in Queens, following a mounting onslaught of anti-Semitic attacks late last year.
Among them, a Queens man verbally abused and physically threatened three people, including a rabbi and an 11-year-old, in the North Lawrence Costco on Dec. 8; three civilians and a police detective were killed, along with two armed suspects, in a shootout in a Jersey City kosher supermarket on Dec. 10; and five people were stabbed in upstate Monsey on Dec. 28, at a Chanukah party at a rabbi’s house.