Pro-Israel rally on Boston Common this week

10/11/23 by Peyton Benbow

On Monday, several thousands of people gathered in the Boston Common to show their support for Israel after surprise attacks by Hamas against Israel on Saturday. Political and religious leaders, and Israelis currently living in Boston, spoke out about their support for the nation and condemnation of Hamas’ attacks around the Parkman Bandstand. 

The devastating attacks on Saturday came on the last day of a major seven-day Jewish holiday, with NPR reporting Tuesday morning that there were at least 900 confirmed deaths, many related to rocket fire. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed retaliation against Hamas and declared war, with NPR reporting at least 700 people in Gaza killed by Israel’s attacks.

The leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States released a joint statement condemning Hamas and pledging support for Israel. 

Starting at noon on Monday, thousands gathered to show support for Israel in the Boston Common, holding the white and blue flag of Israel and signs that declared they “Stand With Israel”. Governor Maura Healey, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Ed Markey, and Mayor Michelle Wu were among the political leaders speaking at the rally. According to a 2015 study by Brandeis University, Greater Boston is home to the fourth-largest Jewish population in the United States. 

Governor Healey spoke out in support of the Boston Jewish population, telling the crowd on Monday, “We join President Biden and people across the world in condemning these acts of terror. We condemn them as a matter of fundamental human decency. We condemn them as attacks on our own beloved community here in Massachusetts. Our bond with Israel is unbreakable.” 

Mayor Michelle Wu emphasized a similar opinion of Boston’s unwavering support of Israel. “Boston has always measured our connection to Israel deep in our hearts,” she said. “Boston stands with Israel. We will continue to stand with Israel”. 

Senator Ed Markey echoed the other political leaders’ remarks in support of Israel and condemning Hamas. He was booed by the crowd for suggesting that “there must be a de-escalation of the current violence” on all sides of the conflict. Representative Jake Auchinloss took the podium after Senator Markey to remark that “De-escalation is not possible when they are taking hostages,” to which the crowd cheered. 

The rally was organized by the Israeli-American Council of New England, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, and Combined Jewish Philanthropies. “We stand with the people of Israel. Their grief is our grief. Their outrage is our outrage,” said Jewish Community Relations Council CEO Jeremy Burton on Monday. Combined Jewish Philanthropies said that since the Saturday attacks, they have raised over $1 million in support of Israel. The death toll continues to rise in Israel and the Gaza Strip as attacks continue throughout the week.