NEW YORK (Nov. 4)
They came from as close as the apartment houses near the United Nations and from hundreds of miles away, as far as Atlanta to the south, Maine to the north and St. Louis to the west. Some 150,000-200,000 people Jammed Dag Hammarskjold Plaza across from the United Nations today–Jews and many non-Jews, young and old, representing synagogues, Jewish organizations, labor unions, and Just themselves–in a protest against the General Assembly’s invitation to the Palestine Liberation Organization to address the world body.
Many of the people woke up before dawn to come to New York for the demonstration. Mrs. Pearl Swartz, of Boston, said she had risen at 5 a.m. to Join her B’nal B’rith group in the protest. “I came to represent my people,” she explained. “I am a Jew.” She said she hoped the rally would put the world on notice that Yasir Arafat’s PLO terrorists cannot be granted respectability.
The crowds had nearly filled Dag Hammarskjold Plaza a half-hour before the noon starting time. By the time the rally began the plaza was filled and the crowd spilled over onto adjacent streets. Crowds of people continued to pour into the area throughout the rally. There was also a steady stream of people leaving as many had apparently used their lunch hours to attend the rally But their places were rapidly filed by others streaming into the rally area. The streets around the area were filled with parked buses as some 400 buses were chartered for the event. The participants represented all American Jewry–there were bearded Hasids, Orthodox youths in kipot, men in business suits, well-dressed women people wearing union hats and young people wearing jeans.
TIGHTEST SECURITY AT UN; NO INCIDENTS
Second Avenue between 42nd and 48th Street–the avenue west running parallel to First Avenue where the UN is locate–was blocked to through traffic, and the streets leading to the UN from Second Avenue were closed to both pedestrians and vehicles except for 47th Street (Deg Hammarskjold Plaza). Security at the UN itself was the tightest ever seen, and hundreds of policemen were everywhere.
But there were no incidents as the participants talked among themselves, listened and applauded the speakers. Before the rally, groups of youngsters broke into horas to the tune of Hebrew music coming from the speaker’s stand.
Banners were everywhere protesting the PLO and the UN General Assembly act. A wall along Dag Hammarskjold Plaza had written on it in white the names of scenes of PLO atrocities–Kiryat Shemona, Lod Airport, Rome, Athens, Maalot, Khartoum and Munich, One banner showed an oil well dripping blood on the UN. Banners read, “Am Yisrael Chai,” “There’s no room for terrorism,” “Let Israel flow with milk and honey not blood,” “For once foresight not hindsight,” and “For the sake of Zion I will not be silent.” One banner read, “You don’t have to be Jewish to oppose Hitler’s helpers–Bnai Sholem–Non-Jews for Israel.” Many banners said, “No Jewish blood for Arab oil.”
CAME TO EXPRESS OUTRAGE
The warm. sunny skies apparently helped the turnout. One man was heard to say, “See I told you It wouldn’t rain.” Another turned to his companion and said, “I’m impressed” by the turnout. Steven Weissman, a New York City employee, said he came to “show support” to Israel. He said he did not expect the rally to change the UN’s opinion, “but we got to show where we stand.”
Mrs. Miriam Kuss, of Wilkes Barre, Pa., said she came to the rally to “show how we feel about this outrage.” She said terrorists and murderers should not be allowed to come to the UN. “I want to show my spirit and my devotion to Israel,” Philip Gottesman, a New York City accountant, said. He said he believed the demonstration “Instills pride in Jews.”
Rabbi Jerome Weistrop of Temple Sholom, Milton, Mass., said he and some of his congregants came to “express our outrage at the UN for this action” in inviting the PLO. Jeffrey Ten. 16. who is chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Youth Council of Philadelphia, said. “We came to show our solidarity. We hope to shake up people and convince Senators and Congressmen that we are opposed to the PLO.”
For the first time a mechitza (a barrier used by the Orthodox to separate the sexes) was used in a corner of the rally area at the request of Agudath Israel, which participated for the first time with secular Jewish organizations because, as the Agudath said in urging its members to attend, it is necessary to show “Jewish solidarity when Jewish life is threatened in the face of the solidarity of the nations of the world against Jews.”