Hundreds rally for Israel in New York

Several hundred supporters of Israel demonstrate in front of the Israeli Consulate in New York City on Jan. 6, 2009. (Daniel Sieradski)

Several hundred supporters of Israel demonstrate in front of the Israeli Consulate in New York City on Jan. 6, 2009. (Daniel Sieradski)

NEW YORK (JTA) – Several hundred people demonstrated for Israel in New York City.

The rally, held Tuesday afternoon opposite the Israeli Consulate, was intended as a show of solidarity with the Jewish state as it continues Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket attacks on its southern frontier.

Jewish community leaders pledged to stand by Israel. Some demonstrators held signs aloft calling for the elimination of Hamas, the controlling power in Gaza that is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

The rally followed a news conference opposite the United Nations in which leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations briefed the media on their recent solidarity trip to Israel. Israel’s top diplomats in the city — Consul General Asaf Shariv and U.N. Ambassador Gabriela Shalev — also were in attendance.

"We tell the United Nations today: Stay out," said the conference’s executive vice chairman, Malcolm Hoenlein. "Let Israel do what it has to do."

The consulate rally was one of several displays of support for Israel being planned for cities across the United States this week.

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