Rally held downtown in support of Israel

November 20, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The rally follows a march on Monday by many different groups who stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Organized by the Jewish United Fund, Tuesday's rally included several school groups, lawmakers and Chicagoans who say it is important to stand by the only democracy in the Middle East.

Holding signs and Israeli flags, the Thompson Center filled up quickly with Chicagoans who are standing with Israel.

Caryn Beck brought her 13-year-old daughter for the noon rally.

"My daughter is a granddaughter of Holocaust survivors so it hits home," said Beck.

"I have family and friends in Israel. And I attend a Jewish school and they really teach us we need to stand with Israel because it's in our history and it's in our blood," said Tallulah Bark-Huss, Israeli supporter.

But support for Israel was not exclusive to the Jewish faith or to one political party. Several Chicago-area congressman and state leaders spoke, although it was Rev. Chris Harris of Bright Start Church that really rallied the crowd.

"Just as you stood with Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, in this challenging time we will not fail to stand with you as well. God bless love you and we love you," said Rev. Harris.

Calling herself a lapsed Catholic, Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka got the crowd cheering as well.

"I'm tired of Israel getting rocketed and bombed and picked on. I really don't like it," she said.

With talk of a possible ceasefire, Israel continues to target Gaza rocket launching sites in an effort to defend itself against Palestinian rocket attacks.

"Hammas is an organization that is committed officially to the destruction of the state of Israel," said Roey Gilad, Consul General of Israel to the Midwest.

"If this were Mexico throwing rockets into Texas, would we show restraint? I don't think so. Why should Israel be asked to sit back and let this happen to their children?" said Jacki Barron, Israeli supporter.

But a group of Palestinian supporters across the street didn't see it that way. After a large anti-Israel rally Monday night, they held their own counter protest Tuesday behind a line of police.

"The vast majority of the world is in condemnation of Israel's crimes. Over 100 people have been killed," said Hatem Abudayyeh, U.S. Palestinian Community Network.

At the end of Tuesday's rally, some Israel supporters stuck around and chanted across the street to the pro-Gaza protest. With a line of Chicago police between both of them, both sides remained calm.

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