Political arena

Area officials rally for Israel


Officials from Councilman Andrew Cohen to U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer have spoken at a series of high-profile events expressing solidarity with Israel as the country’s armed forces fight in Gaza and Palestinian militants continue attacks against Israel.

Mr. Schumer decried what he called a double standard of judging Israel during a Sunday event at the 92nd Street Y, which Rep. Eliot Engel, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Consul General of Israel Ido Aharoni and other officials also attended.

“Too many in the world and even here in the U.S. practice a double standard, a moral equivalence — ‘Oh, both sides are in the wrong’,” Mr. Schumer said. “We are here to fight that equivalency because every nation faced with what Israel has faced would do the same thing.”

Israel recently launched a mission to destroy tunnels in Gaza that it says enable militants to receive supplies and attack Israel. As of Tuesday, more than 500 Palestinians and 25 Israeli soldiers had been killed, according to The New York Times, which is tracking casualties in the grinding conflict.

Mr. Stringer called for people to both support Israel and debate about the conflict in the region. 

Mr. Engel attended the 92nd Street Y rally and a spontaneous pro-Israel event at Times Square on Sunday. He vowed that Congress will support Israel as it continues its campaign targeting the Palestinian group Hamas, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

Mr. Engel also spoke in support of Israel on the steps of City Hall earlier this month alongside officials including Mr. Cohen. Mr. Cohen took a somewhat different tone than Mr. Engel and Mr. Schumer, who have criticized people who have pointed out the disproportionate number of casualties between the two sides.

“With increased violence and rising death tolls in Israel, I stand with advocates and my colleagues in government to call for the end to these hostilities,” Mr. Cohen said in a statement after the City Hall event. “One life taken is one too many.”

Meanwhile, Riverdale’s prominent Rabbi Avi Weiss has gone on a solidarity visit to Israel, where he has a grandson in the army.


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