An estimated 300,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday in a massive show of support for the nation of Israel in its war against Hamas.
Organizers of the “March for Israel” rally, who only anticipated a crowd one-third the size, celebrated the demonstration as a victory over antisemitism and welcomed lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to unify on the issue.
According to the Jewish Federations of North America, more than 290,000 people — mostly Christians and Jews — arrived at the National Mall on Tuesday afternoon for the day’s events. Another 250,000 are said to have watched online around the world. Organizers advertised the event as “an opportunity to come together in solidarity with the people of Israel, to demonstrate our commitment to America’s most important ally in the Middle East, to condemn the rising trend of antisemitic violence and harassment, and to demand that every hostage be immediately and safely released.”
To that end, the day began with Senate Republican Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) welcoming 170 family members of hostages taken by Hamas during the October 7 attack on Israel. “We are all standing here in unity with you,” he told them. “For the family members, you have seen the face of terror, the horrors, the brutality. We are heartbroken by that.”
“We want to work with you in every way that we can for the safe return to all of you of your family members who are currently being held hostage,” he added. “Thank you, welcome to Washington, we are all brothers and sisters here today.”
At 2 pm, majority and minority leaders from both houses of Congress took the stage in a show of bipartisan solidarity. House Speaker Mike Johson (R-LA), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Republican Senator Joni Ernst held hands and chanted “We stand with Israel!” in unison.
Other speakers, both Jewish and Christian, invoked faith and scripture to unite supporters of the Israeli cause. Israeli President Isaac Herzog declared “Once again in Jewish history, we demand, let our people go!” in reference to the words of Moses. Pastor John Hagee of Christians United for Israel declared that “if a line has to be drawn, then draw that line around both Christians and Jews. We are one!”
The event culminated in a traditional Jewish prayer service outside the White House, and despite the size of the crowd, no major incidents were reported by authorities. This stood in contrast to a pro-Palestine rally held outside the Executive residence earlier this month, which saw protesters vandalize the front gates and attempt to breach White House grounds.
Less than a day after the “March for Israel,” a smaller group of pro-Palestine demonstrators also besieged the DC headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, leading to clashes with Capitol Police.