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On November 19, I attended a pro-Israel rally in Irvine, California. I took some photos and video of the event, which lasted two hours. Of course, these rallies are going on all over the country, but there were some interesting aspects I wanted to share.
First of all, the rally was a joint venture between pro-Israelis and Iranian exiles. It was not the first since October 7 (I believe it was the third), and will not be the last. The principal themes were to support Israel, condemn Hamas, call for the return of the hostages, and condemn the current Islamic Republic of Iran.
There were numerous flags, not only Israeli and the US, but flags of the former Shah-led Iran as well.
It was the Iranians who were most vocal. Throughout the two-hour event, they used bullhorns to continuously repeat the above themes. One young lady told of how she grew up as a Jew in post-revolutionary Iran, living in fear and having to hide her Jewish identity.
Unlike the tragic event in Thousand Oaks on November 5, in which a Jewish man lost his life, this event was closely monitored by the Irvine police. At first, they just had two or three cars parked near the intersection, but as soon as the Hamas supporters began passing by with their flags and then taking up positions standing across the street, the police were there in force. They did an outstanding job.
As for the counter-protesters, something was different in this event as opposed to two previous rallies I had attended in Irvine after October 7. In the previous two rallies, almost one hundred percent of the passing motorists honked their horns and gave the thumbs up to our presence. What often happens, especially in Irvine, is that after the first half hour of our rallies, the word gets out through the cell phone grapevine among the Hamas supporters, and then you see some yahoos driving past with Palestinian flags and giving us the finger. That was not the case in the aforementioned two rallies I had attended after October 7. This time, however, the pro-Hamas crowd, mostly all young people, I would say, in their 20s or teens, started showing up in force driving past with their flags and keffiyehs. Then about 40 or so young people gathered on the opposite side of the street. Due to the heavy police presence, there were no violent incidents or unruly behavior that I observed.
Upon the close of our rally, a young lady sang the Israeli National Anthem, followed by a recording of Whitney Houston’s version of our own National Anthem, followed by the National Anthem of Iran (I presume a pre-revolutionary anthem). At that point, as I was leaving, I could hear the Hamas supporters chanting their obscene chant of “from the river to the sea…”
I will add some additional photos and videos to this post, but I wanted to get this up now.
I urge everybody to continue to show your support for Israel and stay safe out there.