August 18, 2005
Gaza Protests in L.A., N.Y. Prove Mild
A rally planned for last weekend outside the Los Angeles Israeli consulate to protest this week's Gaza settler pullout was canceled, but in its place arose a somber gathering of about 70 people.
"Nothing organized -- just people coming together and crying together and expressing pain together," said Daryl Temkin, a Jewish community activist who spoke at the event.
The local Web site-based movement, www.SaveGushKatif.org, named after the main Jewish settlement bloc in Gaza, last week called for an Aug. 14 prayer vigil at the consulate. It hoped to attract hundreds of pullout opponents, as did a July 24 demonstration that drew about 500. By midweek, however, the rally was canceled.
"It was too much to pull off in one short time," Temkin said.
But several dozen people did gather at the consulate Sunday night "to express feelings of love and support for what the people of Israel are going through." People read psalms and spoke extemporaneously, Temkin said.
That same day in New York, several hundred Jews rallied outside the United Nations to pray for settlers in the Gaza Strip who are leaving their homes. The group said it was there to express sadness at the move, not to protest the withdrawal, the Associated Press reported.
The mild tone and modest attendance at the U.S. events contrasted sharply with the vigorous, defiant actions of thousands of demonstrators in Israel.