Passers-by in the center of tourist-driven Hollywood were greeted on Jan. 27 by an uncommon scene — ralliers bearing Israeli flags and pro-Zionist signs while singing a rendition of “Am Yisrael Chai.”
About 25 people attended the Sunday afternoon Rally Against Anti-Semitism staged by the Creative Zionist Coalition (CZC), a newly formed local group that aims to organize pro-Israel Jews and non-Jews via creative means, such as holding a very public rally at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.
Orit Arfa, founder of CZC and a Los Angeles native, hopes that visible rallies such as this one will push Israel’s supporters to “go on the offensive” to support the Jewish state.
“We wanted to come out with a strong message of Jewish and Zionist pride, rather than be apologetic about Israel and be on the defensive in terms of rebutting the claims of our enemies,” Arfa said.
The rally attracted a handful of Israel supporters who were strolling along the boulevard, as well as some critics — one man began arguing with the demonstrators, but then walked away without any further incident. Another man, who said he was not Jewish, picked up an Israeli flag, started dancing and chanted, “It’s cool to be a Jew.”
Jan. 27 is both International Holocaust Remembrance Day and International Day for Countering Anti-Semitism. On Jan. 27, 1945, Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz death camp in Poland.
Sunday’s Hollywood rally was one of many pro-Israel demonstrations held around the world. When the World Zionist Organization and Zionist Organization of America announced the need for an L.A. rally, Arfa said she enthusiastically volunteered.
“We hope it is just the start of something big, and that powerful, thoughtful street activism will become more widespread among Jews.”