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Jews Left Stranded as Chartered Buses Across US Allegedly Refuse to Drive Pro-Israel Supporters to Major DC Rally

Jewish Americans and supporters of Israel gather at the National Mall in Washington, DC on Nov. 14, 2023 for the “March for Israel” rally. Photo: Dion J. Pierre/The Algemeiner

Across the US, groups of American Jews and pro-Israel advocates traveling to Washington, DC for a massive rally on Tuesday organized to show support for Israel and denounce antisemitism were left stranded as chartered buses either refused to transport them or never showed up.

US Jewish groups organized the “March for Israel” to demand the release of hostages held captive by Hamas in Gaza and to demonstrate support for both the Jewish state and the Jewish community amid a global surge in antisemitism that has followed the Palestinian terror group’s Oct 7. massacre across southern Israel.

Tuesday’s rally was both the largest ever pro-Israel gathering and the largest Jewish gathering in US history, with nearly 300,000 people attending, according to event organizers.

However, large numbers of people traveling to attend the rally either could not show up or were forced to scramble last second and final alternative transportation due to multiple instances nationwide of buses not driving them.

Hundreds of American Jews from Detroit, for example, were left stranded at Dulles Airport in Virginia after drivers of chartered buses refused to transport them to nearby Washington, DC, according to multiple reports.

“I’ve been on the airplane unable to de-board because the bus drivers refuse to pick up Jews from the tarmac,” one hopeful marcher — who was one of 900 passengers signed up by the Jewish Federation of Detroit to attend the event — said in a post published on Instagram. “Imagine this was the other way around, and drivers wouldn’t pick up Muslims. It would be a hate crime.”

According to pro-Israel social media accounts monitoring the situation, the bus drivers had staged a “mass sick out” after learning that their passengers were going to a rally in support of the Jewish state. The Algemeiner was unable to independently confirm that claim.

Meanwhile, VINnews reported that the plight of the passengers was made all the worse because their flights, charted specifically for the DC rally, did not pass through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening, thereby preventing the activists from waiting inside the airport terminal. Eventually, they were turned away and sent home.

Michigan State Sen. Jeremy Moss, a Democrat, was among those who traveled to Washington on one of the chartered planes that he said arrived at Dulles Airport on Tuesday morning. He told the Detroit News that his group waited hours to deplane before loading onto a bus and sat there for several minutes before unloading and getting back on the airplane. The group sat on the plane all afternoon and never made it to the rally.

“I’m still awaiting all of the details of why the bus drivers didn’t show up,” Moss said, expressing disappointment about not being able to attend the historic event in the nation’s capital.

“I’ve spent my tenure in the Legislature fighting discrimination when seeking goods or services that are denied based on identity or affiliation,” he added. “There are a lot of questions and we deserve to know the answers.”

A similar incident happened in Westport, Connecticut, where hundreds of people set to take two buses booked with US Coachways to Washington were forced to drive down in 38 cars after the company cancelled their reservations, News 12 Connecticut reported. Jewish Federation of Greater Fairfield County CEO Carin Savel, whose group organized the trip, said the dispatcher told her there had been a scheduling error and the buses had been canceled.

Jewish and pro-Israel leaders expressed outrage over the inexplicable transportation issues. “To the bus company that refused to transport my local Jewish community off the tarmac at Dulles to the DC March for Israel rally: You’re about to find out,” tweeted Adar Rubin, Director of Mobilization at End Jew Hatred, an antisemitism watchdog.

Amid a historic surge in antisemitism since the Hamas terror group’s Oct. 7 assault on Israel, critics have alleged the transportation issues were meant to sabotage the “March for Israel,” where hundreds of thousands of Jewish Americans and pro-Israel advocates packed the National Mall in a historic show of solidarity with the Jewish state amid its war with Hamas.

Speakers at the rally included the famed human rights activist Natan Sharansky, US Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA), and Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who appeared via live feed, among many other voices.

College students were also represented among the day’s speakers.

“Our spirit is unbroken,” George Washington University student Sabrina Soffer said during a speech delivered before the massive crowd. “Nothing at all can splinter the Jewish soul. The Jewish soul, the American resolve, allied together shall never surrender values of civilization, democracy, and humanity.”

The marchers, who traveled from across the US, represented a full spectrum of the Jewish community and its allies. As one participant told The Algemeiner, it was an important display of unity and the peaceful intentions of the Jewish people.

“I think it’s beautiful. It just shows that we are in peace, that we come in peace, and we’re not interested in violence, and on the contrary we’re fighting that in the world and all antisemitism and hatred of all kinds,” said Beverly Mehl, from New York. “It’s very important to show strength, to do something and take action.”

The scale and success of the “March for Israel” was striking given that it was organized in just a matter of weeks. Natan Sharansky, the famed refusenik and international campaigner against antisemitism, highlighted the pressing need for a mass pro-Israel rally in a recent article for Tablet magazine and drew a comparison with marches in 1987 attended by hundreds of thousands to support Soviet Jewry.

“Immediately after the [Oct. 7] attack we found that all of us were being attacked, and so the world Jewry is feeling like one family, supporting one another, because I hear from so many who say they never imagined that they would be afraid in their countries,” Sharansky told The Algemeiner ahead of the demonstration. “We all have to rally quickly to turn into one fighting family, and I think that’s what Jews are doing now and why this demonstration is happening.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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UN Committee Says Not Enough Evidence to Declare a Famine in Gaza

Egyptian trucks carrying humanitarian aid make their way to the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, at the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Israel, May 30, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The United Nations Famine Review Committee (FRC), a panel of experts in international food security and nutrition, has cast doubt on the notion that the northern Gaza Strip is suffering through a famine.

In a report released earlier this month, the committee responded to a claim by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) — a US-created provider of warning and analysis on food insecurity — that a famine was likely underway in northern Gaza. FEWS NET said that northern Gaza began experiencing famine in April and projected that the embattled enclave would endure famine until at least July 31.

The FRC rejected the assertion that northern Gaza is experiencing famine, citing the “uncertainty and lack of convergence of the supporting evidence employed in the analysis.” The panel carries out evaluations of humanitarian conditions on behalf of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an international famine monitoring initiative. 

The FRC added that there is not sufficient evidence to confirm the existence of a famine within northern Gaza and called for more humanitarian access into the warzone, providing experts an opportunity to give an accurate assessment of the conditions. 

“The very fact that we are unable to endorse (or not) FEWS NET’s analysis is driven by the lack of essential up-to-date data on human well-being in northern Gaza, and Gaza at large,” the report stated. “Thus, the FRC strongly requests all parties to enable humanitarian access in general, and specifically to provide a window of opportunity to conduct field surveys in northern Gaza to have more solid evidence of the food consumption, nutrition, and mortality situation.”

However, the panel warned that Gaza is still enduring “extreme human suffering” and called for the “complete, safe, unhindered, and sustained” transport of aid into the enclave.

The report represents a course-reversal for the FRC, which claimed that Gaza likely surpassed the “famine thresholds for acute malnutrition” in March. The FRC now contends that civilians in Gaza are experiencing improved humanitarian conditions as a result of increased aid flowing into the war-torn enclave.   

“Since the FRC review conducted in March 2024, there seems to have been a significant increase in the number of food trucks entering northern Gaza,” the report read.

“The FEWS NET analysis acknowledges that humanitarian assistance in the area has increased significantly, finding that caloric availability from humanitarian assistance increased from 9 percent in February to 34 percent  to 36 percent in March and 59 percent to 63 percent in April. The opening of alternative routes to the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, the authorization of commercial truck entry, as well as airdrops, allowed for an increase of food availability,” the report continued.

Several aid agencies, media outlets, and politicians, as well as pro-Palestinian activists, have repeatedly accused Israel of inflicting famine on Palestinians since beginning its military operations in Gaza following Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter of over 1,200 people throughout southern Israel. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, accused Israel of using starvation as a “weapon of war.”

Despite these allegations, data produced by the United Nations showed that Israel allowed more than 100 food trucks to enter Gaza per day in March, an increase from the daily average of 70 trucks before the war. Moreover, many trucks transporting aid into Gaza have been hijacked and seized by Hamas terrorists, increasing the difficulty of distributing food to civilians.

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Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism

Hundreds of people filled the lawn in front of the Toronto District School Board (TSDB) to oppose a proposed anti-discrimination policy being voted on by trustees that would include recognizing anti-Palestinian racism—while failing to acknowledge rising antisemitism in schools. The report, entitled Combating Hate and Racism: Student Learning Strategy, was received without any amendments by […]

The post Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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French President Denounces ‘Scourge of Antisemitism’ After 12-Year-Old Jewish Girl Raped

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference in Paris, France, June 12, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday denounced the “scourge of antisemitism” and called on schools to hold discussions on racism and hatred of Jews after three boys were charged with raping a 12-year-old Jewish girl in a Paris suburb.

The young girl told police that she was approached by three boys who raped and beat her in the northwestern Paris suburb of Courbevoie on Saturday in an incident that French authorities have described as a hate crime. According to French media, the assailants called the victim a “dirty Jew” and uttered other antisemitic remarks during the brutal gang-rape.

A police source told AFP that one of the boys asked the young girl questions about “her Jewish religion” and Israel, citing the child’s statement to investigators.

The boys — two aged 13 and one 12 — were arrested on Monday and indicted on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Macron’s office said the president asked French Education Minister Nicole Belloubet “to organize a discussion in all schools on the fight against antisemitism and racism, to prevent hate speech with serious consequences from infiltrating schools.”

The rape of the unnamed 12-year-old girl has caused outrage throughout France and among the Jewish community.

Elie Korchia, president of France’s Central Israelite Consistory, told BFM TV that the girl was raped “because she is Jewish,” adding, “We have never seen antisemitism that extends so far in all areas of life.”

Courbevoie Mayor Jacques Kossowski echoed that sentiment in a statement released on X/Twitter, saying, “The rape was carried out with antisemitic intent.”

Eric Ciotti, leader of Les Républicains, also condemned the “rise of antisemitism” in France, which he argued was “fueled by the alliance of the far left.” He added that “we must act as a bulwark” against antisemitism.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Rally party, decried the rape on social media. She noted “the explosion of antisemitic acts” in France since Oct. 7.

The recent gang-rape came amid a record surge of antisemitism in France in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel. Antisemitic outrages rose by over 1,000 percent in the final three months of 2023 compared with the previous year, with over 1,200 incidents reported — greater than the total number of incidents in France for the previous three years combined.

In April, a Jewish woman was beaten and raped in a suburb of Paris as “vengeance for Palestine.”

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