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November 16, 2015 1:48 pm

Pro-Israel Rally in Florida Shows Support for Paris and Victims of Deadly Attacks

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The Holocaust memorial in Miami Beach is the site of Sunday's rally.

The Holocaust memorial in Miami Beach is the site of Sunday’s rally.

A pro-Israel rally held Sunday night in Miami Beach drew attention to victims of Friday’s deadly Paris attacks and expressed support for the French capital, the Miami Herald reported.

The demonstration, held at the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach, also commemorated the 77th anniversary of Kristallnacht. Speakers included Norman Braman, a past president of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation; Holocaust Memorial chair Andrew Hall; US Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio and US Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

The event drew hundreds of participants, who originally gathered to protest the rise in worldwide antisemitism and the growing campaign against Israel’s existence, but Friday’s attacks in Paris was not left unmentioned.

Rubio condemned the Paris attacks, which left at least 132 people dead and more than 350 wounded, saying they are a “reminder that evil is alive and well in the world.” In a released statement, he called the attacks a “wake-up call,” and described the events as a “clash of civilizations.”

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“It [evil] changes names; it changes locations,” Rubio said. “But it is evil nonetheless.”

The Florida senator also decried the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and criticized inaction on the issue by American political leaders. He said, “We must name and shame those who are responsible [for antisemitic and terrorist acts]. When we fail to do so, we threaten Israel.”

The Paris carnage was also addressed by Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, who said, “This barbarism that took place in Europe will remind us that this is an enemy that, just because we wish them to go away, does not mean that they, the enemy, is stopping the fight.”

Hall called the BDS movement “a cover for antisemitism,” and the rally “a call to conscience,” according to the Miami Herald. 

“Rather than sit quietly and hope for a happy ending, we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” he said. “We’re pressing that alarm button because it’s time to be alarmed, speak out and express ourselves that we’re going to be vigilant of the rights of Jews around the world.”

Some locals who attended the rally told CBS4 that Israel understands what it’s like being a target based on hatred. Stanley Haar, a Boca Raton native, believes Friday night’s terrorist attacks in France contributed to the large crowd that gathered in Miami Beach on Sunday.

“Obviously the events in Paris help bring out more people,” he said, choking back tears. “We’re in a time period that is not exactly the same but echoes that of the 1930’s where antisemitism is always sadly at the forefront of problems of religious hatred, generally that affect other groups and other countries.”

The rally was sponsored by the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, its Jewish Community Relations Council, the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach, the Consulate General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico and the Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami, in partnership with 78 other organizations throughout South Florida.

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