A protester said tonight's demonstration will be peaceful.
By D.A. WILKINSON
VINDICATOR RELIGION EDITOR
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Valley's Jewish community will take part in the "We Stand With Israel" campaign tonight as local Palestinian supporters demonstrate outside.
Both events are set for 7 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center.
Ray Nakley, the head of the Coalition for Peace in the Middle East, said the demonstration is to be peaceful. The Arab Community Center and Peace Action Youngstown are also to take part.
More than 400 people are to take part in the local kickoff of the national Israel-solidarity campaign, according to Bonnie Deutsch Burdman, director of the local Jewish Community Relations Council.
The keynote speaker will be Consul Rachel Feinmesser of the Philadelphia Consulate General of Israel, which serves Ohio. State Rep. John Boccieri of New Middletown, D-57th, is to make a presentation.
The campaign is also designed to express outrage over the loss of Israeli life because of terrorism, according to Burdman.
An announcement of the rally says it will include a tribute to those murdered by terrorists since September 2000.
Burdman said the main thrust was remembering Israelis who were killed, but it would also remember those killed on Sept. 11. Both Israel and the United States are in a war with terrorists, Burdman said.
Nakley said the demonstration is an attempt to "connect Palestinian resistance to Israeli Occupation to the 9/11 terrorist attacks."
In a statement, Nakley also said: "While we recognize the right of Israel's supporters to express their feelings in our free society, we object to the implication that all Palestinian resistance to an illegal military occupation is unjustified. We deplore all violence, whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis, that results in the deaths of innocent civilians."
Nakley also said, "Right or wrong, justified or not, Palestinian violence is in reaction to a deliberate and systematic policy of oppression and dispossession designed to break the will of the Palestinian people to hold on to their land. By all means necessary, they have refused to be broken and will continue to resist."
Nakley also raised claims of an Israeli massacre during recent fighting in Jenin, a West Bank refugee camp. Israel has strongly denied such claims. A United Nations fact-finding commission began Wednesday.