National News

At City Hall, Scott, Weinberger, faith leaders rally behind Israel

Ron Lawrence photo

Compassion and concern were the common threads of speakers at the Rally for Solidarity with the People of Israel for Jews and Allies held in front of Burlington City Hall, Sunday afternoon, October 15. 

The event was hosted by Chabad Burlington, Jewish Communities of Vermont 2.0, Ohavi Zedek Synagogue, Temple Sinai Vermont, and Draizy Junik. 

Hundreds of peaceful protesters waved Israeli and American flags and held printed and handmade signs demonstrating that they stand with Israel. Attendees were from synagogues, churches, and homes inhabited by concerned citizens from across the region. 

Ron Lawrence photo

Local Rabbis gave an account of devastating current events that people in Israel have experienced in recent days. They shared scriptures and songs of hope. They extended copious appreciation for all who gathered to stand with and show support for Jews in Vermont and Israel.

Among the guest speakers were Vermont Governor Phil Scott, Burlington’s Mayor Miro Weinberger, Burlington City Council President Karen Paul, and representatives from the offices of Peter Welch, Bernie Sanders, Becca Balint, and others. 

Governor Scott and others denounced the actions of the Hamas terrorists as evil. One of the Rabbis spoke of the importance of building loving kindness. The prevailing messages spoke of the need for peace in Israel.  While the mood was somber, the rally appeared to encourage some with the realization that they were not alone. 

Photo by Ron Lawrence (at left) with Janet Metz, Arabella Hubbard, and Deb Billado

Weinberger’s office forwarded his speech to the media. It appears below:

I am deeply saddened but proud to be here today to stand in solidarity with you. To stand in solidarity with the state of Israel. To stand in solidarity with my fellow Jews of Burlington and beyond during a time that recalls some of the darkest days in the history of the Jewish people. To stand in solidarity with all those who reject and condemn the horrific, inhumane attack by Hamas against innocent Israeli citizens whose only provocation was to exist. 

Burlington has a long and brave record of speaking out against injustice, hate, and inhumanity. In these moments that test us, I am always grateful to be a part of this strong and supportive community.   

The extended and painful history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complicated and nuanced, and well-intentioned people can disagree on the best way forward toward peace.  

There was nothing complicated or nuanced about what happened last Saturday when Hamas massacred parents and young children, ambushed concert-goers, and kidnapped grandparents and babies in pursuit of their long-standing, genocidal goal of eradicating Israel and the Jewish people. 

There can be no equivocation. Hamas committed a vile terrorist attack that violated nearly every article of international human rights law forged by our global community in the wake of World War II.  

To legitimize in any way such horrific atrocities is to invite an expansion of such barbarism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and into disputes around the world. 

We all want peace to prevail as quickly as possible, yet no one should question Israel’s right and duty to defend itself and its citizens. This attack reminds us why the State of Israel was founded – to provide safety to Jews in a too often hostile world – and of the vital, supportive role the United States has played since its founding. 

I am grateful that President Biden has declared forcefully, and taken swift action to make clear, that the United States has Israel’s back, as we always have.  

I am grateful that President Biden has reminded Israeli leaders that democracies are stronger and more secure when they act according to the rules of law and the laws of war. 

My heart goes out to all citizens of Israel, and to innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere who have been thrown into the maelstrom by last Saturday’s attack.  

And my heart is here with you – the people of Burlington and Vermont, who share the grief, fear, and trauma that Hamas has brought to Jewish and Muslim people in this community.

This is not a time to reject or alienate our neighbors. We know right from wrong. We know what to do when there is pain, suffering, and injustice in the world. Now is a time to welcome and love our neighbors – to care for each other, and to love each other. 

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Categories: National News, Religion

19 replies »

  1. To those who just don’t get it because hey, I’m not Jewish so what do I care, or it’s just Israel so whatever, or “America First”. It may start with the Jews but it won’t end with the Jews. So while I expect precious little care or concern from most who comment here on VDC, you might want to consider that they’re coming for your righteous Christian self too. Atheists as well. Hamas are radical Islamists. So is Iran. And Islamic Jihad. They are dedicated to the conversion or slaughter of ALL non-Moslems EVERYWHERE on earth so that they may turn the world into a giant caliphate. So yeah, that includes you too. You might not care now but you will.

    • @ John

      Israel has long been accused of war crimes by the horribly antisemitic UN, dominated by Moslem countries. The world is quick to pile on and accuse Israel of all manner of injustices. The ignorant haters lap it up. I can tell you that a fair number of Israeli leftists who advocated for coexistence with Gaza and peace with Moslems and all the rest, were brutally slaughtered on 10/7 without care or concern that they were advocates for Gaza. So you go on deluding yourself. They will slaughter you as quickly as they would slaughter me.

  2. Outside of a few reformers, Islam rejects as idolatry the idea that humans are made in the image of God. The Hadiths, a source of Islamic authority second only to the Quran, calls for the extermination of the Jews, a fact explicitly noted in the Hamas charter.
    Hamas in Israel, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Houthis in Yemen, Taliban in Afghanistan, ISIS in Syria . . . what is the common denominator? Iran. Perhaps the time in now to do whatever it takes to eliminate the the roots of terrorism, the Ayatollahs of Iran. They are the ones coordinating the atrocities being carried out with a single goal, to eliminate Jews and Christians (“infidels” ) from the face of the earth. These Islamic radicals want no part of diplomacy or living in peace, it is their way or die. Look at the 10s of thousands in Arabic cities across the globe, and even American cities, mobs chanting “Death to Israel. Death to America” in the Day of Jihad promoted by Hamas/Iran It’s time to either stand for either good or evil . . . no room for being lukewarm. The time is now for strong leadership.

    • @ Bill

      But most here don’t get it. They do an online search and take everything they find as fact. They have zero conception of the massive PR campaign being propagated by Islamists and their supporters. And they don’t understand that they are coming for them too. I’m tired of stupidity and ignorance.

  3. I’m sick of both sides on this one, but it’s hilarious watching a lot of folks finally reaping what they’ve sown.

      • I didn’t say “all of this.” I said the part where folks finally reap what they’ve sown.

        Your assumptions on the matter are your own issue.

  4. It would be interesting to see how the local LGBT+++ community comes down on taking sides in this issue. Many self-hating liberals would be too ignorant to see the irony here in supporting a religious-based political movement when the standard ideology of that religion is to treat LGBT people as criminals, in some cases and places subject to the death penalty…

    • @ Rich

      The Moslems, and certainly Islamist’s kill gays. Ironically some flee to Israel for protection. And young gay Arabs in Israel or Judea/Samaria flee to shelters operated by Jews. So yeah, the support the left gives Gazans and other Palestinians is ironic really; supporting those who would kill your and hating those who would keep you safe. Go figure.

  5. Revelation 2:9 and 3:9: “fake” bankers fund both sides of all wars and terrorist acts, then use propaganda and division to foment more war: more hate, more deaths, more control. It’s a win-win only for the DS. Humanity takes the hit. Our salvation comes through Jesus, who was a Jew. God already won through Jesus’ perfect life and sacrifice. Choose a side: Are you with God, or against Him?

  6. A former Israeli military intelligence person spoke about the fact the defense systems surrounding Israel is the most sophisticated technological defense and monoriting system on the planet. She said the recent attack was troubling her and could only happen if someone on the “inside” allowed it to happen. Testimony of residents there are speaking out saying the same thing. They live there, they know. Oddly, a large protest was planned against Bibi and his justice reform plan- which they have been in the streets protesting Bibi for most of the year. Oddly, The Biden funnels money and intelligence to Iran weeks prior? The Biden leaving arms in Afghanistan and sending boatloads of arms to Ukraine? I guess most didn’t see the Biden Official removed for spilling secrets to Iran? Rumor has it Iran is going to expose The Biden, Clinton, and all the others if the money dries up. The war machine keeps turning for a big push to WWIII. They only needed to set up the spark and the attack – 9/11 style. Anyone under the age of 35 will be called up – including the alphabet mafia.

    • “the recent attack was troubling her and could only happen if someone on the “inside” allowed it to happen”
      Sorta like what’s going on on our southern boarder.