NYC turns blue and white in honor of Israel parade

Tens of thousands of marchers flooded New York’s main avenue in honor of Israel. 

Elected officials joined thousands of marchers in a sea of blue and white flags along New York City’s Fifth Avenue for the annual Celebrate Israel parade.

Participants ranging from school-age children to adults came out Sunday under overcast skies for the event. Elected officials who marched included New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as Sen. Charles Schumer. Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber was an honorary grand marshal.

Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan represented Israel.

The event was formerly known as the Salute to Israel Parade, and marks the birth of the Jewish state in 1948. The thousands of people who take part include students from regional yeshivas and Jewish day schools, Jewish groups and synagogues.

At the parade Sunday, Cuomo declared the day as Shimon Peres Day.

“Shimon Peres was a phenomenal world leader. He had been in public service for 50 years. Prime minister of Israel, president of Israel, foreign minister of Israel, but he was a leader respected internationally,” Cuomo said. “When you were with him you believed and felt you were in the presence of greatness.”

New Tools to Combat BDS

Erdan launched a website aimed at combating the BDS (Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions) movement and incitement against the state of Israel. The 4IL website will provide multi-media content that will be available to millions of pro-Israel activists around the world.

“The enemies of Israel are using cell phones and social media to spread lies, incitement and hatred against our country, and also against Western civilization,” Erdan said from New York.

“This initiative will allow Israel advocates to spread the truth about the country and to expose the true face of the delegitimization activists,” he added.

Erdan said he chose the annual pro-Israel event to launch the app because it fell this year on the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and in order to promote the message that “our strength is in our collective unity.”

BDS is a collection of anti-Israel groups seeking to delegitimize the State of Israel and to destabilize it via economic, cultural and academic boycott.

A mobile app aimed at combatting BDS developed by the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in conjunction with the Israeli-American Council (IAC) and the Maccabee Task Force also went live. The application allows pro-Israel communities and organizations to work together to fight anti-Israel incitement online by creating and distributing tailor made campaigns and by rebutting false and inciting language.

By: AP and TPS