The largest yearly gathering of support for Israel in the world, the annual Celebrate Israel Parade was held in NYC on June 3rd, 2012. 35,000 marchers entertained tens of thousands of spectators with 29 floats with musical performers, 18 marching bands.
(Step through JooTube's playlist of 100 clips using the "advance" button to the right of the "play" button).
This year’s parade includes lively floats, some of the NY/NJ/Connecticut region’s best marching bands, top area musicians, and a number of other exciting additions suitable for all ages, including groups of stilt walkers, dancing rollerbladers, and juggling clowns. Musical acts featured at the parade include Grammy-nominated electronic band J. Viewz, Middle Eastern folk group SoulFarm, reggae-influenced Moshe Hecht Band and Jewish rockers Blue Fringe.
The Jewish Community Relations Council permitted marching by leftist, New Israel Fund- affiliated groups (who some consider anti-Israel) who pressure Israel (and West Bank Jews) through lobbying Washington and promoting boycotts, divestment, and sanctions of Israeli and West Bank Jewish products- to remove Jews from Judea to cede territory to a state of Palestine.
Among the paraders who spoke with JooTube are members of Jewish War Veterans, American Veterans of Israel (Machal), employees of the State of Israel led by Israeli Parliamentarian Silvan Shalom, El Al Airlines crew and staff (who sing and dance freilachs) led by Danny Saadon, and Robert Stearns' Christian Zionist group, Eagles Wings.
Author Peter Beinart of J-Street, gives his perspective from marching in the parade, while Shmuel Sackett of the Israeli Leadership (Manhigut Yehudit) Party gives an opposing perspective. Helen Freedman of Americans for a Safe Israel argued against the groups as detrimental to Jewish Israel's interests. Ms. Freedman, along with Rabbi David Algaze, were among the NY'ers who addressed a United Jerusalem Concert and Rally in Central Park which followed the Parade.
The parade is the marquee event of the JCRC-NY’s Celebrate Israel Project – an initiative largely sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York, Jewish Communal Fund, Israel Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Consulate General of Israel in New York – that celebrates the positive impact the Jewish and democratic state of Israel has on the lives of people around the world.
“We are delighted to be involved in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade,” Israel’s Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein said. “More than just a parade, this day is a celebration of the special relationship between Israel and America that is rooted in common values and goals. Like America, Israel is a strong, vibrant democracy, a symbol of freedom, tolerance and understanding. My ministry strives to strengthen our relationship with Jewish communities in the United States, and events like these are critical to both nations.”
“It’s a joy to see throngs of supporters of Israel from across the metropolitan area and beyond come together to celebrate at the annual parade,” JCRC-NY Executive Vice President and CEO Michael Miller said. “We who stand with Israel are strengthened by the sight of hundreds of thousands of people lining Fifth Avenue as schools, community groups, marching bands and floats decked in blue and white go by. Year after year, the parade never ceases to be a thrilling experience, bringing the unflagging spirit of Israel to the streets of New York. I feel privileged to be a part of the festivities.”
For the second year in a row, the parade was televised live by WWOR-TV My9. Anchoring the My9 broadcast was Fox 5 and My9 anchor Harry Martin and Israeli TV presenter Becky Griffin.