As world leaders convened for the second day of the United Nations General Assembly, tens of thousands of supporters of Israel gathered across the street from United Nations headquarters to protest President Ahmadinejad of Iran and to call for the unconditional release of the Israeli soldiers kidnapped on July 12. The international and national leaders who stepped up to the podium also challenged the United Nations to take preventative action against the Iranian leader who threatens the Jewish people with genocide.
The National Solidarity Rally, sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Community Relations Council, sent a message of solidarity with Israel and support for the war against global terrorism and its state sponsors.
"This is a message to the leaders of the world that we reject Ahmadinejad and his message of hate and the immorality he represents," the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents, Malcolm Hoenlein, said.
Speakers at the rally included Foreign Minister Livni, Ambassador Bolton, Governor Pataki, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, and Professor Alan Dershowitz.
"We stand united today against the terrorist and the hostage takers. We say to them terror will not defeat us," Ms. Livni said. "We will not rest until the Israeli hostages, our sons, come home to the embrace of a loving nation."
The wife of kidnapped soldier Ehud Goldwasser, Karni Goldwasser, demanded of the United Nations, "Stop talking and start to act," to bring her husband back home.
Mr. Wiesel chastised the United Nations for welcoming Mr. Ahmadinejad to the General Assembly at all. "A man who brings shame to the world has no place anywhere. He must be excluded from all groups of international nations," he said.
Headliners at the rally stressed that while Israel may be Iran's primary target, Iran with nuclear weapons would become the world's threat. The crowd included Christians and Jews from across the country, many sounding ram's horns as a call for unity with Israel.
"We stand with those who defend freedom in every corner of this globe," Mr. Pataki said. "We must stand with the free independent people of Israel."
Mr. Dershowitz also announced the preparation of an indictment to be drafted against the Islamic Republic of Iran and its leader, accusing Mr. Ahmadinejad of inciting genocide against the Jewish people. "This indictment poses the perfect test case to see whether or not these international organizations have the will, determination and ability to take action before a genocide is completed rather than merely to build memorials for past victims," he said.
While many Jewish leaders were asked to meet with Mr. Ahmadinejad during his visit to America, all said they rejected the offer. "I've been asked to meet with him," the president of the Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein, said. "What's to talk about, when he's going to kill me?"
Mr. Bolton noted that America had offered dialogue to Iran. "We are prepared to talk to you even though you continue to support terrorism because of our concern over nuclear weapons," Mr. Bolton said, who called the offer "extraordinarily generous."
"We ask only one thing of Iran — that it stops its pursuit of uranium enrichment. Today, the Iranian government has refused to do that." Mr. Bolton said that in the face of Iran's refusal, the administration would not hesitate to impose sanctions against the country's financial institutions.
Among New York's elected officials who came out to show their support for Israel but did not appear on stage were Republican candidate for Governor John Faso, Republican candidate for Attorney General Jeanine Pirro, State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, and more than half a dozen City Council members.