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Governor Speaks at “We Stand With Israel” Rally


On Monday, Governor Kathy Hochul delivered remarks at the “We Stand With Israel” community rally in Albany.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is below:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. When I look out at this crowd this evening, it is so crystal clear to me that by your presence here, you will never do nothing. You will stand together as a community, united, sometimes by celebration, as was the intended gathering of Jews all across the world, to commemorate what is the happiest, most joyous time of the year. The conclusion of the Torah and the new beginning.

And to think about having just come through the Holy Days. Families, friends, people from all over gather. They dance. They have concerts, they’re at peace with who they are until the forces of evil intervene. Now Jews have been persecuted for their belief and being the chosen people of God throughout history. Antisemitism is not a 21st century phenomenon, it has always been there. But what is so shocking to all of us today, in 2023, that Saturday was the deadliest day for the Jewish community since the Holocaust.

This is a day that will be spoken about for generations, just as we speak with whispered tones about what families and people still living among us endured during the Holocaust. It is a black mark. It hurts. People are afraid. People still haven’t heard from their loved ones yet. They don’t know if they’re hostages.

We’re trying so hard to reunite families and offer support and prayers and conversations I’ve had with everyone from President Herzog, who I just met in New York a few weeks ago, invited me to Israel, and that trip was planned for very soon to our embassies, our State Department, I’ll be meeting the Israeli Ambassadors to the United Nations tomorrow to find out what we can do.

I also want you to know that as the Governor of the State, my number one priority is the safety of all New Yorkers. And to that end, early Saturday morning, when reports of this first came out, I knew as the leader of the state with the largest Jewish population outside of Israel – something I’m enormously proud of, and we celebrate all the time – I also knew we had a special vulnerability, that I had a responsibility to activate our State Police and our intelligence centers, a place will be visiting tomorrow morning, as we make sure that there are no messages being shared on social media that could indicate there’s an incitement to violence.

And what is terrifying to me is that there are other groups that are rising up, talking about this in a celebratory way – white supremacists, neo-Nazi groups, jihadists, all on social media, lauding this devastating event, which is still with us. So, we’ll be on top of that for sure.

But what must give us peace is to know that the world is united with Israel tonight in a way that I don’t believe it has been since the inception of this great concept of a democracy in the middle of the homeland 75 years ago – what a great vision it was to let people come back and celebrate the history and traditions and allow you to live in peace again.

We will fight to make sure that that peace is restored, that the terrorists know that they’ll find no comfort here – not in this state, not in this country. They’ll be called out. Yes, there will be a war. But it’ll be a just war, because it’s an attack on babies, children, grandmas, teenagers at a concert that will never, ever be forgotten.

Mark my words, I assure you as the Governor I will make sure that we leave no stone unturned to find out how we can make sure that every single one of you is safe when you gather, because that is your God given right to exercise your belief, your religion, your true identity.

I reflect upon a visit I had to a yeshiva not that long ago, as I was talking about our efforts to stop anti-Semitism, to make sure that the Holocaust is taught about in schools so the lessons are learned and understood, and there have been a number of instances in New York City where people were being attacked because of their attire.

This young man said, I’m not sure I should wear my yarmulke anymore because I’m afraid what they’ll do to me on the street. I might get pushed over my friend said – he said don’t wear it. I said, young man, you will wear that, because your ancestors before you have endured so much, but you honor them and those traditions and the great education and the beliefs that have been passed down to you and trusted to you because you will keep them whole and strong, but you’ll also pass them on to the next generation.

That is the strength, the power, of the Jewish community and all of us honor that here tonight. We stand with Israel. Today I flew the flag over my own residence, the Governor’s mansion, and they’ll still be flying over your state’s capital beginning Wednesday.

So, to Rabbi Weitzman, Cantor Short, I thank you for allowing me to share in this, Jeffrey Handelman, our board of directors, and all the elected officials who were named, thank you. Thank you for just being here. Thank you for saying this is a time for a community to come together in person, and to hug, and to touch, and to be so human, and to think about the people halfway across the world who are suffering tonight. We are all suffering with them.

Prayers are important. Keep them in your prayers. But by being out here tonight, you hold a candle high, they’ll see across the world to know that we are with Israel. Thank you very much.

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