- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Protesters carrying cardboard coffins covered in black cloth marched to the Embassy of Israel last evening to protest Israel’s bombing in Lebanon after the terrorist group Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers.

More than 200 people walked silently along Connecticut Avenue Northwest, carrying the 50 coffins and signs through a residential area until they reached the embassy on International Drive, where they placed the coffins along the street.

“I want to bring some awareness to what is going on in Lebanon,” said Beth Callander, 26, who was evacuated Thursday from Beirut, where she was studying Arabic. “It is the worst thing I have seen in my life.”

The protesters included Arab-Americans, Christians and Orthodox Jews.

“The bombings in Lebanon are against the Ten Commandments — commands such as do not kill and do not steal,” said Rabbi Dovid Feldman, who marched with about 15 other Orthodox Jews from Jews United Against Zionism. “This is an embarrassment for all Jews.”

Protest organizers said they want an immediate end to the bombing and want Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, West Bank and Golan Heights. They said they chose a symbolic march through a residential area because they think the impact of the war is being hidden from American families.

A police escort followed the procession to the embassy.

“I thought the kidnapping [of two Israeli soldiers] was not a good idea, but the [Israeli] reaction has been disproportionate,” said Greg Delhaye, 32, a researcher at Georgetown University who carried a Palestinian flag. “I am worried it will push more [Lebanese] people to join Hezbollah.”

Earlier yesterday in Baltimore, more than a dozen Maryland officials expressed solidarity with the state’s Jewish community at a rally in support of Israel in its war with Hezbollah fighters.

Some politicians in tough election contests this year — including Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, and his Democratic opponent, Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley — condemned Hezbollah and were rewarded with enthusiastic cheers from the more than 350 people gathered at the city’s Holocaust Memorial.

“Hezbollah is as much America’s enemy as it is Israel’s enemy,” Mr. Ehrlich said. “This is a terror group. They must be engaged. They must be taken down. It is not that complicated.”

He also directed comments to about 50 protesters across the street, saying Marylanders are anguished by the bloodshed of children on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border.

U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, delivered an impassioned speech to his fellow Jews.

“Israel not only has the right to defend itself against terrorism, it has the responsibility to do it,” Mr. Cardin said.

“We stand united today with Israel in a common mission to root out terrorism wherever we will find it. We will not compromise in our fight against terrorism.”

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