Groups gather in Denver to celebrate, protest Israel’s Independence Day

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DENVER — Organizers said thousands gathered for an annual march and festival to celebrate Israel’s upcoming Independence Day on Sunday at South High School. At the same time, across the street, a group utilized the opportunity to protest the conflict between Israel and Gaza.

Rabbi Jay Strear said Sunday was a wonderful opportunity to honor Israel and its relationship with the U.S.

“We as Americans, as Jews, celebrate the unbreakable bond between the United States and the modern state of Israel and all the ways it positively impacts our global community,” said Strear.

Thousands gathered for the march, carrying Israeli flags and paying homage to Israel.

“This is an amazing annual gathering for the community, for the Jewish community, as we express our commitment and love for all it stands for in our relationship between Israel and America,” said Strear.

Protesters across the street said Israel’s independence is nothing to celebrate.

“Celebrating oppressive regimes is not something we want to do as Jewish people,” said Abby Harms. “We are here for peace and to stand with Palestinians.”

“Fighting for human rights is not anti-Semitic. It is a Jewish value to fight for justice,” said Osie Adelfang.

Israel’s Independence Day officially begins Wednesday evening and ends Thursday evening.

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