As for these rallies and other ways to show "support" for Israel: Elf recently posted about 17 Tammuz and quoted Zechariah:
When you fasted and lamented in the fifth and seventh months all these seventy years, did you fast for my [God's] benefit? And when you eat and drink, who but you does the eating, and who but you does the drinking (7:5-6)?
In other words, go ahead and fast if it's going to help you (and I did on Thursday), but don't fool yourself into thinking that your fast in itself has any effect.
Likewise, people can go to rallies if it's going to make them feel better, but it's not going to help the situation in Israel any more than going to a Red Sox rally will help the Red Sox win more games. At best, it's an opportunity to gather and commiserate with other Red Sox fans, I mean Israel "supporters", and at worst, it's an opportunity to yell "Nazi" at the New Israel Fund delegation (this happened at the DC rally in April 2002). But that's it.
Some say that the purpose is to sway US public opinion and/or policy. Suppose for the sake of argument that this is accomplished (in whatever direction you want, without loss of generality). Then what? The US doesn't have the ability to get Israel out of this mess. If it did, then it would have done so a long time ago.
The only way out of this mess is to follow this plan (and I don't know or care what order these things should happen in):
- Hezbollah and Hamas should stop firing rockets into Israel.
- The IDF should stop bombing Lebanon and Gaza.
- The three captive Israeli soldiers should be returned safely.