The Global Conference for Israel opened in Denver Thursday night at the Colorado Convention Center with people attending from around the world amid. The program was planned for Denver for the first time ever, with about 2,500 people expected to attend over four days.
Among the speakers were Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Israel's ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan, who spoke late. In his fiery speech, Erdan blasted the United Nations, calling it, "The house of lies," noting that the Security Council has not criticized Hamas for its attacks.
"The U.N. is the global capital of falsehoods, of hypocrisy, of yes, the support of terror," said Erdan.
"I will not let the U.N. look away," said Erdan.
The U.N. Wednesday called for a move toward a two-state solution to the to the conflict between Israel and Palestinians, adding that Jerusalem should be a capitol of both states.
"Israel is a moral country that provides solutions and light to the world," said Erdan.
"There will be no cease-fire ever," he said, promising to free Gaza from Hamas.
The conference is run by the Jewish National Fund USA. It is an organization points to its work on humanitarian issues in Israel. Chief Executive Officer Russell Robinson was glad for support in Colorado, saying, "It's strength comes, our unity comes, from Israel. From being Zionists and caring about the land and the people."
The organization released a statement late Thursday that included a list of projects it has helped with and saying in part, "Over the past two months, we have cried what feels like oceans of tears as we mourn the 1,200 innocent Israeli citizens brutally murdered by Hamas terrorists." The message went on to state, "Amidst the death and destruction, our despair has turned into determination."
Attendees brought their experiences and worries over Israel and the conflict. Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm, who is director of the Chabad at the University of Colorado, talked about a cousin who is serving as a soldier in Gaza.
"Actually, speaking to him was very comforting to me," he said. "On the one hand he feels the responsibility to do what he has to do and on the other hand the sadness that comes with being at war and all the pain that comes with it."
CU senior Dave Phillips talked about the change in the attitudes of some on campus since the Hamas attacks and Israeli response.
"Since Oct. 7 it's really been prevalent on campus for people to be angry at Israel but moreso at Jews," he said.
Phillips spent the summer volunteering to teach lacrosse in Ashkelon, just north of Gaza.
"And looking back on that just seeing the faces of those little kids and knowing that they're under fire right now is just awful," he said.
"History keeps repeating itself and we say never again and never again is now. And so, it's our obligation as Jewish students and Jewish men and women that we need to stand up for Israel, stand up for our religion... We want peace and a lot of the world the world thinks we don't. There's nothing more that Judaism wants than love."
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