Israel supporters attending rally from Michigan stranded on tarmac after 'malicious' act

Plans to attend a pro-Israel rally were stymied for hundreds of people who flew to Washington D.C. on Tuesday only for the buses hired to pick them up never showed.

In an act that some travelers called a "deliberate and malicious" act of anti-Semitism, the bus drivers called out sick after failing to show. 

"It's the sort of thing that in this country just shouldn't happen," said Rabbi Mark Miller, of Temple Beth El out of Bloomfield Township. "We're expressing free speech. We're expressing unity and solidarity, very American activities and the idea of not being able to go, being prevented from going just because of who we are or because of our beliefs is just un-American. 

"It's a sad thing that's happening, but it's also an angering thing," he added.

Organized by the Jewish Federation of Detroit, it chartered planes and scheduled ground transportation for metro Detroiters who were traveling to D.C. for a pro-Israel rally. But when the plane arrived at Dulles Airport in Virginia around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, there was no one to pick them up. 

Pro-Israel supporters stranded on the tarmac at Dulles Airport in Virginia.

David Kurzmann of the federation said it had learned the bus company hired to transport visitors never showed up after a deliberate walk-off by drivers. 

"It was relayed to us that it had to do with the nature of the event," he said in a media update. 

Many of those stranded on the tarmac only managed to return home on Wednesday, reaching Detroit just after 6 a.m.

The rally was held at the National Mall with tens of thousands of Israel supporters gathering to show solidarity against Hamas. Many politicians in leadership attended the rally.