‘Deadliest Attack on Jewish Community in U.S. History’: Jewish Leaders Lament Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting, Haaretz
“Leaders across the Jewish world responded with shock and horror to the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh on Saturday morning, in which ten people were killed….J Street, the pro-Israel, anti-occupation advocacy group, called the attack ‘a nightmare for Jewish people across the United States and around the world, and for our country.’ In a statement, the organization said: ‘There are no words to fully convey our horror and sadness at the murder of Jewish people who were worshipping with their community on Shabbat.’ Describing the shooting as a ‘savage hate crime and an act of terror,’ J Street added: ‘This moment calls for responsible leadership. We must all join together in condemning the rising tide of white nationalism, racism and hatred directed at Jewish people and other vulnerable minorities in our country. And we must call for an end to the extreme rhetoric, laced with bigotry and racism, that is dominating our national discourse and breeding violence.’”
Refugee aid group mentioned by Pittsburgh shooter urges national healing, Times of Israel
“J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, called the shooting a ‘savage hate crime and an act of terror.’ ‘This moment calls for responsible leadership. We must all join together in condemning the rising tide of white nationalism, racism and hatred directed at Jewish people and other vulnerable minorities in our country,’ it said in a statement. ‘And we must call for an end to the extreme rhetoric, laced with bigotry and racism, that is dominating our national discourse and breeding violence.’”
Statement on the Horrific Attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue, J Street
“We are shocked by the heinous attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill. There are no words to fully convey our horror and sadness at the murder of Jewish people who were worshipping with their community on Shabbat. This is a nightmare for Jewish people across the United States and around the world, and for our country….This moment calls for responsible leadership. We must all join together in condemning the rising tide of white nationalism, racism and hatred directed at Jewish people and other vulnerable minorities in our country. And we must call for an end to the extreme rhetoric, laced with bigotry and racism, that is dominating our national discourse and breeding violence.”
U.S. Jews’ Despair Over Pittsburgh Atrocity Is Compounded by Trump’s Complicity and Netanyahu’s Hypocrisy, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “[The] Jews in Pittsburgh were not attacked because of their sympathy for Israel. They weren’t murdered just because they were Jews. Bowers made clear on social media that he identifies the Jews with HIAS, the refugee-relief organization. Once known for aiding Jewish immigrants from Russia to the United States and then for assisting Jewish refugees after the Holocaust, HIAS has recently stood on the front lines of the campaign for refugees from the civil war in Syria, who, in Bower’s demented mind, are about to erase the white race of America. In Israel, HIAS has been a vocal critic of the Netanyahu government’s policies toward African refugees. So, in their time of need and despair, American Jews in general, and Pittsburgh’s in particular, are condemned to being comforted by a president whose rhetoric and conduct appalls them and consoled by an Israeli government that rejects them and their values. In their eyes, and in the eyes of the world, the worldviews of both are closer to those of their Nazi assailant than to the values of the Jews who were murdered in cold blood in their sacred house of prayer.”
The Special Kind Of Hate That Drove Pittsburgh Shooter — And Trump, Forward
Peter Beinart writes, “For Jews, the lesson of yesterday’s massacre is very simple and very old: Protecting the strangers among us is not charity. It is self-defense. Every time Jews defend the right of American Muslims to follow sharia, we protect our right to follow halacha. Every time Jews reject politicians who demonize Latinos we make it less likely that those politicians will demonize us. “Hate them, not us” is a losing strategy because once empowered, bigots widen their targets. For people who define America as a white Christian nation, Jews will never be white enough. Robert Bowers accused Jews of “bringing” Muslims and refugees to the United States. To him and all the other white nationalists Trump has emboldened, our answer should be: Damn right. We will demand a humane policy for people seeking refuge in the United States and defend those immigrants — no matter their race or faith — who are already here….Rather than seeking a separate peace with Trumpism, we will look for allies among the despised and abused. And in that way, we will defend not only Jewish ethics, but Jewish lives.”
Netanyahu thanks Trump in letter to grieving Pittsburgh Jewish community, i24NEWS
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked US President Donald Trump on Sunday for his “unequivocal” response to an anti-Semitic shooting rampage at a Pittsburgh synagogue, in a condolence letter addressed to the city’s Jewish grieving community.
Echoing Trump, Israeli Ambassador Dermer Blames ‘Both Sides’ for anti-Semitism, Haaretz
Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said on Sunday that both the right and the left are responsible for anti-Semitism, dismissing the notion that U.S. President Donald Trump’s election played a part in the rising number of such incidents.
Three Gaza boys killed in Israeli strike on tinderbox border, Reuters
Three Palestinian boys were killed in an Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip frontier on Sunday, medical officials in the Hamas-run enclave said, while Israel said it had hit suspected militants trying to blow up part of a border fence.
Mother of Gaza teen killed in airstrike denies militant ties, Associated Press
The mother of a Gaza teen killed in an Israeli airstrike the previous day is denying that her son had any links to militants.
Abbas: Unlike Balfour Declaration, Trump peace plan ‘will not pass’, Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday again vowed to oppose any peace proposal by US President Donald Trump as PLO officials met to consider their next moves.
Israel Opposition Chief Says Pittsburgh Shooting Should Teach Jews To Make Aliyah, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Israeli opposition leader Avi Gabbay stirred controversy by saying that the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting should spur American Jews to move to Israel.
Israel to Halt Humanitarian Status for Sudanese in Possible Prelude to Deportation, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and two key ministers have decided that the state will no longer grant so-called humanitarian status to asylum seekers from Sudan’s Darfur region, sources told Haaretz. Instead, the state is examining whether the situation in Sudan has improved to the extent that deportation is possible.
Oman says time to accept Israel in region, offers help for peace, Reuters
Oman described Israel as an accepted Middle East state on Saturday, a day after hosting a surprise visit by its prime minister that Washington said could help regional peace efforts.
Signs of warming ties as Israeli ministers head to Gulf, Associated Press
In an emotional scene, the Israeli national anthem was performed at a public sporting event in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday while two Israeli Cabinet ministers said they would soon head to the region in new signs of warming ties between Israel and the Gulf Arab states.
A Reaction to the Slaughter of Jews in Pittsburgh, Times of Israel
Larry Gellman writes, “As a proud and committed Jew who has a daughter living near Pittsburgh, I joined all decent and caring people in watching the news and reactions to the tragedy there with outrage and sadness. The reactions from community and political leaders have been sadly predictable but, in some cases, profoundly revealing. First and foremost, President Trump made shocking and incredibly telling comments in which he essentially blamed the murdered Jews for being responsible for their own deaths. Instead of blaming the hate-filled murderer and calling for him to pay for his crimes, Trump made it clear that he believes the leaders of the synagogue were at fault for the mass murder of their own members because it did not have armed guards and massive security present at its Shabbat morning services. It was his way of deflecting a question about whether we need new guns laws and instead suggesting that an armed security guard with a holstered weapon with the safety on at the synagogue could have prevented an attack from a passionately motivated murderer armed with an assault weapon locked, loaded, and ready to kill from the second he walked in the door. The fact that the killer–whom Trump dismissed as a ‘wacko’ and a ‘maniac’ instead of accurately calling him out as one of the White Supremacist racist haters who are among the president’s most passionate supporters–was able to legally purchase rapid fire weapons on six separate occasions despite having a long track record as a poster of hateful and racist threats on social media seemed not to be relevant to the President at all.”
Why the Tree of Life Shooter Was Fixated on the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, New Yorker
Masha Gessen writes, “A couple of hours before opening fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue, Robert Bowers, the suspected gunman, posted on the social network Gab, ‘HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.’ HIAS is the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and Bowers had posted about it at least once before….Bowers isn’t the only person apparently obsessed with HIAS. The extreme right has been vilifying the organization for some time. The anti-Semitic right has accused HIAS of bringing immigrants to the United States in a scheme that is somehow designed to benefit Jews. On the Jewish far right, the Zionist Organization of America has attacked HIAS and other Jewish organizations for lobbying to admit Syrian refugees to the U.S. and has accused HIAS of doing so for profit….For me, Bowers’s obsession with HIAS made a warped kind of sense. I imagine Bowers’s world view is a distorted reflection of Donald Trump’s. The President fans hatred for immigrants, trans people, and Muslims. In Bowers’s mind, HIAS, with its commitment to helping all displaced people worldwide, becomes the perfect target for all hatreds. Trump’s message transforms into the idea that Washington is not doing enough, because terrorists equal refugees equal HIAS equal all Jews.”
Trump has stoked the fears of the Bowerses among us, Washington Post
Ruth Marcus writes, “[The Trump administration’s] animus toward refugees, exemplified by Trump’s own incendiary rhetoric, seems most directly linked to Bowers’s alarm about ‘hostile invaders’ who ‘kill our people.’ If there is not cause and effect between Trump’s language and Bowers’s alleged actions, there is moral culpability for creating this overheated climate of fear. From the supposed Mexican rapists of his campaign launch to his unsupported claims that the migrant caravan includes ‘very tough criminal elements’ and ‘unknown Middle Easterners,’ Trump has stoked the fears of the Bowerses among us. To this, the only response can be to insist that what the Torah teaches about loving the stranger is true and right. And that this is not just Jewish wisdom — it is, Trump notwithstanding, an American value. Eleven Americans died for it Saturday. Do not forget them.”